Thursday, September 29, 2016

Temporary Sculpture Installations in Urbana and Allerton Park

I've been giving a lot of time and effort lately getting ready for a double installation in Urbana and Allerton Park near Monticello, Illinois.  This 2 year lease was arranged by the Public Art League of Champaign and made possible through private sponsors.
 Monday, September 26, I rented a 24' flat bed truck from Thrifty Rental of Louisville.  In the afternoon, Dereck Sheroan of JBB, Inc. showed up to load the two large pieces.  Here's a link to a time lapse of that event on YouTube that features one of my favorite music tracks from Ronald Jenkees:  This sculpture is "New Leaf"...
 ... and this one is "Shooting Star".
 Wednesday morning, I showed up at the site on the corner of Race and Water in Urbana.  I installed "New Leaf" with the help of a 40 ton crane from Nash Crane Services which was arranged by Pauline Tannos, Public Art Coordinator with the City of Urbana.  After the installation, I was able to see some of Urbana's other public sculptures as I finished up paperwork with Eric Robeson of the Public Art League.
 Then, I drove the 35 miles down to Allerton Park.  I had no idea what I was in for - Allerton Park was a completely unexpected treat.  Here's a link to their website:
I will have to go back in a couple of years, but this time I will schedule a block of time so that I can adequately explore the place.  The founder, Robert Allerton, was an artist and art lover / collector (among many, many other things).  I think he would be very happy to know that there is a strong program in place now for bringing new works of art to the estate, which is now being run by the University of Illinois.
Derek Peterson, Associate Director of Allerton Park & Retreat Center, was my contact person.  He had picked a site near the Visitor's Center and provided this large telescoping forklift.  When I arrived, I found the site being prepared; I was very happy to see the sub-bed of recycled masonry being packed and leveled.  Three employees, Micah, Tom and Peter were there throughout the entire installation - I'm very grateful for their help!
This is "Shooting Star" in its temporary site and behind it is Peter who operated the forklift.  We had to stretch the 3,500 lb. piece quite a distance; nerve wracking for me.  It had been very worrisome for me to try 2 major installations on the same day, but things went super-smooth.  The 6 hour trip back was no problem at all - a little torrential rain, just part of the game.  Now... I put it all in the hands of Fate and hope that one or both pieces will become permanent acquisitions.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Mercury in Retrograde

I don't believe in Astrology, but I have to blame a misalignment of the planets for all the mechanical failures this last month.  2 trucks, a car, air compressor, mower, power washer, weed eater, window airconditioner etc. etc.
 I was able to get some time in the large outdoor project.
 This is what "Now" looks
 ... and stage left...
 I also finished the base for "Newborn Crescent".
 ... walking around the piece...
 ... and the back view.
 Temptation                                       (photo by Meg White)
 One in every crowd
Hummingbird poo streaks on the window that looks like a musical score... a bass solo?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Wrapping Up August

August is about to end - and I realized that I hadn't posted anything...
 I spend what time that I can on my monumental stone hands.  This is what the hands looked like a couple months ago...
 ...and this is what they looked like about 1 month ago...
 ...and this is how they look today.  Slow progress because it's been too hot to work out in the sun most days.
 In the afternoons, I'd go to the shade in the studio building and turn on a 4' fan.  I've been working on fitting a base to this sculpture, "Newborn Crescent".  You can see the preformed block with the drill holes along the side.
 This is what that base looks like now.  I should be finishing it soon.  Also, I've been playing with a new "action" camera and uploading short, experimental time lapse clips onto You Tube (under my name, Don Lawler).  Check them out.
 I was lucky this month that I had some indoor work beside the air conditioner.  I am a finalist for a public art opportunity in Frankfort.  Here, I'm taking apart the mold so that I can make a plaster cast of the model.
 Yesterday, Meg and I hand-delivered the finished model to Frankfort.  We went to the Old State Capitol after the delivery.  I was hoping to show Meg the awesome self-supporting staircase in KY River Marble - unfortunately, it was all locked up.
 We were still able to check out the outside which is completely covered in the 2 varieties of KY River Marble.  The columns are carved from the 'desert camo' looking Oregon Dolomite.  Almost 200 years old and the fluting and column scrolls are still crisp and sharp.
 The flinty, crystal-filled wormholes of the Tyrone Dolomite probably is unimpressive to most people, but I know how extremely difficult it was to work these blocks.  Those folks in the 1820's weren't afraid of work.
...restful rocks...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

"Crucible" installed at University of Indianapolis

Thursday, July 28, I installed my large stone sculpture "Crucible" at the University of Indianapolis.  All photos on this post are by Meg White.
 We arrived on the site at 1 p.m. to meet the crane.
 There were TV crews from the local stations. (no pressure... )
 Jim Viewegh, professor of art at U of Indy, was giving an interview nearby as I prepared the site.
 I drilled 3 holes and cleaned them out with a vacuum.
 Next, I rigged the sculpture for lifting it over to the site.
 Dave from R.H. Marlin was great - and when we're lucky enough to get a great operator, I sing their praises.   
 We did a 'dry run' to make sure of the orientation and that there were no problems with the 3 pins and their holes.  Then, I mixed epoxy and set the piece on short boards to get the slings out.  Last, I used choker hitches, first on one side and then the other, to get the boards out and lower it onto setting cushions.
 Relief !!!  It's set safely where it belongs.  The last thing to do was put a bead of caulk around the bottom.  I want to thank Jim Viewegh (on the right) and many others who helped me through this tough installation.
Here's the finished piece in its new home as part of their Fifth Third Bank Sculpture Walk.  The outdoor sculpture collection at the University of Indianapolis is far, far larger than any college or university collection in the state of Kentucky. 

"Crucible" Loaded Up

Wednesday, July 27 was the day that was scheduled for loading out my large stone sculpture "Crucible".  All photos on this post are by Meg White.
 In the background, you can see a large thunderstorm that just missed us to the north.  The weather has been crazy all summer - I wasn't sure that we'd be able to load this piece out because of all the rain.
 I rigged the sculpture up...
 ...then, Dereck loaded the 6,800 lb. sculpture onto the back of his truck to take it over to the studio.
 I liked this photo by Meg as it gives comparison between "Crucible" and "Ecliptic" in the foreground.
 We set the piece on the ground and then rolled it onto its side.  I'd been dreading this part for months - rolling over something that's heavy, fragile... and sold.
 I drilled 3 holes in the bottom and epoxied 3 stainless steel pins into place.  Next, we stood it back up.
 The last move was to load it up on the 24' flatbed truck that I'd rented from Thrifty that morning.  After some power washing, it was strapped down and made ready for the trip to Indianapolis the next day.
While Dereck and I were out in the sun loading up the sculpture, Meg (over in the shade of the woods) photographed these cling pads on a Virginia Creeper vine.  Pretty sculptural, if you ask me.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

"Now" ...and again...

Since I finished the private commission, I have returned to carving on the 30,000 lb. pair of hands.
 In the front corners, you can see that I've cut some huge notches.
 I'm trying to simplify the composition by making the surrounding matrix into pure rectangular forms. 
 This view shows how much work remains to be done (makes me tired to look at it....)
 It's brutally HOT and I've been trying to get up before dawn and work in the cooler mornings.  ("Try" is the operative word here - I'm not a morning person).
 This is the first fawn this year to make its appearance at the studio - hopefully, we'll be seeing many more.
Speaking of deer... can you see the doe camped out in the shade behind the feed table?  She's peering out between the 'V' shaped trees.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Cincinnati Virgin Mary Installation

Monday, July 11 was the date for installing my Virgin Mary commission at a private residence in Cincinnati.  Meg drove the piece up on her crane truck - and all the pictures on this post are by her.
 I met Jeff Payne (far right) who is with Architectural Landscape Design, Inc.  I'm shaking hands with Paul who helped me with the installation and behind him is the Lull operator, Romero.
 First, we unloaded the piece from the back of the flat bed truck.
 On the right is Bill Ripley of Architectural Landscape Design, Inc. who was my initial contact for the project.  Andy Corn, who was the architect on the project, was also there briefly at the beginning.
 We stood her up with a choker hitch, but we also had 2 safety slings under the base.  We added a ratchet strap around everything as another layer of safety.
 We had an audience, although I was too busy to notice.
 In the foreground is Jeremy Hensley of Hensley Services, who was involved with the project all the way through.  We slowly moved the piece over to the site.
 A square concrete socket had been prepared ahead of time to hold the square sub-base.  The 8' height made me uncomfortable with the thought of relying on pins to hold the tall, thin sculpture.  We did a dry run... and it was too tight...
 I'd made the sub-base too big for the square socket ( I should have known better...).  I used my grinder to make the inside of the socket bigger.  Nothing is easy.
 It fit like a glove.  We set it down on short boards to get the safety slings out from under it.
 Then, we applied a thick, inner seal of silicone.
 Next, we lifted it with the choker hitches to take out the boards and set it on some monument cushions.  We're checking to make sure that everything is plumb, level and that it is firmly in position.
 This is the final piece in her new home among the roses - from her right...
 ... the center...
 .... and her left.
 I gave her an outer bead of silicone caulk around the bottom and applied a breathable sealer.  That's it - signed, sealed and delivered.  The only thing left was the 3-1/2 hour trip home.
While I finished up, Meg explored the rock wall and found this pocket of Bryozoa.  The upper piece looks like an arrowhead... if you use your imagination...