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.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Texas Bench Installation

Monday, February 22 was the date set for the installation of my "Family Tree" bench in The Woodlands, Texas.  All of these pictures (except the last 2) were taken by Michelle Betcher who is the Project Manager for The Woodlands Township.
 I made the 900 mile trip down in 2 days with this flat bed truck from Thrifty Rental.  I'd loaded the 4,000 lb. sculpture the previous week with a 23 ton crane from JBB, Inc. and Dereck Sheroan as the operator.
 On the left is John Powers who is the Assistant General Manager for The Woodlands Township.  He made all the arrangements for the site preparation and scheduled the crane.  I love the name of this crane company:  Heave Ho Crane Co.
 This is a great photo by Michelle.  We're rigging up the sculpture for the lift.
 The operator, Mike Rasberry, was excellent to work with.  He was "spot-on" for the entire lift.  I totally recommend these folks for the Houston area!
 On the left is Brandon who was with me for the entire setting.  It's great to work with experienced people; it takes some of the stress off me.
 There was a lot of help from other City employees.  They anticipated my needs before I could even ask for help.  That just makes things go that much smoother.
 Will it hold me up?  You bet!  Installations are stressful and even after 33 years it never seems to get easier.  However, my experience with the people in The Woodlands was exemplary.  I wish that all installations would go this way.
 Burning Down the House?  I noticed this on the way down.
This close-up shows that it has lights as part of this ...public art?

Monday, February 8, 2016

The Small Stuff

With the Texas commission finished, I turned my efforts toward some small pieces - a way of "clearing my palate" before heading into the next large project, I guess.
 I started easy with this "Stairway to the Stars" bookend.  When I was making it, I was thinking about it being a monumental piece that someone could walk up.  I may do something like that - you never know...It's Indiana Limestone and measures 7" high by 8" wide by 4" thick and retails for $95.
 ...and speaking of stars...I did this "Shooting Star" vessel in a piece of Brazilian Marble.  It measures 20" long by 7" wide by 3-1/2" high and retails for $340.
 Then, I made a "Windswept Vase" in Indiana Limestone that will retail for $280.
 This is the view from the other side...  It measures 7" high by 7" deep by 16" wide.
 ...and the top view showing the complex interior.
 It's snowing again today...and freezing temperatures are here to stay for a few days yet (and more snow to come).
A crowd of Cardinals took over the feed table today.  I count 30, but there may be more as the females are hard to see.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Texas Bench Finished

It's been a while since I've posted....
 I've finally finished the bench for The Woodlands, Texas.  This is the view from one side...
 ...and this is the view from the other.
 My original proposal called for leaves to be polished, like the leaves in "Crucible" which will be installed at the University of Indianapolis later this year...
 ...or like the leaves on "Release" in Fort Nugent Park of Oak Harbor, Washington.
 This is a detail that shows how I finished these leaves.  I used a chisel texture to give more "life" to the piece.  I came upon this solution serendipitously as I carved the piece.  I think it's a HUGE improvement to what I originally envisioned.
 I had put in a lot of work during November and December because I knew that snow and freezing temperatures were inevitable.  We got several inches of snow between January 10 and January 25...and they're calling for more snow next week.
 A group of Grackles took over the feed table during the snow days...
...and the cat was stuck inside with me.