Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Discovery progress

Progress continues on the Discovery Muse.  This is a view of the foot from the end of the toes.

When I am finished carving the instep and shin of the foot  a crane will lower it onto it's side for finishing.

I slim down the left arm with an angle grinder.
a view from above, I have made the cut on the right, a line in black crayon shows where I will make the next cut in order to slim the wrist.

In addition to carving the wrist and arm, I also am refining the hand and fingers to make them more feminine.

I have started to round the top line of the arm.

The left arm comes into shape.

When I work on a large sculpture I often use photoshop to check accuracy of form.  Each photo is cropped to the same size, put side by side and a grid overlaid.  The photo above shows a mistake.  I didn't get far enough back and so have a great deal of distortion in the face.  This can be horrifying when working, you think you're doing fine then you take a photo and - Yikes!
Below is a photo in which I am far enough back - zoom about halfway out, fill the frame.  She's close but there are a few corrections to make.

I have been finishing up the face and hair...

coming around the back of the head...

and working into the night (photo Don Lawler)

Dew on the seed head of a grass stem.  The sun has dried one side.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Refining the foot of the Discovery Muse and a Video of me carving

As I refine the foot, I mark areas that need to be shaped. It is very flat on this side so I mark the areas that need to be cut down - the arch, the top of the foot, around the joint, toe, etc.  The cuts on the top the foot will bevel back.  The section on the arch needs to be removed.

I use an angle grinder to make cuts to the arch then come back with the grinder to cut across at the base of these cuts.  You can see here how different my carving style is from Don's.  It looks haphazard though I am careful to measure and refer to the model through sight-sizing. 

The bottom of the foot - I am just beginning to remove stone from the arch though I am still off the form.

The arch lightened, the whole foot is still very heavy on the bottom.  I will refine the top of the foot and toes first.  Once I am happy with how they look I will bring in the bottom.  Leaving things heavy on the backside is a kind of insurance - you can always recarve and set what you are working on a little bit further back.  Stone carving is not as unforgiving as people believe, you can make serious mistakes and still correct them if you work properly.

The ankle and leg and really heavy but I want to get the foot right first.  Then it will be obvious where the leg is.  This will help me to carve confidently and get down to form quickly.   In this photo I am marking where the foot slopes from the big toe to the pinky toe. Also the area around the side of foot and ankle.

Showing the work I've done on this side..

Another view....

I begin to carve the toes.  I take measurements from the foot as well as looking at where the toes should be to each other.  The second toe from the pinky looks a little high.  In fact all the toes look too long and thus, make the big toe look too short.

From this side you can see how thick the bottom of the foot and toes are. 
I am doing all of the carving of this sculpture with angle grinders.  I have taken a video of myself using a large angle grinder with a 10" diamond wheel and loaded it on youtube -

Looking down the length of the leg. It looks a bit broad and flat across the top of the foot.

I am refining the toes from the pinky over to the big toe.  There is too much difference between the pinky toe and the one next to it so I will cut down that toe.

Poke berries..

A little Fence Lizard "hanging out".

Sunday, August 25, 2013

carving the foot of the Discovery Muse

I began carving the details of the foot, this is the leg/foot blocked out by Don

I cut about 4" off the top of the leg to match the top line of the model. I have done this in two passes.  I am starting at the pinky side of the foot and will work over to the big toe.

A view from the left side of the foot of how I am cutting across the stone.  I have also cut an angle across the end of the foot where the toes will be.

I have removed the excess stone on top of the foot, now I am determining where the pinky toe is.  The side of the foot is still very thick and flat.  I have crayoned where I need to cut an angle from the top of the foot to the side.  I have also marked the line of the sole of the foot. I will use a larger angle grinder for big areas but I will have to use a 4 1/2" angle grinder for areas around the sole of the foot and toes.

You can compare to the above photo and see the areas of the foot I have removed.

I cut the toes with a large angle grinder making the shapes larger than they will ultimately be.

With the smaller angle grinder I cut corners off the little toe and begin shaping across the sole of the foot.

I have also started removing stone from around the heel.

It's starting to look foot-like

I have removed stone from around the heel and begin to cut into the arch.  I have marked where the toes will be.

A glass of water..

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Discovery becomes 2nd of 9 work on the left hand knee and refining the face

While this sculpture "Discovery" (destined for Orlando, Florida) was not at first intended to be a Muse (like the one at the Prairie Center for the Arts in Schaumburg IL) I have had several enquiries about commissioning a similar piece.  According to Greek myth there were 9 muses - so this Muse will be the 2nd of (hopefully) 9 Muses.  The idea of the piece is to sit in her and hand and she will "discover" you, then help you discover wonderful things within you.

Using a black lumber crayon, I shade in the area under the thumb that needs to be removed. This lets me see how it would look if that area was cut away.  If it isn't right I can sand it away and start over.  This technique lets me "carve" visually.  There is no worse feeling than cutting a section of stone, step back and realize oh no, it's too much.  It's a lesson you learn early - and it stays with you.

Even when I am certain of making a cut I still cut wide of the mark and angle away from the form, I can always cut again.

I begin to establish the other side of the left hand, cutting into the wrist to define the heal of the hand and cutting under the fingers.  I am still high off the form (knuckles to knobby, fingers thick) I will define and refine the forms later.

I begin to put in details like finger nails, etc. but the fingers are very thick and stumpy.  There is still plenty of stone to push things around though.  I need to tuck the fingers under each other and taper them more.

A view from the end.  In the model the index finger is a little bit lower than the second finger, I have decided to raise the index finger, feel it will have a better feel....

I refine areas of the hand and fingers

I use the model to carve the left hand but I start looking at reference materials again.  Anatomy books are a great help as they help me to see where the bony structures are. 

Here I am correcting a mistake I made in the model of the left hand.  In the model the thumb was a couple of inches lower than the finger.  As the sculpture will be earthwork and sod a section of flat stone would be visible.  I have raised the thumb to close the gap.

The left hand from the end...

and from the side, still much more work to go.

I continue work on the knee.  I draw a line, below it is a section of stone that needs to be removed.  If you look in the background you can see Don working on his latest sculpture.

I have removed the stone with an angle grinder with a 10" diamond wheel.

I then use a 4-1/2" angle grinder to smooth the area I just cut.   I mark in crayon an area that needs to be carved down.

This is how I smooth out an area with an angle grinder, I shave the stone - to the left you can see the stone is somewhat smooth - to the top is stone that was roughly cut with the 10" angle grinder.  I normally wear gloves when I carve, I took them off to handle the camera.

I spent time refining the face - I measured carefully to the model and made the necessary changes. Her right eye was too wide and the right corner of her mouth was too low.  I made the corners of her mouth a bit too wide (you can always make a too wide mouth narrower, it's more difficult to make a too narrow mouth wide if you have established the corners very deep.  Stone carving is actually fairly forgiving.  If you have enough stone (work from the front to back and leave plenty in the back) you can always correct mistakes - just carve further back.  I like that her mouth is a little wide, it gives her a slight smile.

What is this strange scene?  Condensation has dripped from the roof onto Discovery's nose and caused these little balls of dust to form and roll down.

A sweet little fawn visits