Thursday, March 27, 2014

Earth and Sky

This has been an unyielding winter.  I have had to work inside more than usual because of continued snow and cold.
 Inside the stone studio, I made this (functional) sculpture entitled "Earth and Sky".  I picked a piece of Brazilian Marble that had cloud-like inclusions to represent our spiritual potential.  The plinth stone was chosen for its singular earthy qualities to symbolize our corporeal selves.
 I am utilizing the full potential of the materials,
such as leaving the quarry drill holes.
The sculpture measures 41"H x 26"W x 21"D
and weighs about 1,000 lbs.
 The top picture shows the current status of the big, outdoor project.  The lower picture shows the last update over 2 weeks ago.  It's been very frustrating not being able to work outside (comfortably).
 Here's a few pictures out my window this week...
Sleepy deer...
 15 hens and 2 Toms...
 "work it, boys!"

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Now is the Time!

I began a new major project called "Now is the Time".  It addresses our most precious resource: our time and energy.  It is intended to stir the viewer into action - if you have unfinished business or unrealized dreams, now is the time.  If you want to make a difference, now is the time.  You can be great, don't wait - now is the time.
I began with a front view photograph of a clay model that was printed to scale and gridded off into 1 foot squares.
 I used this to transfer the design onto the huge stone.
 The most exciting portion of any major project is the beginning.  You fly into it with full force.
 ...then, the 'polar vortex' sends another 1/2" of ice, some snow and freezing temperatures.
 Most of the ice and snow has finally melted off.  This picture of me working on the scaffold helps to give a sense of scale.
 This is how the project looks today - a strong start.
A seed and feed parfait - presentation is all important when approaching timid woodland creatures.

Friday, February 28, 2014

His and Hers Monoliths

Things have taken a great turn!  I'm so happy I could burst...
 Yesterday morning, a 70 ton crane showed up at the studio from Padgett Crane Co. in New Albany.
 A semi from Stone Belt Trucking showed up with a 40,000 lb. stone.
(photo Meg White )
 This is Meg's stone for her Anchorage, Alaska commission.  At 9'H x 6'W x 4'-7"D, it is huge and excudes its own field of gravity. 
 Behind it is her unfinished earthworks / stone sculpture called "Conversation".
 Also, while the crane was here, we stood up my 30,000 lb. 8'-6"H x 6'W x 3'-8"D stone. Last night, in the starlight while walking around these huge monoliths, it felt like I was in a Stanley Kubrick movie. (que theme from 2001...)
 The "3 Graces" wait in the shadows.

2 deer calmly saunter in the background while I took pictures of my rock - 1 on the left and 1 on the right.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

"RESOLVE" Functional Stone Sculpture

Winter just won't let up this year...
 I layered up and went back into the stone studio anyway.
  I came up with this functional sculpture (bench / seat).  It is a single block of Indiana Limestone, measures approximately 33"W x 28"D x 18"H and weighs about 1,500 lbs.
 This is a different approach for me - I intentionally left rough stone faces and made the rest of the forms emerge from the rustic matrix.
 The 'pathways' are bush texture to be a visual and tactile complement to the polished surfaces.
The polished forms have rounded edges that give a soft, cushiony feel.
 I am excited about this new direction, because I want to try it with monumental-scale quarry blocks.  I hope to "read" the stones and find what to leave, and what to change.
 I made this base for the piece, but it killed the 'feel' of the emerging natural stone and how I wanted it to be perceived as part of the earth. 
 ( Not every move is a move forward...part of the learning curve).
....and speaking of curves...
2 jets left these spiral trails above the studio this week
(...what a ride that must have been...)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Brown County State Park

About a week ago, we got half an inch of ice over the top of the 3" of snow already on the ground (...and it's still here...).
Iced Trees.
This is the drive back to the studio. We got cabin fever and decided to go exploring. 
 We went to Brown County State Park in southern Indiana.  I'd sold stone sculptures in Nashville, Indiana (about 1 mile from this park entrance) in the late 80's.  However, I'd never noticed this covered bridge just a short distance off the main highway.  It was built in 1838 and here's a quote from Wikipedia and the history of Brown County: "The country was very wild in 1836.  Bears, Panthers and wolves were plentiful". (oh my...)
 This is the inside of the 178 year old structure that still 'bears' vehicle traffic.
 The park has lots of great views.  It's a major destination when the trees are changing colors.
 (We basically had the place to ourselves in this weather).
 The color and craftsmanship of this beautifully banded sandstone on their lookout tower really knocked me out.  I assume that this is indigenous, because I'd heard that they used to quarry sandstone in this county...long ago.
 We took 135 south home and found Story Inn - way out in the middle of nowhere, and still a going concern.  The old rusted false front is from a bygone era...and Standard Oil isn't around anymore either.
 We were treated to a strange sunset - the sun is over the horizon and has cast up this bright ray.
 I began a new project - it's another version on the Tree of Life theme.
 I started with this rough sketch.
 It was based on this old sand cast bronze that I made 10 years ago.  I never sold the piece, and it is now decoration for my wood stove.  It really radiates heat when the stove is hot - like a big sculptural heat sink.
 I have wired up an armature that measures 72"H x 48"W x 27"D.  I will begin to cover it with concrete tomorrow, after I add a few more leaves.
I made meatloaf (with onions) last night.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Monk Sculpture

Temperatures have stayed subfreezing for the remainder of January,
so I started another indoor project.
 I wanted to improve the head portion from the last effort.  I found an old plastic skull model and traced the outline of sections onto a piece of foam core.
 I used these foam core patterns to cut sections from 2" thick foam insulation.
 I attached the 3 pieces of the skull together with wooden skewers.  The other piece will become the jaw.
 Using the plastic model as reference, I carved the foam into the shape of a skull.
 In my first concrete project, I learned the hard way that concrete didn't want to stick to foam.  So, I added scrap pieces of drywall lathe and tied them down with fencing wire.
 It's a lot easier to add the concrete to a horizontal surface.  With the face lying down, I could also work on it from different angles - which helps a lot.
 While the face dried, I began the armature for the body.  I had kept a piece of armored electric cable casing from an electric project the week before - it made a great armature for the rope belt.
 I started adding concrete to weight the piece down before going too high with the armature.  I added a little "Contrapposto" to make it more life-like.
 I added the screen armature for the arms, the hood and a goblet.
 This is the nearly finished piece.  He's life-size (...and seemingly pretty happy about what is in his 'Holy Grail'...)
This is the back view.  You can see that I've got a warm fire going on these cold, cold days.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


The temperatures have still been too cold to work outside (comfortably), so I've continued work indoors on my concrete girl.
 The temperatures on Monday only topped out at 0 degrees.  The extreme cold made these huge ice crystals.  The largest is about 2 inches long (larger than shown).
 I've basically finished this life-size sculpture - my first concrete piece.
 Moving around the piece...this is her backside...
 ...and her left side...
 I haven't totally settled on a title, but for now, I'm calling it "Invocation".  After she thoroughly dries, I'll try out some colors - I plan on making some samples on which to experiment, before making changes to the sculpture.
 I've already started to think about the next life-sized concrete figure.  This is the basic composition; she'll have a chalice in her raised hands and her lower half will be (more or less) covered by a sarong, knotted above her left thigh.
This is the start on the galvanized screen armature.  I am using a pipe armature for additional support until the concrete can hold the piece up on its own.  Actually, I've got some home improvements that I need to do this next week - some painting and electrical work that I've been putting off.  If the weather breaks after that, I really should return to the stone studio.  So, ...I'm not sure when (or if ) this piece will ever come to fruition. We shall see...We shall see.