Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stone Angel and Wildlife

It's been a roller coaster week - ups and downs...
I put most of my effort this week in creating a stone angel. This is a rough "thumbnail" clay model.
I actually got the old crane truck to start, and moved this 1,500 piece of Indiana Limestone into the studio.
I cut (what will be) the bottom flat, and stood it upright.
After several days of work (in heat indexes above 100 degrees), I had this preformed sculpture. The model is in the foreground, for comparison.
Working full out in this heat took a lot out of me. I stayed inside this weekend and made improvements to an old clay sculpture. This piece is about the "push and pull" of mutual attraction.
...and speaking of "push me-pull you", these are the first fawns of the season to venture up near the studio.
...and continueing with the wildlife theme, we've been over run this year with rabbits.
If you want to see a lot of wildlife, then put out cracked corn. There is a morning dove, 3 baby turkeys and their mom, and a deer - all in the same picture.
I put together this fountain bubbler over a bucket of water with a pump, so that I could post a video of it running on youtube, which you can see by searching "Stele #1 fountain bubbler by Don Lawler". Baby raccoon not included.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Tree of Life Installation

It was finally time to install the Tree of Life sculpture in Cave Hill Cemetery.
Thursday morning, Steve McMillen helped me to load up and delivery the finished bronze.
After the 1-1/2 hour drive up, we went to the maintenance receiving area to fit the bronze to the granite plinth.
I had to drill a 3/4" hole for the stainless steel pin that would hold the sculpture in place.
The guys with the Cave Hill Monument Company loaded the stones onto a truck to take them to the site. Mark, the foreman, is operating the backhoe, while Billy is steadying the plinth.
They laid fiberglass planking so that they would not disturb the grave sites while installing the monument.
They set the base onto a concrete footer, using a thin bed of sand to help keep it level.
Billy is "walking" the heavy granite plinth into place using his crow bar. It was a pretty neat trick - there is always new things to learn when handling heavy stones.
Mark and I are holding the bronze tree up while Billy lays in a bead of setting compound. I have already mixed epoxy and added it to the stainless steel pin at this point.
Billy is carefully using a knife to trim the setting compound around the complex shape of the tree roots. It is 98 degrees with a heat index of about 110 degrees. The "King Tut" look with a wet towel is a smart way to beat the heat. I sweated so much that I ruined my cell phone that was in my pocket.
Billy finished everything with a thorough cleaning. It has been a long process to see this monument come together, but I'm very happy with the final results. This project has involved various members of the Leis family, Cave Hill Monument Company and Art Castings of Colorado. I think that it would be a safe estimate to say that at least 50 people have been involved in different aspects of the project. I will post detail shots of the finished monument soon.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Fledgling and Some Cool Coons

The second week in July was incredibly hot, with temperatures over 100 degrees.
I began my days early to beat the heat. I made this thumbnail clay sketch while drinking coffee one morning.
Then, I traced the design onto a likely piece of Indiana Limestone.
It gradually took shape.
This is its final form. It is entitled "Fledgling" and was inspired by a second batch of Warblers that had been successfully raised in a cabinet inside the stone studio.
It measures 26" long x 16" wide x 12" high and weighs about 60 lbs. This large stone vessel will sell for about $480.00.
In the afternoons, I stayed inside and filled out public art applications. What's this right outside the window? (photo Meg White)
There are 3 babies and their mom. (photo Meg White)
They took over the fountain and kept coming back all afternoon. With temperatures at 103 degrees, can you blame them? (photo Meg White)

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Morgan's Raid on Main Street

July 7 and 8 was the Civil War Re-enactment in Brandenburg, Kentucky. Meg and I went Saturday to check out Morgan's Raid (149 year anniversary) on Main Street. It was 103 degress!
The action began with a 'drunken' shoot out in the middle of the street. The guy with a feather in his hat is our good friend Eddie Franke.
There was this interesting interaction between a Naval officer and a southern belle.
The confederate raiders charged up Main Street.
They were met by Union resistance.
General Morgan receives advice.
One of the Cavalry.
Artillery was brought into position.
The height of the battle.
Some made it through...
...and others did not. (The belle in green is our friend Loretta Young).
This is the encampment of Eddie and Loretta, which we visited after the Main Street raid. ( All photos copyright 2012 Meg White)

finished sprout bench and 4th of July

This is what happened the first week of July.
I finished the sprout bench for Germantown, Tennessee.
It is titled "Entwined Seedlings" and measures 45" wide x 21" high x 21" deep and weighs approximately 1,000 lbs.
It will be installed in their first annual temporary Outdoor Sculpture Show sometime in October.
We went to a 4th of July party down on the 100 acre farm of our neighbors, Steve McMillen and Alice Kimble - lots of good food, lots of good people. This shot was taken down by their lake.
Meg is happy - she caught a Bass!
At dark, everyone drove down to Chenault for the fireworks display.
It's really amazing that we have such a huge (and expensive) event in our very remote area.
I love it!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sprout Bench & Paul's Park

I am way behind on posting to this blog. This is what happened in the last week of June (two weeks ago).
I began a functional sculpture for Germantown, Tennessee. I had been included as one of seven people for their first temporary Outdoor Sculpture Show. This is the raw block that measures 45" wide by 21" high by 18" deep and weighs approximately 1,500 lbs. at this point.
I used a 4" grinder with a diamond blade to make cuts for major stone removal. (kind of has a cool look to it).
Then I began to shape the preform of the sculpture.
I turned it around and roughed in the other side.
Then, I carved the negative spaces in the ends. You can see the small clay model sitting on the top for comparison.
Friday, June 29, Meg and I rode up together to the dedication of Paul's Park near his old studio on Frankfort Ave. Meg snapped this shot on the way.
From left to right: Matt Weir (who made the bronze plaque of Paul Fields), Al Nelson (who made the stone base to hold Paul's sculptural vessel and plaque, and Master of Ceremonies), and Rich Williams ( who has tirelessly devoted huge amounts of labor for landscaping and maintenance). Seated on the right is Gordon Brown, CEO of Home of the Innocents, which has a major sculpture by Paul (finished posthumously by students and past apprentices). (photo Meg White)
The centerpiece of the park is this functional sculpture carved from North Carolina Granite by Paul Fields. (photo Meg White)
This is the bronze relief of Paul by Matt Weir, which is on the front side of the centerpiece. Matt did a great job - that's Paul! ...and we all miss him very much. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing without him. He made Kentucky history by being the first to carve monumental scale works in stone. The park is a fitting memorial. (photo Meg White)