Sunday, August 28, 2011

and now for something completely different....

The crane truck needed some work - actually a lot of work. It is parked right next to Daphne, so I thought I'd work on a water clay piece in the meantime. It's been years since I've worked in water clay; it will be fun to try it again.

This is the maquette that I will be basing the sculpture on. I did this years ago and set it aside. It has issues - such as the head is too big - which I will work out in the water clay.

Water clay is worked without internal armatures, so various props are used to keep the clay from slumping. I use clay supports from fairly stiff clay under the arms to hold them in position. I am also using skewers through the leg and both arms. This is a technique I saw Beth Stichter use when she demonstrated her technique at U of L.

I am using the tip of a skewer to draw on musculature, which I will then carve back.

Fairly soon into making the piece, I hollow it. I do this when I have the piece basically roughed out and will be making no major changes in movement, but before I do final detail. I slice the section off with a wire cutoff tool. I will hollow out the entire piece all the way to the bottom, making the clay about 3/8" thick. The piece will be fired in the kiln and, if it is not hollowed, air pockets deep within the clay will cause the piece to explode.

I remove clay with a loop tool.

I score the clay. I also hollow and score the edge of the piece that I cut off.

I stuff the interior with moist paper towels. I will then apply slip to this scored surface, as well as to the section I cut off, and carefully reattach the section using bits of clay to smooth the joined area.

The piece is almost finished, still needing some definition.

This is the back view. You can see how I pulled the leg over for added movement. That's Don's Tree of Life Commission in the background. That commission will be going into Cave Hill Cemetery. Can't wait to see it finished and installed.

I took this pic when we were out on the river. I'm not sure what the little red things are - tiny ladybugs? The flowers are very small, maybe 1/2" across. I didn't even see these bugs until I had the photo on the computer and enlarged it.

This is a spider's shed exoskeleton floating on water.

Don and I went out exploring with his friend Eddie and his girlfriend Loretta. Here they go out across a log...

I found a culvert and crawled inside to see if I could get an interesting photo....

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Daphne progresses, a trip on the river....

I have been working out some of the interior areas on Daphne, opening up areas, working out drill holes, etc.

I opened up Daphne with a hammer drill, often drilling several holes next to each other. In order to open the area between the holes, I used the air hammer and a long flat chisel called a channeling tool. In the lower part of the photo, there is a vertical line. That is where I used the channeling tool but didn't take it all the way to the end of the holes. As I can reach this area from the side, I will use a small die grinder to open up this area. The air hammer has some percussion and I run the risk of cracking the stone if I use it now. The die grinder is much safer at this point.

I have undercut the leaves, making more of a shadow between them and the base of the sculpture.

I periodically stand back from the piece and look for areas I am not happy with. The branch above had a stiff feel to it, as it was too straight up and down . I have crayoned in an area that I think I will remove, to give it more movement and life.

These are the marks from the hammer drill. I will work these out as best I can. Some of the areas are pretty tight and difficult to get a tool in.

This is the right hand preformed. I mark the areas I need to leave high (knuckles and bones) and shade areas that need to be carved away.

These are a couple of drill holes. I crayon how I plan to carve away the stone to transition to these holes smoothly so they no longer read as drill holes.

I have worked various areas around the leaves to add depth and movement. Having the piece outside helps a great deal in seeing sections that need work. As the sun moves across the sculpture, different areas come into the light and trouble areas become obvious.

Our neighbor took his boat out the other day and invited Don and me to come along. We were headed to the Ohio River when this deer decided she wanted to swim across the creek.

We saw this immature bald eagle overlooking the river.

A tiny flower, I am unsure of the species.

It took many photos to catch the rainbow hues of this spider web....

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Daphne continues

It was nice to get back to Daphne. It has been a long time since I've worked on her and it was obvious which areas needed work.... The branches were far too rough, so I smoothed them using a pistol grip sander with 120 grit sandpaper. The branch on the top right has been sanded and is smooth. The next branch over has not been sanded and shows the marks from the die grinder which I used to carve them...

In order for the sculpture to be so airy, I had to use a large hammerdrill with an 18" bit. There are some areas where the drill holes are still apparent, as in this photo. Where I can, I will work these out.

The same area, after using a large die grinder. I may not take out all of the drill marks, but will blend what is there into the sculpture.

This is the back of the sculpture. I have been working out areas of roughness and chisel marks. Overall I am happy with the appearance, as it has the swirling aspect I was going for. I will probably do some deep carving around the bottom of the leaves to darken the shadows.

I crayon the area beneath the leaves where I feel extra depth is needed.

This is an area that I felt was too heavy and needed to be split into two branches. I marked the area with black crayon, stood back to check how it would look and then opened the area with a die grinder.

I am doing the same thing on the other side of the sculpture. The area that I am opening is just below the hand. Look closely for the black crayon marks.

I have sanded over Daphne's body and face. I still need to finish out details - eyes, lips, etc.

I have cut more shadows beneath the lowest leaves. I may add some deep shadows in the leafy section in the lower part of the sculpture. There is an area in the center that lacks definition .

This is probably my favorite view - I like the way she is twisting -though it's hard to read her form against the building in this photo.

I was going to the truck, leaving for the day, and there was this fawn just standing there. It stood still for a while, not sure what to do, so I was able to get this pic. It wasn't long before it turned and ran away.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Daphne up next

Remember Daphne from a post long, long ago? Well, she's back and now I'm going to finish her.
We had to move her next to the studio for safety when we were building the new stone studio
and she was too close to the studio wall for me to work on her effectively. We have now moved her away from the studio so I can work all around her. She also needed to be where I could have sunlight on her. One of the things I want to do in this sculpture is that when sun is on one side of the sculpture I want some of that light to fill and brighten the other, dark side. The only way to do this is to work on her in the sun so that I can open areas or angle areas to reflect the light into dark areas of the sculpture.
It's mainly detail work I need to do to finish her (fingernails, leaves -lots of leaves) but I may do some heavier carving on areas that I think need it.

And here is Daphne from the side. I may add some deep shadows between the base and the leaves.
And, I bought a kiln. Actually I bought it a year ago and now I will be able to bend my mind to doing water clay pieces. This is a somewhat large kiln so I will be able to do good size sculptures in clay....
One of the realities of country life is either well water or cistern water. We live in an area that is not good for well water so we have a cistern. Another reality of country living is that cisterns need to be cleaned once in a while. I didn't clean it out, Don and a neighbor did, but I went down to see if there were any interesting shots for the camera. I thought this looked pretty cool. The bucket was for climbing in and climbing out.
One of the many rabbits that inhabit the area...