Friday, March 20, 2015

First Day of Spring

It's Spring - the snow is gone and the grass is turning green.
 The last post on this granite hand said, "about one more hard day to finish the carving...".Well, I've put in about 3 more days so far.   I need a bit more fussy tweaking before I'm going to call it finished.  It's good to get away from a piece for a while and come back to it with fresh eyes.
 With reasonable weather, I jumped back on this 30,000 lb. sculpture that's been waiting patiently outside for me to come back to it.  The intense work on the granite hand made it easier for me to get focused on what needs to be done to carve these big limestone hands. 
 This is what it looks like today.  I've spent a few days up in the palms thinning and refining the shapes. (Hard to tell what I've done).
 This was the view on the back side, which was completely unconsidered.
 Here's what it looks like today.  I've opened it up around the thumbs and beginning to define the large block shapes.  (Lots of work to go)
The Magical Mystery Great White...Turkey.
 (The dust from the thundering herds obscured the sun).

Saturday, February 28, 2015


I'm happy that I made progress in the first 2 weeks of February, because everything in the stone studio came to a halt for the last half of the month.  Monday, February 16, saw 7" of snow with extreme cold ...and ...there's still snow and they're calling for more.

In fact, I have only left the studio property one time in the last 2 weeks - that would give most people 'cabin fever'. This is my stone sculpture "Fly Like an Eagle"...somewhere under that sparkly covering of snow.
 I've been working inside by the woodstove.  This is today's update on a life sized concrete sculpture of "Goldberry".  I created a small sketch and scale clay model in the first week of January that was based on this character from "Lord of the Rings"; Goldberry is Tom Bombadil's 'significant other'.  After I detail her out, I'll probably try airbrushing some color to the piece.  Everything that I create is usually the monochromatic tone of stone - it might be fun to try something different.
...and this is her back view.  I really don't have any plans to exhibit or sell this piece - she's going to join last years concrete pieces and 'people' the landscape around the studio.  These concrete pieces are fast ways to produce a life sized figure - and they are for fun (and practice) while it's too cold to comfortably work outdoors.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Granite Hand Sculpture Progress

Outside, there's a wind chill in the teens with snow flurries, so this is a good time to sit inside and update progress on things.
 After the last post, there was a 2 day gap while I was waiting for this new order of diamond blades to come in.
 That gave me a chance to make repairs on "Newborn Crescent" from Bernheim which had been hit by a falling tree.  (The dark places are moisture from being freshly power washed).
 This is the side view.
 Then, back to the granite hand.  I moved the piece off the table and onto the floor - to safely roll it over. 
This picture was taken when I first turned it over. I made a flat place on the bottom to make the sculpture stable, add visual interest and help drain rain water out of it.  I made what improvements that I could and then flipped the 1,000 lb. stone hand over to put it back up onto the table.
 Here's how the sculpture looks today.
 ....and as you walk around it...'s getting very close to the final form.
 ...still walking around the piece...
 ...the back side...
 ( obviously, the red color on the nails will be gone soon ...)
I've got about 1 more hard day with the diamond wheels, but then I'll begin grinding, sanding and polishing the piece.  It's getting very close to its final form at this point.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Granite Hand and a Falmouth Getaway

Whenever the temperatures have risen above 32 degrees, I've been in the stone studio.
 It was sub-freezing for the first week of January, which I spent inside making clay models.  This is a 1/8 scale plastiline model for a commission in Vermont Granite.
 This is the granite preformed sculpture - 4' wide by 2' high by 2' deep (and covered in limestone dust before work resumed after a 2 year hiatus).
 This is how it looks at the end of January.  Granite is HARD - the running joke is: what have you done?  It's hard to see the changes on a daily basis.
 The main changes happened in the overhead view.  This image shows the preformed sculpture (before work resumed), Meg's hand for reference, and the scale clay model.
 Here's today's overhead view.  It's easy to see the changes from the top image (before work resumed).
 Granite is not for the feint of heart - these are the 'casualties' so far.  More than a dozen diamond blades have hit the dust.
 Last weekend, a red sunrise revealed about an inch of snow clinging to the trees and covering the ground.
It made for a pretty 3-1/2 hour drive to Falmouth, Kentucky to party with a couple of college friends; Tom Mitts and John Kaiser. This picture shows a large impounded pond on the 100+ acre tract of wooded property that belongs to John.  Looks cold? (It was...most of the time was spent inside by the fire).

Saturday, January 10, 2015

A Cold ...and More Cold

I've had a cold;  I spent Christmas eve and Christmas flat on my back, blowing my nose and staring at the ceiling.  Between being sick and the incredibly cold temperatures that have moved into the region, I haven't been in the stone studio for almost a month.
 It's official... I've received a private commission to create a hand sculpture from this granite preform that's been hanging around the studio for a couple years.  It will be sited in Cave Hill Cemetery as the central feature for a family memorial.
 Meg gave me a box set of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit for Christmas.  I had a dream after reading about the adventures with Tom Bombadil.  This drawing is based on Tom's "significant other", Goldberry, as what I saw in that dream.
 I made a 1/8 scale clay model to work out the composition in 3D.
 Then, I made this life-sized clay model for working out the head portion of the sculpture.  I'm considering the idea of buying a quarry block to carve the design life-size.  we'll see....

 The 'Literate' Mermaid? (...just goofing on a snow day...)
Speaking of Literature...Meg's sculpture "Awaking Muse" was recently featured in the newest novel by Paulette Oakes.  We both got mention in the dedication.  I love the cover illustration by Stephen J. Catizone! This book is a fantasy / romance that brings the stone sculpture in Schaumburg, Illinois to life.  It was made by 2 "Halfling Elves"...(I've been called worse...).

Friday, December 26, 2014

250th Blog Post

Since this milestone blog post also lands near the end of the year, I'm going to do something I've never done before: show all the sculptures that I've made over the course of a year, in the order that they were created.
 We had an unusually cold winter, so I stayed in by the fire and tried my hand at something new; making life-sized figures from concrete.  "Invocation" was my first attempt; this was for fun rather than for commercial purposes.
 My next effort was this "Happy Monk".  I made these figures to feed and water the wildlife - as well as "people" the landscape around the studio.
 As spring approached, I made this wire figure, "Tree of Life", for honeysuckle vines to fill in and make a living sculpture.  (I've yet to actually put it out into the sculpture garden - 1 year later...)
 When the weather warmed in March, I returned to the stone studio.  I made this piece, called "Levitation", with LED neon to give my sculptures a night life.
Next, I made this podium, called "Earth and Sky", using the gnarliest piece of limestone that I've ever seen.
 This "Battery Bench" employed a wide variety of textures - the intent was to create tactile and visual interest as people rested and 'recharged'.
 I made a fountain called "Been There, Done That".  It's not finished - I never hooked it up to a pump and will probably add a vertical element for the center sometime in the future.
 The concept behind "Fly Like an Eagle" is the delicate tightrope walk that artists take between Freedom and Security.
 This craggy bird feeder was a commission.
 Having spent the first half of the year with smaller experimental pieces, I shifted gears in June to create this monumental sculpture "Harmony" from an 8 foot tall 10,000 lb. quarry block.
 When it was raining and couldn't work on "Harmony", I made this "Winged Vessel" inside the studio.
 I spent Fall finishing "Harmony" and making this "Comet Bench".
...and finishing the year off with this "Bubble Bench".   What will next year bring?

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Bubbles and a Charlie O. Christmas

The weather for December, so far, has been the typical
"Cold, Dark and Wet".
 I've made great progress on my Bubble Bench - it is basically formed, needing only the endless fussy hours of cleaning up all the creases and polishing the spheres.
 This is the back view.  If you look closely in the 2 views, you can see all the places where I've pierced the form - under the bench piece and between some of the bubbles.
 Saturday, we went to Charlie Oldham's Rock Shop Christmas Sale.
 I treated myself to this group of Fluorite crystals from the Annabel Lee Mine near Cave-In-Rock, Illinois.
Calico Cougar...or delusions of grandeur.