About Blog Title...

As a child, it was one of my greatest delights to visit my grandparents in the spring when the whip-poor-wills began to call. Grandma and Grandpa lived in a remote valley of the Ozark Mountains where there were trees a plenty, and, seemingly, a whip-poor-will, or two, in each one.
My grandmother insisted that a whip-poor-will's call was not "whip-poor-will," but instead, "chip-butter-white-oak." I would listen really hard trying to hear it exactly as she said it was, but all I could hear was "whip-poor-will, whip-poor-will,..." But, I never let on to her.
I remember my grandpa watching and listening, with an amused look on his face, to one of these listening sessions. Shortly after that he began to call me, just for fun, "Chip Butter." It is a name I am proud to wear for I still love to hear that long, lonesome call on a warm summer's eve. And, sometimes, when I listen really, really hard, it seems I can hear quite clearly, "chip-butter-white-oak, chip-butter-white-oak..."

Monday, August 13, 2018

A Week in August ( this and that from my camera card)...

Passion Flower (from alongside the trail we walk)...

And another...

"coo-ah, coo, coo, coo" ...

Beware the turtle...

Little Island  (with just a touch of fall color, already)…

Montana (in the foreground) and some of the girls...

Several years ago when I dubbed this photo, "This Is Not Montana," this cow was named.  She would, from that day forth, be called Montana. 
The young heifer above looks so much like her, thus we have another "Montana."  (Golly, that looks cold...and it was!)


HOW LONG does it take me to sculpt a head?

 Well, this is what Ralph and Mary Gonzales in their book 
Sculpting the Original Doll
The BluFrogg Method
have to say about that.

"Two days to two years, but usually, at very least, two weeks.  It takes two days to form the head shape, and block the features, and make the details.  I have to flow with the nature and stages of the clay.  On the first day, I do the head shape, block the features, establish the secondary features, and get an idea of who I'm sculpting.  I cover the head with a plastic bag, and fasten it with clothespins.  The second day, I refine, smooth, and consider the tertiary features.  It's these that give the head so much of its expression and character.  Then I have to decide if the head has reached my level of acceptance. 

I said acceptance, not perfection.  Perfection is as nebulous as infinity.  For us humans, there is no such thing.  It is beyond us.  Perfection doesn't belong to us.  That is what we are trying to achieve, of course, but the value of the exercise is in the attempt.  We know full well we can't, but if we were able to make perfect sculptures, perfect dolls, what would there be left for us?"

This work had been put aside for awhile, but is now back on the table.  Now, I am wondering, "How long will it take?"  Hopefully, not two years!  


  1. Chip Butter, your photos are outstanding! I love the passion flower. Your girls are lovely as well. Montana certainly has a catchy name. Your sculpted doll is looking beautiful. I love the thought about perfection --"what would there be left for us? " Brilliant! ♥

  2. Do I see a face in that passion flower? Maybe. I love cows, they have the neatest eyelashes. Very interesting about the sculpted doll. You really do fine work.

  3. Always love your photographs and commentary, Chip Butter. The dog and the cows - my favorites.
    And then the doll head... It is just beautiful! It is so true what is said about perfection, but that is what separates art from sad factory imitations. I'm glad your doll is back on the table.

  4. I always love the pictures too. I always love the pictures of your doggy and the cows too. Glad to see you are working on your doll. She will be a beauty too. Maybe not perfect is the real perfect. I studied the Blufrogg book once. I think it is the same people who were making Izannah dolls. They were making wax molds though. Really neat.

  5. I love passion flowers, especially the purple ones. One year they were all along the roadway but not anymore; I tried to move one to the flower bed and it didn't make it. Anyway, I have a feeling they would be invasive once they got established.
    This doll has a very pretty expression on her face. Does she have a name yet? Will this one be a gift?

  6. The pictures are beautiful. Growing up in the Sandhills of NC, we had passion flowers growing along the roadside. I haven't seen one in years. Think we used to call them may pops too. Well, your dolls look like they should speak. They are absolutely beautiful. My husband has caught three big snapping turtles from our pond this summer. We are wondering if that is why our catfish have disappeared.

  7. Your comments on perfection and acceptance really touch me, - I have given up aiming for perfection and am happy to close my eyes to the occasional skipped stitch or less than perfect selvedge....it's a learning curve!!!

  8. What beautiful photos! Passion Flowers are so strange and lovely. And with the August heat still on, seeing "Montana" in the cold gives me chills.

  9. Those flowers are magical and beautiful. What a treasure to capture a snapshot of them. I love the Doves and they are always welcome in our yard. How refreshing for Millie to take a quick dip; and meeting a new friend? I thought I saw signs of Autumn in our yard too. I was hoping maybe it was just from the extreme heat we have been dealing with lately; we reached 106 degrees and with very little humidity. This was a first that I can remember happening in ND. I love Montana and all your cows! Do you have red soil; or was it just the photo? And my favorite of all is your newest doll. I love your dolls.

  10. Oh Chip-the photos are just wonderful! I can't imagine walking outside and seeing those flowers in the wild. Amazing. And I love the cow in the snow photo-that is simply beautiful. You asked I think, on my blog, about the herd of cows that we had in our yard one time. My husband works at a local salt factory and he was given some floorboards from the factory. Of course the boards were salty. I don't know why those cows made it to our yard-I guess they were out for a stroll-but those boards were very tasty! I remember hearing the weirdest sound of boards moving-when I went to the window-here's 4 or 5 cows having a picnic standing on that pile of boards! It was so funny!

  11. Hello Chip!!!

    I'm ever so glad you stopped by for a visit and left a lovely comment!! I have thoroughly enjoyed browsing thru your blog. All your pictures are gorgeous. Did you make all those beautiful dolls? Wow! I had to smile when i saw one was named after my 2 month old grand daughter Autumn Nikole.. :) I hope you'll come by to visit again. Hugs! deb

  12. Love the emotions felt through your photos Chip... beautiful pictures of Montana, the island, and the passion flower, stunning! Blessings to you!

  13. Your passionflower reminds me of the one mum had growing at her cottage here in Wales. Amazing they grow wild with you!

    I was interested to read about your sculpting of the doll's heads. I imagine they are then fired? Or is it a sort of self-setting clay you use?

  14. If it does take two years, and you're happy with the result, then that's how long it took. And all is right with the world. :~)

  15. And now I have found you! Your photographs are gorgeous! AND you found a fairy island too. That's what I call the wee islands just fit for a fairy. I had planned on doing a blog post on them; perhaps next week. I haven't seen any as beautiful as yours though.