Tuesday, December 9, 2014

The Lion nears completion.....

I have refined the Lion and deeped shadows around the legs. I have also begun refining different muscle groups in the legs and body.

As the forms are refined the Lion becomes less clunky and the forms of muscle and bone begin to emerge. Angle grinders and die grinders are used to create dark shadows.  The shadows help visually separate the Lion from the surrounding stone.

I have not finished the teeth at this point, at this point I have stopped working on the sculpture so I can come back to it "fresh".  I want to be sure I have the mouth right before I cut the teeth.  Once I cut the teeth in, that's it, I can't make any changes.  The Lion won't be going up to Alaska until next summer so I have time...

I think that I want more dark shadows around the tail and front legs to help those areas to "pop" visually.

This is what the Lion looks like after a rain - the top and bottom are dark and wet, the lion itself is dryI am glad to have the time to live with this sculpture to see what happens when it rains.  I wanted to do an emerging lion so that the carved features would be protected by the overhanging rock.  I have cut the top of the block so that it angles to the back of the stone away from the lion but I need to make a steeper cut as well as angle it toward the center as the water is running down the sides and with time this will prove unsightly. 

The Lion in the sun...

I have taken a mental vacation by working on another sculpture called "The Conversation" .  Hopefully this will cleanse my visual palate.

A Queen Annes Lace with fall color...

A pair of Mennonite girls run through a light rain to the store.

A drive through the colors of Autumn - obviously taken a while back...

Monday, October 13, 2014

Refining the Lion

The crayon marks show the areas I need to remove or define. The marks are for the view from the front.

How these marks look from each side the lions right...

The lions left.  I need to drop the eyes further back but I will establish the eyes from the front first.

The lion roughed in.

I want to angle the paw outward and make a note to myself on the stone.  This will entail not only angling out the lower leg, I will have to move the knee out as well by removing stone from inside the leg.

I begin defining areas while I am still a bit high and off the form of the final sculpture.  That way I can see if I like the way it looks before I commit to it.  By carving one area (head, leg, etc.) only partially then moving on to another area I can come back to the first with "fresh eyes" and be able to correct mistakes and make a better piece (hopefully).

At the top of the rock I have made a cut where I will angle the stone back so that rain water will drain to the back of the stone. 

This is the back view of the sculpture after I have cut down the top of the stone and beveled the top on both the side and back.  I will then cut down the other side of the sculpture.

This is a view of the top of the back of the sculpture.  I need to steepen the slope and bevel the edges.

This is Denny Crum competing in a fly casting competition at Cabela's Sporting Goods in Louisville KY.  The local chapter of the Trout Unlimited hosted the competition.  There are 5 hoops in the parking lot which you have to aim for, you have to cast to each one twice.  I was in the competition myself, though I have fished for years it had been a while since I have cast a lure so I was way off the targets...

This is a multicolored window covering as seen through a metal architects rule (triangular ruler).

Friday, September 12, 2014

The lion transforms

Yikes! Looks kind of horrible at this stage - everything is too big, though I have begun blocking in the basic planes of the face.  I began carving stone by the direct method - no model.  I always left lots of room around the form just in case.  As a result my sculptures always go through ugly duckly phases.

I am defining the neck and should as well as removing stone surrounding the lion.

By using a Roloc air sander with a 2"disc (36 grit) and die grinders for the eyes, nose etc. I begin to make the face more presentable.  At this point I am using the model any more but I have gone back to photographic reference from picture books I have had for years - Big Cats of the World, African Wildlife, etc. 
The American Lion was incredibly large and was in some ways like the Siberian Tiger so I have decided to split the difference and give the big cat a Lion face with a Tiger ruff.

A lot of stone still needs to be removed over the Lions head...

Taking off sections of stone meant pieces falling onto the head of the lion and possibly dinging something.  I put a lot of carpet sections across the head to protect it.  And there was an added bonus - it was really tiring to reach over my head with a ginder to cut off the stone, the carpet made a comfortable place to put my elblow as I cut.

The face is far ahead of the rest of the sculpture but it needs a great deal of the refinement.  The paws and body are just formed and still need a lot of work.

The left side of the muzzle and cheek are too far forward.  I have crayoned onto the muzzle ( a bit too much actually) but I will cut the muzzle down slowly with several passes.

The underside of the head was far too low and needs to be removed.  This is marked in crayon.  The marks on the leg show where the muscle is and where the leg bone is.

Crayon marks the leg bone and toes to be.

I make fairly hard cuts defining the leg muscles of the lion and are a bit exaggerated.  I make them a bit too much as I will be coming back with a pistol grip sander which will smooth out the form.  If the form was really close to right the sander would be too aggressive and I would lose the form I'm after.

A line down the middle of the face helps me to keep the face symmetrical.  I am just beginning to form the shoulders and paws.

Friday, August 15, 2014

American Lion continues

This is the rear end of the lion, it's well padded at this point.

The front view of the leg as well as being a little on the plump side, there is practically no definition of the muscles of the leg.  I crayon in the bony area of the leg first, I'll move on to the muscles later.

I am finishing the lion from the nose backward.  Everything in the body is too big - I always cut wide of the mark.  At this point I can push thing around a little bit - the form can be a bit higher or lower (by a couple inches or so).  By establishing the head first I have a starting point for finding the rest of the body.  I absolutely hate taking measurements from the model and finding them on the sculpture.  I much prefer to go by eye.  About this time I go back to the photographic reference I used to make the model. 

I define the left foreleg of the big cat.  I have actually moved it out, more in front than I had in the model - The more I lived with the model the more I felt that the left paw was too far under the lion and gave the lion a sense of being out of balance.

I draw the features of the lions face, I also begin forming the right foot.

After I mark the lines of the face I still cut wide - the chin is super wide, looks like she's smiling.

The lines are muscles the cross hatched areas are too high and need to be cut down.

Not only is the chin wide it is also too big over all.

more refinement of forms - I am also removing stone from over the lions head.  I am working over my head to do this and my arm gets worn out so I do as much as I can then go grind on a leg for a while.

more areas to be removed.

The lion is starting to come out..

The great thing about crayon is if I don't like it I can sand it off and try again.

More refined but it's got a ways to go.....

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Continuing the American Lion

I basically blocked in the profile of the lion (though everything is on the large side, I always cut wide of the mark coming back later to refine the work.  You can also see the shoulder is too high and needs to be cut down.

After measuring the model I mark where the leg is with a crayon.  I then cut the stone to be removed with a large angle grinder.  The "lines" on the stone are the cut marks left by the grinder.

I have removed some stone around the legs but cut wide and do not finish the legs.  I move to other areas that need to be refined such as the side of the head and neck.  I color these areas in with a black timber crayon.   The view for these areas vary - for the face and neck it is looking straight on at the face, the marking around the chest and foot is from side of the lion.

I use grinders to cut the left leg and paw in and create a lower ledge in the sculpture.  I like using the grinders to form the stone as they leave a clean surface, making the form easier to "read".

I usually start defining a sculpture's head before the rest of the sculpture.  This is how I started carving stone - I worked direct (no model) started at the nose and worked my way back into the stone.

I do continue to refine the rest of the body...

but the head remains the area I spend the most time on.

A view of the back corner before I have started forming the leg.  A lot of stone had to be removed around the shoulder and leg first.  A lot of it's on the ground.  Wheelbarrow is waiting to cart the chunks away. That is my least favorite part of this job, but necessary. 

The marks under the tail and over the foot show me what needs to be removed from this view.  The markings on the shoulder and cheek are areas that need to be removed from the view looking directly at the lions face.

The back leg area is really big- a lot needs to come off....

The tail area has been the least considered, but I'll get to it...

This is a huge number of caterpillars on a Morning Glory vine.