Sunday, June 6, 2010

Demeter parting the night part 1

I took these pics while I was carving Demeter last year and held them in reserve until now. A little back story, for those who don't know who Demeter is - In Greek Legend Demeter was the Goddess of growing things. Her daughter Persephone was kidnapped by Hades and was taken to live in the Underworld. Demeter searched the earth for her daughter, even hunting for her when it was night. In the myth, she carried a lamp, but here I will have her parting the night with her arms in her search. The rest of the story - when she can't find Persephone, Demeter is so distraught that she no longer cares for the earth, and there is unending winter. Zeus appeals to Hades to return Persephone so that spring will return. Hades allows Persephone to return to earth, but, as she has eaten pomegranate seeds while in the underworld, she must return there for part of each year. That is why we have winter - according to myth.

This was my initial design for Demeter, sketched on a piece of stone cut from the large block for the reading girl. There was not enough 'meat' for the design to work in this particular stone, so I had to find another piece.

I have found the stone and we are loading it onto the truck to take it into the studio area.

The stone is wider than the original piece that I wanted to use. Also, the stone is thicker on the right side. So, I decide to make the figure larger, and crouched more, to utilize the extra mass of the stone. Also, I flipped the design, making it a mirror image to my original concept. There are various areas (such as the chainsaw cut marks on the left) that will work better with the figure positioned on the right.

I have made the initial cuts in the stone using an angle grinder.

I use a hammer to tap off the cut stone.

I have cut the stone back to a rough profile of the piece.

I begin removing stone from under the face and from the left arm.

I carve the face first. When carving direct, I like to establish the face first, and then work the rest of the figure in. I leave areas thick as the forms can in effect "float" . I work from the nose back and slowly determine where the form should be as I work. The arm is roughly sketched in using a masonry blade on an angle grinder

I use crayon marks (straight down the center of the face, with perpendicular lines for the eyes, mouth, etc.) to make sure the face is symmetrical.

I make vertical cuts under the arm using an angle grinder. I use a hammer and chisel to remove the stone.

I am making rudimentary movements in the stone, determining the position of the left leg and begining to block in the drapery.

I have defined the neck, but the right arm is far too low. The arm pit of the left arm is too low as well.

I am cutting the stone down to the outside of the hip, defining the waist and removing stone beneath the right arm.
The shoulder is still too wide, and the arm too far out. I will take the arm back under the stone.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Demeter parting the night part 2

I am beginning to define the arm. The waist is still too high.

I have set the arm back under the stone and have begun defining the torso. As there is not a lot of width to the stone, she will have to be slightly twisted to fit.

I use an angle grinder to make cuts in the area where I want the stone removed. I knock out the strips with a hammer and chisel.

I grind the area that Demeter is holding back, coming down from her fingers to give the impression of cloth.

The waist and hip are better, and I'm getting the feeling I want, but Demeter's left arm is still too heavy and the armpit is far too low. It is also too close in around her head and needs to be carved back more.

I indicate with crayon the areas that need to be defined, and mark the folds of Demeter's clothing. I am also further refining the body, arms and face of Demeter, though she's still pretty chunky.

I use an angle grinder to carve the lines that I indicated with crayon, to define Demeter's body and the cloth-like area that represents the night.

The back of the left hand is too meaty and needs to be ground down more. I need to define the inside line of the arm. This, I will do with an angle grinder down the arm and a die grinder around the hand.

The right hand with crayon marks. A series of lines is a reminder that an area (in this case the back of the hand) is too high and needs to be ground down more. I carve the fingers and the hand, but I don't cut behind and define it yet. I may want to carve it further back. I'll live with it first.

I use a Makita die grinder with a diamond bit to shape the fingers, taking care to carve around the forms I want that are marked by black crayon.

I am beginning to block out the fingers of the right hand.

I finish the sculpture just to the edge of the raw stone, to emphasize the emerging form of Demeter and cloth-like folds representing the night she has parted. I use photos of myself, taken by Don, to further refine the arms, face and body. A pistol grip sander with 220 grit cloth is used to smooth out and subtly shape the drapery. I hand sand the entire carved surface with 80 grit paper. Handsanding gives a subtly that powertools can't match.

Demeter has been powerwashed to remove dust from the pores of the sculpture. Powerwashing can help me to see areas that need a little more work.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

More finishing, Yew Dell opening

I go over various areas smoothing some, detailing others.

I use a rake tool to finish off the bottom of the womans shoe.

Making a nice edge on the mans sleeve.

I use a brush and orange oil to smooth areas of the mans hand.

A view of the almost completed sculpture.

And from another angle.

Another angle

Yet another angle. I like to make a sculpture interesting from all sides.

This Friday the garden sculpture show opened at Yew Dell Gardens in Crestwood. We had a nice crowd and good sales. By the end of the weekend there were over $20,000.00 in sales and the show will be up until August 1st.

The show has a wide range of styles and mediums. This metal sculpture is by Tom Butsch.

"Don's Limestone sculpture entitled "Nexus"

Glass and steel cattails entitled "Glasstails" by Brian Holden and Paul Nelson.

This is a limestone and bronze sculpture by Wyatt Gragg entitled "Garden Doves".

This is one of my sculptures in the show. She is Demeter from Greek myth, parting the night searching for her daughter Persephone. This piece sold at the opening. Other people whose work has sold are - Caren Cunningham (who sold all her work), David Caudill, Wyatt Gragg, Al Nelson, John McCarthy, Paul Nelson and Bryan Holden, Brian Newton and Karen Terhune.
But as the show will be up for another 2 months I'm sure there will be lots more sales.

Here is something a little different, a black fly with white eyes.

One of my favorite native wildflowers, Indian Pink.