Thursday, March 17, 2011

Fish Lips Stone Carving

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Today Italy celebrates 150th year since its unification. Funny, for a place that has seen so much history and change and influence from so many other cultures over the centuries. For your thinking pleasure, here is an interesting link someone posted on Facebook about Italy and its relationship to the rest of Europe. Happy birthday, Italia!

But long before I knew anything about la bella Italia, I knew that I was part Irish, from my Grandpa Mike’s side of the family. So, I would like to share with you today one of my GREEN sculptures!

"Fish Lips"
Green Marble (Canada)
17" h x 6.5" w x 23.5" d
This particular marble from Canada has a blue-green color overall. It is a very hard marble, but as you can see from the way I carved her, she has many, many layers. She is unusual because generally stones that have layers like this have one direction in which the pattern is in straight lines. To get curves, one carves perpendicular to these lines, pushing back into them to make concentric circles. This stone has no such property. She has lovely zig zags from all directions. It simply amazes me.

So once again, when the stone has a complicated personality, I carve a relatively simple shape. I have been making the "fishlips" expression since I was a child. I do not know why it is so much fun, especially for young children. Since the "Lips Series" tends to be a bit different from my representational style, I wanted to use it to do some exploration. I hope you enjoy this stone sculpture.

Fish Lips has been sealed, like all of my other stones, and is a hard marble. It should be fine to display either indoors or out.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Old World Stone Carving Competition

Cari Amici (Dear Friends),

Mark your calendars for April 9 & 10, 2011, and join me and about a dozen other stone carving artists for the “L’arte Antica Old World Stone Carving Competition” at The Vineyard at Florence in central Texas. The vineyard and Villa Firenze will house an art exhibit and festival that includes live demonstrations off to one side of the hundreds of acres out there.

2011 April 9 & 10
Saturday: 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The Vineyard
8711 FM 487
Florence, Texas 76527
Contact: KAMBRAH GARLAND at 512-924-7447 or ph. 254.793.3363 E-mail:
The competition will be judged on Sunday afternoon at 2 pm by no less than 3 independent judges. Prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places will be given.

FREE to attend; see paintings, photography, sculpture, art shop (notecards and more)
Oh, and do not forget the wine tasting!

Continental Cut Stone in Florence, Texas, provided the stone. I went into their boneyard and chose a block of PINK limestone! for the mere fact that I have never carved this stone before.

The competition is purely informal. As long as we have two days worth of work to do on our stone, we benefit the viewing public. Since I do not have a portable air compressor, I will be using only hand and electric tools. I also wanted to remove a little bit of the weight of the stone after I came up with my idea for this rock.

Here are some images of the starting of my project. The first image shows my new stone (3rd from the left, in the foreground between the two marbles. A crème limestone block is seen on the far left). In the second image, I increased the contrast and darkened the image so that you can see how I scratched in the circle and vertical bar compositional shapes. Then I drew with pencil (and later crayon) the figure of the angel and the possible stairs on the right. The stairs are a tribute to Michelangelo.

In this last image, you may see the break in the stone beyond the horizontal line I drew. This was also another reason I wanted to start my work early – to get to know the stone. It is very different from the marbles and alabasters that I have carved before. This stone appears to have random air pockets with small orange crystalline forms. I will not work more on this project before the competition in part because the beginning stages are the most dramatic for people to view, but mostly because I have so many other things that require my attention right now. I will leave this stone carving as my play project during the arts weekend at the Vineyard.

I hope that you can make it out there – it is really amazing to see what my colleagues can create in two days! I will also have several 2-d and 3-d works in the art exhibit inside the Villa Firenze, as well as some of my popular art notecards. Join us?