Monday, December 9, 2013

Wiener Dog from Hell

I swerved to miss the Wiener Dog from Hell. I veered and made my brother crash... He slid on his back for 20 feet. Wiener Dog From Hell illustration by Paul Zdepski

I swerved to miss the Wiener Dog from Hell. I veered and made my brother crash... He slid on his back for 20 feet.

Apologies to cousin Becky, who's pups I've used as reference. No harm meant.

My brother and I would take "bike hikes" on our crappy little Schwinn one speeds bikes with Ape Drape handle bars and banana seats. We'd venture waaay out of our neighborhood on loops exceeding 20 miles. Mom never knew where we were, but that was the entire point.

One day we were about 10 miles from home, doing around 40 mph tearing down a mile long incline. At the bottom of the hill, a snarling Dachshund ran out in front of me. I could have killed it, but I swerved in front of my brother, which made him crash. He slid on his back and shoulder down the pavement. Remember those Tank top Tees from the 1970s? That was the extent of his protective gear.

My brother remembers it this way:

I have told this story many times. I still have the scars on my left shoulder and elbow. From skidding down the road on my left side and face. I tell the story not because of the wipeout , but the fact that the dog owner took us inside and asked where we lived, cleaned some of the gravel out of the wounds, threw a couple band aids on my cuts and sent us on our way, for the trek home, never called mom just patched me up, as if, 'you're OK kid, now go home.'

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Christmas Card

Wishing You Kramps, Gramps and Fragile Lamps Toasting in a Motel Landscape. Merry Christmas from the Zdepski Family

Wishing You Kramps, Gramps and Fragile Lamps Toasting in a Motel Landscape. the Zdepski Family

Merry Christmas, Everyone. I didn't print a card this year, but hope you'll enjoy the e-Card I've made for this year's holiday wishes. All the best to you and yours, and a wonderful 2014!

Characters shown above are the Krampus, Burl Ives' Snowman from Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and the Prize Lamp from Gene Shepherd's A Christmas Story.

The background is a Motel style landscape from the web... I'm too lazy to paint one.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013


Tante Emma married Charlie Sayers, who's Claim-to-Fame was checking Beach Badges in Belmar NJ. His tan didn't warm Emma, who was Frigid and never consummated their marriage. (Emma reading Modern Ice Box magazine) Tante Emma married Charlie Sayers, who's Claim-to-Fame was checking Beach Badges in Belmar NJ. His tan didn't warm Emma, who was "Frigid" and never consummated their marriage. (Emma reading "Modern Ice Box" magazine)

I never met Charlie... He died of blue balls in the 1960s. My brother remembers Emma telling mom that she was "Frigid", but he just thought she was asking for an extra blanket on her bed.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Emma's Hernia

zdepski's illustration: Emma had a hernia that hung below the hem of her skirt. She named it Jimmy.

Emma had a hernia that hung below the hem of her skirt. She named it "Jimmy".

Tante Emma had a number of health problems. She was overweight, depressed, sore jointed, and stunk. Perhaps the most strange was her Hernia. It was massive, the size of a Harbor Seal. She named it "Jimmy". I assume it was because she accepted its presence and felt it was better to acknowledge it. I remember relatives mentioning a Goiter on her neck, but it may have just been her double chin.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Going Down East - Kennebunkport ME

Zdepski's acrylic painting Tide Rolling In - Kennebunkport Maine All images in this post are done in pencil with acrylic... since I forgot to pack my watercolor box. They're executed in my Moleskine watercolor sketchbook, which is 8 by 5 inches. I just got back from a week on the east coast, with my lovely bride of 25 years. We wanted to have a relaxing time away for our twenty-fifth, so we scrimped and saved to rent an off-season cottage in Kennebunkport Maine. You may remember it as George H. W. Bush's summer home. We stayed a few doors down from Georgie in a much more humble setting. Zdepski's acrylic painting Noelle and a Pint - Saco Maine The Micro-Brew scene in Maine is very strong. We got to sample some great beers of all types. We were treated to dinner at the newly renovated Saco Island Mills, which is a multi-acre complex of old industrial textile mills, now converted to shops, college classrooms, apartments and banks... and one hell of a micro brewery called The Run of the Mill. Zdepski's acrylic painting Peter Gorsky - Portland Maine My old college friend, Pete Gorski took a number of hours from his week to tour us around Portland. Along with Pete's lovely wife, Tess, we saw Winslow Homer's Studo, the Portland Museum, the Portland Arts District and a few very good restaurants. Zdepski's acrylic painting Low Tide - Kennebunkport Maine I was fascinated by the difference between high and low tide in Kennebunkport. We were there during the full moon, which has the biggest sweep of eleven feet! Boats bobbing in choppy seas one hour can be flat on the sand by mid-afternoon. Zdepski's acrylic painting High Tide - Kennebunkport Maine Zdepski's pencil sketch Ship Model - Kennebunkport Maine My last night in Kennebunkport was spent in the Arundel Wharf Restaurant with my honey. We were bumming about having to drive back to Virginia in the morning, but the dinner was spectacular, along with the wait staff. The restaurant was closing for the season, and wouldn't be open again until May 4th. We caught the chef on his last night in town! They had a very nice ship model in a few yards away, though I could only see it in the reflection of the window glass. I didn't have time to paint it, so it remains a pencil sketch. We'll probably return there for our 50th anniversary, too.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Fire Tiki Chainsaw Carving

Zdepski's Chainsaw Carving - Fire Tiki Lantern

Fire Tiki God - Lantern. This is my 3rd-ever Chainsaw carving. I hollowed a 4 foot high, 350 lb. White Pine log with branching on the top. I used a Stihl MS170 chainsaw to carve the majority, though my friend's 300 series Stihl was used to split the back and hollow the log. I use chisels to give detail and texture in many places, though it's still basically a Chainsaw carving.

Movie Walk Around with Drop Light Illumination

Zdepski's Chainsaw Carving - Fire Tiki sketch

Humble Beginnings - 4 foot Pine Log 350lbs - Sketch Idea on Right

Zdepski's Chainsaw Carving - Fire Tiki Lantern Day 3

Carving Done - Day 3 final sanding, waiting for Teeth and Paint

Zdepski's Chainsaw Carving - Fire Tiki Lantern in Black and Gold

Black exterior undercoating, and Gold Metallic sprayed on the interior surfaces to reflect the Flame/Flicker lights.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Surfing Gnome

Three days at the Shenandoah Valley Invitational Chainsaw Challenge has rendered me wrung out! I bought my first chainsaw just for this competition a few months back, but work being so busy, I've only actually carved twice. This is my third piece, if you count the dinky little skull I made when I was testing out my friend Glenn's saw. This is my second large piece, being six feet tall, and two feet in diameter.

Read the article in the Northern Virginia Daily to hear my logic... or lack thereof. I also am caught by the camera using a carving mallet and chisel... old-school.

""Carving competition attracts chainsaw artists" by Ryan Cornell

gnome sketch

What is it? It's a Gnome Surfing!

gnome carving day 1

Day One - Start with a White Pine log, 6' x 2'

gnome day 2

Day 2 - Carving mostly complete, sanded with 40 grit paper on a disc grinder.

gnome day 2 in black

Day 2 - My goal was to have the piece sealed in a black undercoating of porch paint before going home... I just made it, which meant that I would only have to deal with surface painting on the short (5 hour) final day of the competition.

gnome day 3

Day 3 - Final color applied. He will still need a coat of polyurethane to seal the paint from the weather, but he is done enough for the judges.

I won 3rd place!!! Whoo Hooooo! - The other carvers were fantastic, and really helpful. It reminded me of finals week back in the senior studios in college: loud, stressful but lots of laughter.

Video Walk Around

Three New Castle Nut Brown Ales when I got home! It was still 86° at 6pm... It really was draining.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


zdepski's illustration of an obese monkey on a hercules bettle I've found a few inspiring pieces of reference for this week's Illustration Friday word. My son found a HUGE bug on our front porch this weekend: The Eastern Hercules Beetle, the largest beetle in the USA at a full 2 inches or more. The other piece of reference was finding a photo of those obese Osaka Zoo monkeys that were all over the net a couple of years ago... they crack me up. I merged the two pieces together into a prehistoric or other-worldly scene inspired by a classic Frank Frazetta pyramid layout. Power in the primordial soup... Digital Ink done in Corel Painter 11, Color is done in Photoshop CS6 on the Wacom Cintiq.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

FezBaby - In Color

FezBaby or Son of Krakatoa

zdepski's carving, FezBaby face region up close

FezBaby - Face Region

zdepski's carving, FezBaby three photographs of the color application

FezBaby - in Color

Chainsaw carving with Latex and Acrylic paint (two areas with metallic spraypaint) 44 inches high, White Pine

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Uncle Burt - Illegal Alien

Fresh Off the Boat!!!

zdepski's illustration of Uncle Burt - Illegal Alien: Ship Diving

Uncle Burt : Illegal Alien - Ship Diving

Fact 3: Burt bet his fellow shipmates he could jump off the ocean liner while under way... His friends (fellow ship's stewards) payed out a rope off the stern... the Captain wasn't happy.

zdepski's illustration of Uncle Burt - Illegal Alien

Uncle Burt : Illegal Alien

Uncle Burt was thrown off the dock into the harbor by his father to "teach him to swim."

Sunday, August 4, 2013

FezBaby - Chainsaw Carving

zdepski's day three progress photo of the FezBaby carving.

FezBaby - about 10 hours of carving. I've been using the chainsaw, but have resorted to chisels to to much of the inside edge details for items like the building block letter-forms, the baby's face and fingers. I also have been using my offset grinder with a 40 grit sanding disc to make the baby's skin smooth. It wouldn't be much of a baby if it weren't smooth.

zdepski's sketch for the FezBaby carving.

Pencil Sketch

zdepski's carving, around 5 hours of effort.

This is around 5 hours in, if you count the drawing. You can see how rough it is with the saw marks on the face. It really did need the sanding disc applied, as seen in the video.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Yelling "Bus"

zdepski's illustration: The Stamets boys lived down a long lane. After a big rain, we would wait for them to get in the wooded part. Then yell BUS at the top of our lungs. Jeff played Tuba and Jim played Baritone Sax.

The Stamets boys lived down a long lane. After a big rain, we would wait for them to get in the wooded part, then yelled "BUS" at the top of our lungs. Jeff played Tuba and Jim played Baritone Sax.

yes... we were assholes. Jeff and Jim... I'm sorry. I was a jerk of a neighbor.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Iris Society

zdepski's illustration - Our parents would drag us straight from church to a meeting of the American Iris Society. Three hours of slides of flowers.

Our parents would drag us straight from church to a meeting of the American Iris Society. Three hours of slides of pictures of Hybridized Irises... slide after slide... droning monotoned voices... blah, blah, blah...

THEN back to church for evening services, choir practice and youth groups.... I hated Sundays.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Planting Season

Zdepski's painting: Planting Season - 28x28 inches acrylic on canvas

Planting Season

28x28 inches acrylic on canvas

Dipped into the pigment for the first actual painting in four years. It's been sketched out on the canvas for half a year. I took the day to get my studio in shape for a commission I have, but I couldn't resist dipping in and making a mess while I prepped my paint box and brushes.

I forgot how much crud needs to be gathered together to paint somewhere other than my own studio. I need to be fully self contained, so that goes for lighting, drapery, mahl stick, fresh water container... it's not something you can put together into a single "go-bag".

Commission next Thursday; a sitting at the local gallery that reps me. The client wants something special for her wedding anniversary. Nice to be requested to do these sorts of things.

Mischief Night: The Widow Cohen

zdepski's illustration: Mischief Night 1973: The Widow Cohen was Off-Limits... Too Nice.

Mischief Night 1973: The Widow Cohen was Off-Limits... Too Nice.

This is one of the panels from the upcoming Magic Bullet 7 Comics Collective Newspaper in the Washington DC region. The theme for #7 is Halloween... but I remember Mischief Night as the most exciting night in October.

The MB7 version will be in Ink only, whereas this version is graphite and digital color... you're seeing the bonus version.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Stretching & Gessoing Canvas

A basic how-to tutorial for a common art studio project. Stretching your own will save time, gas and money.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Pine Barrens

zdepski's illustration - We always had to ride facing backwards. The NJ Pine Barrens were the worst.

"We always had to ride facing backwards. The NJ Pine Barrens were the worst."

The old Dodge Cornet station wagon was a beast. My brother and I were the youngest of seven kids. We always got shoved into the rear facing seat... no side windows, and the back door window would suck in the killer exhaust fumes. So... we suffered like dogs... bald, whiny dogs.

Friday, July 5, 2013

1978 B.C. Rico Mockingbird

Here's the unboxing video of my 1978 B.C. Rico Mockingbird. I haven't seen it in 15 years, before I moved out of Pennsylvania. I had loaned it to a college friend of mine, and we just lost track of it. He boxed it up and dropped off at FedEx a couple of days ago. I just got it today.

It only had 5 rusty strings on it, but the neck still looks straight. It has a fat 50s Gibson profile, but the neck is a full two octave scale, which is nice. I think it would be a nice metal guitar, so I may strip it down to the underpaint and spray it satin black. I've always hated white/cream guitars, so no love lost if it get's a new coat.

1978 B.C. Rico Mockingbird

I just want to find out from B.C. Rich if the 1978 Patent Dispute guitars have any value. It already is not an original machine. The Bridge Pickup is an early Seymour Duncan Invader, though the neck still has a stock GOTOH humbucker. I also don't think the Preamp is an original option, and was added by the previous owner in the early 1980s.

B.C. Rico Mockingbird Switch and Pickup configuration.

My close friend and old fellow band member, Bob wrote me in an email:
"Don't tell me you didn't get a little misty-eyed when you opened the box (Hell I did:)). Remember, most old girlfriends don't come back at all, let alone in repairable shape."

Do any of you know much about these guitars and their value? I'm itching to modify it since it's already been messed with.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Farmall Cub Rides Again!

My brother Mark, who is the test pilot in this clip, just finished a 15-year project of restoring our families 1961 Farmall Cub back to running order. We used this little honey for mowing our lawn with its 48" belly mower and plowing our veggie garden with it's tilting plow. The Cub also has a 12 blade Disc and multi-tined Harrow for smoothing out the plowed field. It was a great little family tractor, and it brings a tear to my eye to see it running again! Great Job, MARK! Also, a shout-out to Mark's friend Chuck for the engine expertise and ample work space to get all done!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Raggy's Rag

Raggy Ragsdale's Retirement Rag illustration by Paul Zdepski

A friend of mine with a very informative YouTube Channel has wised (wizzened?) up and quit the rat race. Raggy Ragsdale, enjoy your Ukelele collection! Just keep posting those lessons!

Everyone else, back to your Hamster wheels!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tut Tut

Zdepski's illustration of Tut-Tut, the local drunk.

Tut-Tut would wave to every school bus. The kids loved him. He put his beer in the stream to keep it cold. Our Neighbor said his real name was Schmackerbreiner...

Tut-tut would push his bike everywhere he went, often too drunk to ride, or loaded down with Thunderbird, Malt Liquor, or Ripple from the local liquor store. When he died, his entire shed was filled with empty bottles, floor to ceiling.

My brother Mark writes:

"In my memory he wears a baseball cap, has flags on the handle bars, sometimes crepe paper in the spokes. At that time his bike had saddle baskets on the rear wheel, it keeps the center of gravity lower when you are hauling a heavy load. His real name was Mac_______. He was a relative of our neighbors, the kids called him "Smacker-briner" because he smacked his lips in addition to saying "Tut Tut". Our neighbor Roger got in trouble with his grandmother for yelling out of the car window “Hey Smacker-briner!” as they passed him one time. The grandmother came close to tears, evidently he was a disappointment to the extended family. I have more about lewd conduct that was reported in the public press, but it takes too long to type."

My brother Joel adds:

"He had a dirty flag on a bamboo cane, too. I think there was a time that he could, and did, actually ride that bike. Not very well, but he did ride."

and brother James writes:

"In my memory he was more filthy than Pig Pen (from Charlie Brown). A few times in the market we were close enough to tell that his clothes were so dirty that his pants could probably stand in the corner on their own. I think his bathing amounted to reaching into the stream for a cold one.

Alan T____ used to tell him it was his birthday, Tut Tut would give him a dime. He could tell him the same story everyday for a dime."

finally, sister Jean says:

"yup...every kid would tell him it was his/her birthday and got a dime.. then the kid would spend it on Bowker's (Pharmacy) penny candy...lotsa kids had numerous birthdays each year."

Monday, May 27, 2013

Barney Rubble Table

Zdepski's Maple Barney Rubble Table 1

Barney Rubble Table 1

I've spent 12 hours of Memorial Day conjuring my dear old dad and brothers by making a piece of furniture. I had planed some heavy 6 quarter rock maple with a high amount of tiger figure last year. I've been storing these same boards for nearly 20 years in various places. I broke down and make a low ( 13 inch high) and longish (42 inch long) by a ameboid natural tree edge at roughly 24 inches deep.

Zdepski's Maple Barney Rubble Table 3

The leg angles are at 8 degrees, which matches many of my other pieces. I have to still make the keys to lock the trestle into the legs... so another hand cut mortise for each side. You can see how I've had to offset the trestle and legs to accommodate the table top shape.

Zdepski's Maple Barney Rubble Table 3

I didn't work from plans... I just eyeballed the table top shape and that dictated the leg and trestle offset. You really have to rely on your gut when working with the natural edges. You can't force the tree to be a perfect rectangle if it grew on an angle. It's not for everyone, but it's the way I choose to design. It becomes a process similar to sculpture and "in the moment", rather than plans and drawings.

The table top is due for some heavy epoxy flowed into the bug/water rot regions. I really like to keep as much of nature's hand in my work, so I'm using clear epoxy to show the bug excavations below the surface. I still need to buy the epoxy, so the "Barney Rubble Table" won't have a finish on it for a few more weeks.

All the heavy work is done... as the cost of one 30 year old circular saw.

Friday, May 24, 2013

When Puppets Pray

deah lawds... stop the slaughtah of pines in the northwest

"Deah Lawds... Stop the Slaughah of Pines in the Northwest..."


Aye pray she removes her hand from mah rear end!

"Aye pray she removes her hand from mah rear end!"


Thank you Jeebus for the fetish chatroom on Christian Mingle

"Thank you Jeebus for the fetish chatroom on Christian Mingle."


I Thank you for being whittled Anatomically Correct...

"I Thank you for being whittled Anatomically Correct..."


What else would a puppet pray for? Make your own!!!

What else would a puppet pray for? Make your own!!!

You tell me in the comments below.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Memorial Jam

C.C. Chipley's Jelly

It was a touching memorial service for my friend Tom Chipley's bride's passing. "C.C." was much loved and respected member of the Mt. Jackson, VA community and art scene. She was known for her recipes and canned goods, given as gifts and brought out on special occasions. We all gathered at the Bowman-Shannon Cultural Arts Center to remember her and to gather close to Tom as a community of friends.

I was delighted to find six jars of preserves that C.C. had made before she passed on. I cut a slice of French bread into six little wedges and place a dollop of each flavored jam or chutney on each.

They were wonderful... the fruit was still snappy under the tooth, rather than being cooked to mush. C.C. had complex notes in each of her concoctions. I was blown away by the differences.

It's funny how food can tie you to someone's talents and thoughts. She was an artisan. Her art was alive on my pallet for those few minutes. I was in a communion with her art, as if she were standing by the stove top with a wooden spoon stained deep purple with summer's berries.

We gathered to celebrate her life, and I was happy she was able to attend, too.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Chainsaw Carving

zdepski's chainsaw carving of a skull, painted black
zdepski's chainsaw carving of a skull, painted black

Chainsaw Skull - Juniper and Black Paint

I stopped by my new friend, Glenn Richardson's Studio for a quick visit, but I got the full escorted tour of the shop, gardens and sculpture "pit". He handed me some Kevlar Chaps (pronounced Shapps, not like your English friends the chaps) to keep me from chopping off my legs, Mickey Mouse earphones and a 2.5 horsepower Stihl Chainsaw with a fine tipped ( 1 inch radius ) cutting bar. He "cut me loose" to try my hand at the process... uhmmm... What?

He was gone... off on the other side of the property, carving a fish for an upcoming show in Newark NJ this summer. I was on my own

Glenn had me chopping into a piece of Juniper (aromatic cedar) screwed to a cutting block. I had no idea what to carve, so I started to hew a head from the log. I eventually shaped it into a skull. Glenn's process is to "torch the fuzzies" off with a butane torch, then use various pigments to build a full chroma on the surface. I was able to hit the fuzzies with a flap sander on a grinder, then use base coat of exterior grade black to seal the skull. Glen then suggests a coat of green be dry brushed on the high surfaces, then various ivory and white coats to give it a full "skully appearance".

As you see - It's rough, but it's cool enough for a place on my porch during Halloween!

Glen Richardson chainsaw woodcarver, Woodstock VA

Glenn Richardson, Chainsaw Woodcarver, Woodstock, VA

Check out Glenn's work here, at the VA Artisan Network. Glenn Richardson, Glenn’s Log Art

Now... how to convince my wife that I need a chainsaw...?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Problem Child

Zdepski's Self Portrait: Problem Child

Problem Child

Pencil and grade school photo merger - Self Portrait.

I was listening to a lot of Death Metal this afternoon... this idea jumped into my head. Note the mullet haircut.

No-good Punk with a Clip-on Tie.

Friday, April 5, 2013


City Cow - Country Cow by paul zdepski
City Cow - Country Cow

Illustration Friday word is "URBAN". Do you believe you're far removed from being on someone's dinner plate? You're equally as vulnerable in our society. The fact that many of us are a mere paycheck away from the street, or a missed payment away from loosing our healthcare makes me wonder how we can still be so callous to our neighbors

I drew this at the height of the Occupy Wall Street protests.