Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Plaster remnants, wolf and marble work and a Daniel Boone Sculpture by Raymond Graf

 This almost looks like a snow scene with trees (it does to me, could be my imagination) this is plaster in a flexible bowl.  This is from the plaster castings I have made which I can't show you --- yet.

As I have finished with all the castings I can't show you, I decided to get back into some stone carving.  There are a couple of pieces I have been looking at for some time, considering which areas need more work. There are two pieces I decided to work on at the same time, bouncing back and forth between the two.  This helps me to stay fresh on each piece.  I work until I am tired of it or uncertain what to do next and then I switch over to the other piece until I am tired of that one.

 This piece is entitled "Lifting the Veil" and is carved from Sylacauga white marble.  I started it ove a year ago and set it aside.  I marked on it with a black china marker a long time ago and have been looking at it every day considering whether I want to make those cuts.  I have decided to go ahead and carve the areas that need to be refined - the arm is too low, the face is too wide, the back is undefined, the neck is too heavy....
 Some of the work I have done, still more to do...The work was done with a Bosch angle grinder with a 4 inch diamond wheel.  I used a die grinder with mounted stone under the neck.
 This is the other piece I an working on. I have looked and looked at this piece and was unhappy with the mother wolf's face and basin the pups were playing in.  I got tired of the mess from water collecting in it and having to clean it out, so, I removed one side so it will drain.  The title of the sculpture is "The Return of the Wolves".  The left side of the piece is rough and represents the wild, the right side is smooth and polished and represents civilization.  The sculpture represents the downfall of man and return of the wolves.  The pups happily play in the broken vessel, not knowing to fear man, but the mother remembers and is wary...
 I have smoothed the basin, still don't know exactly what I'm going to do here, leave it as is or carve it further.
 This is the wolfs face before I started reworking it.  The middle and back muzzle are too wide and make the nose look too narrow.  I am way off the form around the cheek bones.  The eyes are also too far foward and need to be set further back into the skull.  The nose is also too pointed, I will cut back the lips to make it more squared off.
 I have lost the nostrils, but I'll just just use a die-grinder to put them back in.  The face is much improved but it is still heavy on the wolf's left.  I will work on getting that side correct then go on to putting the nostrils back in.  Stone is actually very forgiving.  I guess that's why I like it, you can always go back, even years later and do a little touch up on a piece. Most of the work was with the Bosch angle grinder and 4" diamond wheel.  I pushed back the eyes with a Makita die grinder with a mounted stone.
 I was up in Louisville to see the Louisville Clock by sculptor Barney Bright dedicated. The clock is a mechanical piece with figures moving at the the top in the grandstand while various Kemtucky characters (Belle of Louisville, Daniel Boone, etc.) race around the track. It was originally created in 1974 and was plagued with mechanical problems.  Adam Burkle, a local business man and a wind-up toy collector, spearheaded an effort to restore the clock and have it running again.  It took years and a lot of money to accomplish, but it's finally back and races are being run once again.  I have a video of the race that I will post to youtube soon.  It's a really cool piece and I'm glad it's back. 
This bronze sculpture of Daniel Boone is by Raymond Graf, a well known sculptor based in Louisville Kentucky.  It was commissioned by the Daniel Boone Festival Committee and has been installed at the Knox County Court House in Barbourville, Kentucky.  I took this photo while it was being finished, and has a lot of the marks of chasing.  But, in spite of being in this rough stage, the quality of the work is apparent.  The face is wonderfully expressive and there is a lot of attention to detail all through the piece.  It's really an outstanding sculpture.  Raymond Graf has done a great deal of portrait sculpture- Pee Wee Reese, Colonel Sanders and jockey Pat Day to name just a few.

Monday, August 20, 2012

I'm a semi-finalist for a public commission on Kodiak Island, Alaska, the Herons at the foundry and Don's Felicity installed

 I am a semi-finalist for a public art commission on Kodiak Island in Alaska.  Kodiak Island is home to the Kodiak Bear, the largest subspecies of Brown bear.  The image above is of the Grizzly bear mother and cubs at the playground at Norton Hospital Brownsboro.  It was one of the images I submitted in consideration for the commission as, if I am selected as a finalist, will propose a sculpture of a Kodiak bear or bears. Out of 259 entries I was one of 79 selected to go to the second round of jurying.  There are 6 locations designated for art with budgets ranging from $50,000.00 to $150,000.00 each. 
 Here are parts of the Heron (mixed in with some bears- kind of a theme in this post)in wax waiting to be gated and sprued.
 This is the inside of one of the molds of a potential job I can't show you yet.  Kind of has an ethereal, other wordly feel...
 Don's sculpture "Felicity" was installed as a monument for the Mefhoff's at Floydsberg Cemetery in Crestwood, KY.  Everett of Charlestown Monument loads the granite sculpture onto the truck.
 The sculpture arrives at the Cemetery.
 The granite base is installed first.
A hole must be drilled in the base so that the sculpture can be attached to it with a stainless steel pin.
 Epoxy is mixed and applied  to ensure the pin is securely attached to the base.
 The finished memorial.  Floydsburg Cemetery has a beautiful church and so has many weddings throughout the year.  Mr. and Mrs. Merhoff had expressed an interest in creating a monument that could double as a bench so that brides could have their photos taken in it.  I think "Felicity" will work well in that regard.
 Sadly, Mrs. Merhoff passed away before the monument could be realized.  She was a lovely lady.
A young spike buck near the studio.  With those gently twisting, unbranched antlers,  he looks alot like a Bongo, a forest dwelling African antelope.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

"Eve' and "Flight" have sold, molds on models and rain on Spanish Marble

 Good news, "Eve" a carving in Sylacauga Marble, has sold.  I took a picture of her outside on an overcast day.  I like the subtle light, it kind of gives her an ethereal feel.  But makes it hard to see the details clearly.
 This is a pic I took of her inside with light from a nearby window.  I'm going to look her over for any areas that need a bit more sanding before she departs for her new home.

The client buying Eve has spoken for "Flight" as well. This is the bronze at the foundry. 

 For the past few weeks I have been working on models for a prospective public art commission.  As nothing has been finalized yet, I am not showing the models.  But I have to do 3 sets of plaster casts so I can show one of the molds.  Who knows what's inside that plaster?
 A peek inside... doesn't tell you much, does it?
 Well, we finally had rain!  This is it falling on a block of Spanish Marble.  I know there's a joke here somewhere involving the rain in Spain, but I'm too tired to work it out.
 I was driving along and saw this and I just had to stop and take a picture.  It looks like a ribbon of molten bronze.
 These are Arrowhead plants that are in the Willow swamp just below the house.
 An arrowhead plant bloom.
This cute little car on Hwy 259 not far from the studio.