Saturday, March 12, 2011

Stone Carving Pelican Lips

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Each day that I work to carve out the interior forms of my marble “Gymnast” I wonder if I am insane to have chosen to do this. However, the more the air enters the stone carving, the more I see that I made the right decision. It is slow going, and I can only appreciate that I have electric tools to speed it up a little. The difficulty has been in REACHING those inside areas.

While I work, my mind drifts onto thoughts of lips. I need to carve more on the “Gymnast”’s face, but I want to wait until the interior is more defined and I can focus on the face.

So, I will share with you part of my lips series in stone sculpture: “Pelican Lips” His dimensions are 12.5" h x 22" w x 6.5" d.

The stone is a brown marble from Canada, but the patterns in the stone look a lot like petrified wood. At the time that I carved this one, I had been seeing a lot of bird forms around me. I have watched pelicans (and their funny suicidal-looking hunting dives, straight down and head first into the water) along various coastlines throughout parts of my life. One side of the thick slab of stone in this sculpture shows a pair of human lips, while the other features a pair of pelicans. Bringing nature to humanity ;-)

If you enjoy this artwork and are interesting in purchasing him, please contact Don Elliott at the Franklin Barry Gallery / The Frame Shop
617 Massachusetts Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Tel. 317.822.8455

Layaway is accepted, too! Thank you for your interest in stone carving!

P.S. In this last image, you may see how, as a direct carver, I am drawing directly onto the stone. The stone tends to pale in color during the carving process, but once he is polished his true glory appears!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Awe in Stone Carving

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

“How did you do that?” is one question that seems to define the word “awe” for me. That is the one of the reasons I cannot seem to make a simple design in my sculpture – the attempt to make you (and me) feel awe. But I know that I also do it for the light. Mainly here, I am speaking about undercuts. I get frustrated enough because I am a slow producer, but then in the course of doing the work, I always seem to want to push myself to tackle a new challenge.

So, in my current marble carving project, the “Gymnast”, I thought creating a face that I can hardly reach was bad enough. Today, I took a masonry bit and drilled through the stone to create a space between the upper body and the vertical thighs. The “Gymnast” is in a tight pike position, with her toes pointed to the heavens.

I cannot tell you how wonderful it feels to drill from one end of the stone to the other and have the drill bit emerge on the other side … in the intended position! Twice even – once over the breasts but under the arms and the second hole was created below the breast line. This seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes it is easier to measure the angle of the drill when one is not right on top of it. It is helpful to have someone else around on occasion to act as an extra eye or hand, but it did not happen today and I wanted to get on with it.

After I created the first two holes, I then changed to one of my new favorite tools – a double cut carbide tip on a 6” shaft. As seen here in the photos, I used it to go in from the top between the arms to start to connect holes and open up the space a little bit. I tend to stand back from the piece often to check my proportions and line. At some point, I drew in a line for the bird’s eye view of the breasts, keeping the line further out than I really want to cut. I can refine the line later, but I will never be able to retrieve cut stone.

In this last image, I am looking over the left shoulder of the “Gymnast” and down into the small opening of her folded up form. Really, what was I thinking?

My goal was to finish this marble sculpture before I returned to Italy in May, but I would be surprised if I can pull that off. Still, it is good to have goals.