Monday, March 6, 2017

Progress on the Buffalo Commission

It seems that spring is trying to come early...
 This was the last image that I posted - the block when it first came to the studio on Wednesday, February 15.
 This is that same view today.
 This is the block as seen from the other side when it came in...
 ... and this is how the left side looks today.
 On rainy days, I worked inside on a 1/2 scale clay model of the head.
 It's not finished, but I'm making great progress on finding improvements to make over the small 1/8 scale plaster model.
... and I'll finish today's post with a wildlife picture that I snapped while working on the clay head.  To the lower right of the marble column is a rare, white turkey.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Great White Buffalo Commission for Buffalo Trace Distillery

It's been a very long time since my last blog post.  But, here's the latest news...
 I received a commission from Buffalo Trace Distilleries in Frankfort, KY.  Approximately 28 artist from around the world submitted designs to the open call for submissions through callforentry.org.
 My plaster model was picked by the employees of Buffalo Trace as the favorite.
 I found a 32,000 lb. block at Victor Quarry near Bloomington that was big enough.  The Buffalo needed to be 7-1/2' long x 5' high x 3' wide.  The block was 8-1/2' x 5'-2" x 4'-11", so I was happy that the quarry agreed to make a cut lengthwise to the 3' width - to save me a LOT of time.
 On February 15, Padgett Crane of New Albany, IN sent out a 50 ton crane to unload the stone that was delivered by Stone Belt Trucking of Bloomington.
 With the extra width cut off, the Buffalo stone now only weighed 22,000 lbs.  That's a good start....
 Here is the other 10,000 lbs. that they cut off.  It will likely become a functional sculpture (bench) someday.
Here is the block ready to be carved.  Tabula Rasa - the clean saw cut down the side is like a blank canvas ready to receive the first mark. The block is actually about 39" wide, so I can make the whole thing a little bigger - and make good use of the whole block.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

October and November

October and November had unusually great weather for working outside.  I worked as much as I could... because I know that winter is coming...
 Whenever possible, I worked full days trying to finish my monumental sculpture "Now".
 I'm showing alternate views as I walk around the piece...
 ... and further around...
It's pretty much finished; 9' high by 6' wide by 4' thick and 20,000 lbs.  It took day...after day... after day....  These big sculptures demand such persistence - I thought I'd never finish...
 During the last 2 weeks of November, I made some small pieces - I guess to 'clear my palate' after such a large block of time spent on the big hands.  This "Hummingbird Vessel" is featured on a YouTube video https://youtu.be/PowY88hDstA
 It is Indiana Limestone, 16-1/2" in diameter and 5-1/2" high and I've featured it for sale on www.etsy.com under DonLawlerSculpture.
 Then, I made this 2 leafed vessel which has a YouTube video https://youtu.be/9ecDVmYiYp8  It is also on www.etsy.com for sale.
 I made this "Seed Top" garden sculpture which has a YouTube video https://youtu.be/iLLD3idmxbM  It is on www.etsy.com under DonLawlerSculpture, too
 ... and the last piece - on Etsy, but no video.
 Here's the back view.
 I didn't go anywhere except to work at the studio for most of October and November.  But, I went over to check out the chainsaw carvers event that Abbie Peterson put together on October 1.  This Bald Eagle was one of my favorite pieces that I saw.  (photo Meg White)
left to right: wood bear, real dog, wood owl   - (similar eyes)
(photo Meg White)

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: https://youtu.be/-J3Imu0yido  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: http://allerton.illinois.edu/
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 like...now...
 ... 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...