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?
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.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Troubles with Bubbles...

...is that they're difficult to carve. 
 Here's a comparison picture from 2 weeks ago of my Bubble Bench...
and what it looks like today.
 This is the back view.
 There's a meditation technique that encourages people to pop thought bubbles as they form.  The concept behind this piece is: don't worry, pop those bubbles.
 Early on Monday the 17th, it snowed about 3 inches.
... my 'outdoor' rock collection (I think...)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Bubble Bench

It's been a while since I've posted anything on this blog.
(That usually means I'm going in several directions at once...)
 I've just about finished the Comet Bench.
 This is an alternate view.
 With Meg's help, I got the old crane truck to start and we moved in this 4,000 lb. piece of Indiana Limestone.  I know that winter will soon have me working indoors, for the most part.
 I came up with this drawing for a design called "Clearing Skies".
 The 'polar vortex' had me already working inside.  As I began to rough-in the functional sculpture, I discovered a crack along the middle top (you can see where I've removed the broken stone in the middle top of the bench back).  That crack went right into where I wanted to carve the sun.  It's just not meant to be.
 I went back to the drawing board and came up with this "Bubble Bench".
 ...and that's what I've started to make.
What's in your gravel?
In this "driveway gem" close-up photo by Meg White, there are 3 white double terminated quartz crystals on a bed of pink bladed dolomite.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Full Hunter's Moon Sustainability Potluck and Moonlight Art Mosey at Bernheim

business first...
 Rainy days drove me indoors where I created this "Winged Vessel" from a block of Indiana Limestone.
 This is another view - it measures 30" x 17" x 9" and weighs about 80 lbs.
...and now for fun...
 Last night, Meg and I made the 3 hour round trip to Bernheim Arboretum with a couple of dishes for their potluck gathering.  Meg snapped this cool close-up of Crinoids on a boulder as we joined the group. (...kind of like unstrung beads, play money or tokens...)
 Claude Stephens, facilitator of outreach and regenerative design, gave talks about the various projects and approaches at Bernheim.  Claude covered many great topics - for me, the most interesting point was his discussion about art and its life as a cycle.  After its creation and life as an art object, he describes the thought that goes into its decay and transformation / recycling into another useful form for the environment.  I silently mused that stone sculpture is a little different than the temporary mediums that he was describing; what is cyclic are the human civilizations around a stone sculpture (....one day to include our own.)
 Yesterday was a 'Moon Medley', starting with the "Blood Moon" at 6 a.m.
 ...then, the rise of the Full Hunter's Moon over the rolling hills of Bernheim Forest. I'd never been to Bernheim after dark, and I was happy that I made the trip.
 The food that everybody brought to the pot luck was 'top notch'!  Afterwards, Martha Slaughter, Visual Arts Coordinator, led the group to enjoy some of their art by moonlight.  Meg snapped this photo of the Hunter's Moon as seen through a portion of Earth Measure.  The artist, Matt Weir, had also attended the event and described to the group the particulars about the project. On the way to the next sculpture, we eased around a very fluffy, white skunk with raised tail (right-of-way protocols were observed). We concluded the event by checking out Meg's sculpture "Emerging", which is aging beautifully. 
On the way to Bernheim, I'd snapped this shot of a 'temporary public art project' in front of Payneville Elementary School.  Following Claude's train of thought: after this sculpture has lived out its life as art, it becomes cow food.  (However, I'm not following the train of thought any further than when it goes into the cow...)

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Comet Sculpture and Cunningham Show

The weather has continued to be incredibly good and I have worked outside almost every day.
 Here is a picture that I posted 2 weeks ago showing a 7,000 lb. block of Indiana Limestone that I preformed into a comet-shaped bench.  This sculpture was inspired by the Comet of 562 A.D.  I'm not sure what to think about what I'm finding out about this event from internet sources.  Did it really lay waste to a diagonal swath across Britain like the writings of St. Gildas suggests?  Was it responsible for the vitrified forts in Scotland - where the outer rock walls of hilltop towns were melted together by intense heat?
 The back of the piece had not been considered at all, so I tried a pillow-like bush texture to simulate the tail of the comet.
 I didn't like it (at all), so I tried a sample of spiral and circular glyphs.  This is the right direction, but it's going to need some deep carving to bring out strong shadows (to make the forms read better).
 I refined the outer curves of the blast wave and gave it a twist to make it compositionally interesting.
 This is how it looks today, with a Celtic-inspired braid in the flames.  There's a HUGE amount of work needed to get rid of the flatness in the piece and create strong movements.  It's coming to that stage where days of work will only create subtle change.
Last Friday night, Meg and I went to Bellarmine college to see Caren Cunningham's art show that featured over 1,000 individual framed images taken from freight trains that pass her house.  The samples of graffiti were quite dynamic and colorful.  Seated in the chair is Ewing Fahey (aged 92) who has been an active sculptor and proponent of the Louisville art scene longer than I've been alive.

As we left, we were met by David and Kathleen Buechler (friends we hadn't seen in 15 years).  They invited us over to their house for drinks, where we spent an enjoyable evening.  As Woody Allen said, "Half of life is just showing up".  (...and, yes, it wouldn't hurt for us to get out more often...)