Wednesday, June 15, 2016

French Lick, Indiana

Today is my 55th birthday.  Meg and I decided to make a day trip to French Lick, Indiana since I'd never been there before.
 Our first stop was the French Lick Resort and Casino.  But, since we don't gamble, we didn't stay long.
 The foyer is nice with ceramic mosaic floors, Italian marble columns and frescos on the ceiling.
 But the real gem is down the road another mile at the West Baden Springs Hotel.
 The driveways are 100 year old brick roads.  On the left is the station for the train trolley between the 2 hotels (to take guests back and forth to the casino, no doubt).
 When you walk into their atrium, you're blown away!  The 200' dome was the largest in the world when it was built in 1902.
 It also has mosaic floors, but they're real stone - about 2 million pieces.
 There's a secret room 100 feet above, where the roof supports come together.  There are frescos painted inside and you can only access it from ladders on the outside.
 It's hard to get a sense of perspective as the place is huge.  Someone was playing a harp which sounded wonderful with the acoustics of the round, open space.
 They have established gardens that are over 100 years old.  The place has a good 'feel', both inside and outside.
 There are acres of manicured lawns which would make a great place for a sculpture show (hint, hint).
 Spitting turtles - I'm glad that real turtles can't do that.
... and closing this post with a nature picture... a pair of Osprey have taken up residence on a nesting platform at the nearby Patoka Lake.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Rolling on the Floor

I've spent all week making progress with the Cincinnati Virgin Mary sculpture.  I've rolled her around at least 6 times, in order to get to the side that needs work.
 This is the picture that I posted last Sunday...
 ...and this is how she looks today, 1 week later.
 This is the view of the other side...
 ...and this is the front view.  It's hard to get perspective with the piece lying on the floor.  I'm going to figure some safe way to stand her up for the final thinning. 
 Tomorrow, I plan on refining her hands.
 This is a comparison between the sub-base last weekend and today.  It is now 11-3/4" x 11-3/4".
 I've also made the first of 4 sanding passes and have added the chamfers and bevels.
 This is a view of the halo last Sunday...
 ...and this is the halo today.  It's much better, but it still has to be thinned to the final form.
Then, ending today's updates with the obligatory nature picture.  I've lost my fountain to the cat tails and coons (...but hey...they can have it...)

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Anything Worth Doing... is Worth Re-Doing

It's been a while since I posted updates on the Virgin Mary commission...
and for good reason.
 This is the picture that I posted on the last day of April.  Shortly after this picture was taken, I found that this preform wasn't going to work.  I was one VERY unhappy fellow at this point.
 The red circle is around what's left of a quarry drill hole that was deeper than I thought.  It had pushed her back forward and left no room for the praying hands in front of her chest.
 I knew that I had a couple loads of stone coming, so I decided to start over rather than bring the project to a halt.  There is a future for this Virgin Mary, but she will have her hands clasped in a lower position.  So...this is on hold until I finish the commissioned work. 
The new stones arrived on May 5. I hit the ground running and have been blocking out this preform to get back to "Square One" (and a little further...).  This stone has PLENTY of room for the figure and I foresee no problems (knock on wood...).  All the basic shapes have been blocked in.
 This "Virgin Mary - Mark Two" is bigger and heavier than the 1st piece.  I'm not comfortable with standing her up.  So, I have to roll her around to get to various sides.
 The base and sub-base are basically blocked in, with only a day's work (or two) to zip that all up.
 The Virgin is standing on a half-round globe.  I made a template from wafer board to help get the form right.
 Lines on the center of the stone and the center of the template gets the form into its correct position.
 I did this on all 4 sides to get the bottom of the globe perfectly round. 

Getting the overall shape of the figure finished will be my next focus - leaving the detailing of the hands and face for last.  I still plan to be finished by the 3rd week of June... but it'll be tight.

 ...and finishing this post with something completely different...
This is a detail of a quartz geode that we found a few miles from the stone quarry near Bloomington.
...and closer to home, this is a close-up into a calcite geode that Meg found in my pea-gravel.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

92,000 lbs. of Stone

This first week of May has been pretty busy... in spite of the heavy rain storms.
 Monday, I installed this sculpture at a private residence in Louisville.  It is entitled "Together" and is carved from North Carolina Granite on an Indiana Limestone pedestal.
This morning, a 60 ton crane showed up from Padgett in New Albany.

  The first thing that we did was to move one of my finished sculptures out of the way.
 Then, two semi's from Stone Belt Trucking showed up fully loaded with quarry blocks.
 The biggest block (Meg's) is 5' high by 4-1/2' thick and over 10' long.  It weighs 36,600 lbs.
 This is my biggest rock from the 2 loads.  It's 8' x 6' x 2' and weighs 15,500 lbs.
 Introducing Blocks A and B.  They're both mine - each weighing in over 10,000 lbs. and 10' x 3' x 2'.
 It's hard to get the scale of these stones until you're walking out beside them.  This is also Meg's and it is 13' long x 4-1/2' x 2' and 19,000 lbs.  There's now enough stone here on the south side of the studio to keep us both busy for a while.
...and I'll end this post with something other than rocks: A Dandelion smiley face that Meg found and photographed in front of the studio.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wrapping Up April

Here's the highlights for the 2nd half of April:
 I was invited to exhibit a piece in the Berea Arts Council's show called "Sticks and Stones".  It opened on Friday, April 22 and runs through May 21.  They're located in "Old Town"  - and it was the first time that I'd been in that part of Berea.
 I personally delivered this piece on Monday April 18th.   This functional sculpture in Indiana Limestone is called "Updraft".
 Meanwhile, in the studio, work continued on the Cincinnati Virgin Mary.
 I made these 3 stone studies to freshen up on female faces before cutting into the large Virgin sculpture.  I'm pretty happy with the middle piece; she is either "Minerva" or "Valkyrie Maiden" (haven't decided which, yet).  I'd like to re-do her with improvements in details such as her hair - and on a much larger scale.
 April 25, Meg and I made the trip to Victor Oolitic stone quarry near Bloomington, Indiana to buy some stone.
 Way off in the distance, the camera was able to zoom in on them about to turn a ledge.
 The stone with the smiley face is on Meg's "wish list".  It weighs 70,000 lbs. and the one on top of it is a close match.  They're 5' x 5' x 17' !!!
I usually like to end my posts with some off-the-wall nature picture.  These are "Mammatus" clouds that formed over the studio on Wednesday, April 27.  This was right before some serious heavy weather that followed.