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.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Cincinnati Virgin

I recently received a private commission to create a 7' tall Virgin Mary.  It will be installed in the Cincinnati area when it is finished.
 I began a couple weeks ago by drilling and splitting a large piece of stone to get the basic dimensions that I needed.
 I laid the design out on the flat side of the block by gridding the drawing and the stone to scale.
 I also split off a small piece off the end that I didn't need.  Then I began to remove extra stone from the side in order to reduce weight.
 At this point, it weighed about a ton.  I was able to move the block into the studio with my old crane truck.
 I laid the design out on the surface and removed the excess stone from the sides.
 I stopped working on the stone until I had all of the design worked out in 3D models.  I began that process by printing out the design to a 1:4 scale.  This template helped my to get a clay model built up fairly quickly.
 This is the front view...
 .... and a 3/4 view...
 ... side view...
 ... and the back view.
 Then, I made a full sized model of the hands.  This photo doesn't do this justice as I really liked the way they came out.  I'd like to see this 9' tall... and I may do that on speculation because it will have a lot of impact in the monumental scale.
 I made this full-sized clay model for the face, but I wasn't exactly fully happy with it. I need to make it more stylized to go with the feel that the figure has.
I made this second model to give the face more dimension, but this piece got even further from stylization and so I need to back up and take another swing at it..  What I plan to do next is make one or two full scale studies in stone because the clay is sticky and it doesn't allow for the subtleties and finish that I can get in stone. The smoothness of the polished stone should help me get the stylization that I'm looking for.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Getting A Lift

Wednesday, March 30, Dereck Sheroan brought out the 23 ton crane from JBB, Inc. of Hardinsburg to do some heavy lifting for us.
 Meg took this picture of "the girls" watching us hook up one of my sculptures.
 We moved this piece out into the sculpture garden.  It has had a title change from "Testing The Waters" to "Stepping Out".  A life-size sculpture by any other name...
 We also moved and stood up this beautiful 6,600 lb. piece of Georgia Pink Marble.
 Underneath the rock we found this. The spiral pattern is pretty different for Mud Daubers.
 Dereck made and gave us this gizmo.  We use it to reach under rocks and pull the slings through.  The handle is slightly angled so that you don't drag your knuckles across gravel.  It works like a charm!!!
 Also, I finished and set out my "Ghost Dancers" this week. 
 It's 3'-1/2' feet high and carved from Indiana Limestone.
 I made the piece because there were 2 other house on the studio property where couples lived out there lives (and, of course, the Indians lived here before all of us).  One house was back in the 1800's and another was in the early 1900's.  We all have our time to dance for a while...and then the song is over.
...and speaking of our own little worlds...Meg snapped this picture of a micro-environment.