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

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Carving continues on the left hand, rain drives me inside to work on the head and a rabbit nurses her young

I have begun defining the individual fingers of the left hand.  I crayon in areas under the hand to check if I need to remove the stone.  I also remove stone from the area beneath the hand.
I haven't cut the ends of the fingers as I need position them correctly where they terminate.  Also it gives me some latitude in the position of the fingers, I can raise or lower them - a little.  So right now they look stumpy and fat.  In the background you can see a puff of dust from Don.  He has finished blocking the stone blocks for me and has returned to his own carving.
Here he is through the door of the studio working on his sculpture entitled "Ecliptic"
I begin to form the fingers beginning with the pinky.  I think I will change the index finger - in the model is in lower than the second finger, I think I will take it a little above.  I will leave stone under the index finger if I change my mind again.

I start defining the wrist as well as the heel of the hand.
I begin shaping the individual fingers, indicating the joints. I will make them a bit exaggerated coming back later to smooth the form.
We have a bit of rain so I'm back inside working on the head of the piece.  I have started forming the ear and working down the hair on top of the head as well as grinding down the cheek which is a bit full.
The rain clears and I'm back to work on the hand defining another finger.
Now I have started on the index finger...
A view from above....
This is foot portion of the sculpture that is waiting on me.  But I will get further along on the arm then do some work on the knee before I jump here.
Speaking of jump, here is a rabbit, Actually and obviously it is a mother.  She was in the road to the studio nursing her young so I stopped so as not to disturb her.  Her baby looks comfortable lying on it's back as it dines.....

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Carving the left hand of discovery and a buttery moon

Don has blocked the left hand and now I begin carving the form.  I start by establishing the thumb by removing the stone above it.  I have then made cuts to establish the index finger.

I have cut stone from the index finger though it is still thicker than it will finally be.

I then go to the other side of the hand to begin establishing the fingers. First I mark the top corner of the outside of the hand.  I will remove the stone across the area from top to bottom, essentially beveling it.

Meanwhile, Don grinds on the foot of "Discovery".

After beveling the top edge of the hand I make cuts to get down to the top of the pinky finger.

Here is the side view with some of the stone removed.

I use a timber crayon to mark where the fingers are so I can confidently remove stone.

By comparing to the model I can tell areas of the stone that need to be removed - one can see that the index finger of the stone is almost completely dark while the index finger of the model has a good deal of light coming down the side of it.  This means I need to bevel the stone so that the light and shadow match the model.

This stone will be the knee of the piece.  Don is cutting the back flat.

I cut down the fingers of the hand.  I am concentrating on the hand, I will carve the wrist and arm later.

At this point I have not rounded the ends of the fingers.  The fingers should overlap slightly and I will do that ( the fingers will have to angle in slightly) when I am sure of their position horizontally.

I was meltling butter in a pan and thought it looked at bit like the moon...