Friday, January 31, 2014

Monk Sculpture

Temperatures have stayed subfreezing for the remainder of January,
so I started another indoor project.
 I wanted to improve the head portion from the last effort.  I found an old plastic skull model and traced the outline of sections onto a piece of foam core.
 I used these foam core patterns to cut sections from 2" thick foam insulation.
 I attached the 3 pieces of the skull together with wooden skewers.  The other piece will become the jaw.
 Using the plastic model as reference, I carved the foam into the shape of a skull.
 In my first concrete project, I learned the hard way that concrete didn't want to stick to foam.  So, I added scrap pieces of drywall lathe and tied them down with fencing wire.
 It's a lot easier to add the concrete to a horizontal surface.  With the face lying down, I could also work on it from different angles - which helps a lot.
 While the face dried, I began the armature for the body.  I had kept a piece of armored electric cable casing from an electric project the week before - it made a great armature for the rope belt.
 I started adding concrete to weight the piece down before going too high with the armature.  I added a little "Contrapposto" to make it more life-like.
 I added the screen armature for the arms, the hood and a goblet.
 This is the nearly finished piece.  He's life-size (...and seemingly pretty happy about what is in his 'Holy Grail'...)
This is the back view.  You can see that I've got a warm fire going on these cold, cold days.

Sunday, January 12, 2014


The temperatures have still been too cold to work outside (comfortably), so I've continued work indoors on my concrete girl.
 The temperatures on Monday only topped out at 0 degrees.  The extreme cold made these huge ice crystals.  The largest is about 2 inches long (larger than shown).
 I've basically finished this life-size sculpture - my first concrete piece.
 Moving around the piece...this is her backside...
 ...and her left side...
 I haven't totally settled on a title, but for now, I'm calling it "Invocation".  After she thoroughly dries, I'll try out some colors - I plan on making some samples on which to experiment, before making changes to the sculpture.
 I've already started to think about the next life-sized concrete figure.  This is the basic composition; she'll have a chalice in her raised hands and her lower half will be (more or less) covered by a sarong, knotted above her left thigh.
This is the start on the galvanized screen armature.  I am using a pipe armature for additional support until the concrete can hold the piece up on its own.  Actually, I've got some home improvements that I need to do this next week - some painting and electrical work that I've been putting off.  If the weather breaks after that, I really should return to the stone studio.  So, ...I'm not sure when (or if ) this piece will ever come to fruition. We shall see...We shall see.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Concrete Lady

It's been too cold to carve stone (if I don't have to), so I've been working on an indoor project.
 I bought a few pieces of galvanized drywall lathe and cut them into pieces to make an armature for a full-sized female figure.
 I used aluminum fencing wire to keep the pieces from unrolling and to put them together into the form that I wanted.
 I've made my own custom mix of concrete to cover the lathe armature.  I use 1 cup of Portland to 3 cups of sand.  (In this picture, you can see that I'm using "Play Sand"...which is more fun than work sand).  I add a couple small splashes of concrete acrylic fortifier to each batch, which is supposed to make it adhere better to added layers.  I mix each batch in a heavy rubber feed pan that can be bought at Tractor Supply.  I didn't have any luck using trowels or tools to apply the concrete - I had to use my hands (...and I quickly learned to use gloves...). It's exactly like building sand castles - it doesn't want to stick to the armature or itself - it wants to fall off.
 This is the progress after 1 week.  It's a fairly quick and cheap way to make an outdoor suitable life-size figure.  I will add the bowl (under cat) to her lap, apply hair and begin to refine details this next week.
 On a more personal note: my college friend and old room mate, Paul Breslin, turned 50 this Christmas.  Meg and I went to his birthday party the Friday night after Christmas.
 I've also been trying my hand at Temporary Outdoor Public Art.  This sculpture is called "Hits the Spot" and is made from Black Oil Sunflower seeds, Cracked Yellow Corn and a large slab of Kentucky River Marble.  (White Tailed Deer not included).
These installations have become immensely popular with the viewing public, who line up at the gallery doors - eager to see what I come up with next.