Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Summer is Winding Down.

Things have been hectic here at times. I put two pieces into the Botanical Garden Show and I had two pieces in the Come Out and Play Show at Debbie Meyer's Farm.... Most of the work just prior to these events was focused on finishing the Mandan Indian Maiden. Even as I speak there are a few little things that need doing on her. Her black hair needs the final gloss applied, a bit of fringe needs to be positioned on her boot. I have designs on starting another Indian, perhaps a warrior, though I like the maidens better. I could start two and vacillate back and forth.

Going to " " will provide a look at some videos of the art and the grounds.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wood Spirits Waiting for Placement

This two Wood Spirits are waiting near the door to the Totten Center at the North Carolina Botanical Garden. Cathy Buck will find a place for them in the Garden for the up coming Garden Sculpture Show.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Wood Spirit for The Come Out and Play Show

This Wood Spirit has a special accommodation built into it's beard. Namely a small studio apartment for the likes of a Carolina Wren. It was created for Come Out and Play.
"Come Out and Play"is a wonderful gathering of artists and their works that is hosted by Debbie Meyer and Eric Brantley and Beckett.
The following link describes the show and the directions on how to get there:

Friday, August 21, 2009

She's Virtually Finished

She's virtually finished, at least in the big areas. What's left is filling in the small holes created by moving the pieces of fringe trying to get them to look their best. I just remembered there's a little fringe need on one of her boots. A dry brush with a little burnt umber will enhance the shadows. Her little "Medicine Bag"has a small stone from Mandan country.and big spiritual medicine in the form of some hair from a Dakota Buffalo. Both the stone and the buffalo hair were gifted to provide power to the piece. They are authentic and precious I'm grateful to be able to put them in her medicine bag. Such a bag would probably not be on display, but rather hidden beneath or in the clothing of the wearer. Since the contents would be spiritually very important to the individual and revealed to the subject after long hours of praying and fasting to a produce a near hallucinatory state. The little bits of animals or plants associated with this trance, make up the contents. The ladies , even the Indian culture, as ladies everywhere seem to carry, a little purse. These are usually beaded and may even have teeny bells, so they "jingle". This little bag is decorated with the Turtle motif.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Cowrie Shells Have Been Added

The belt has been completed, the cowrie shells have been added. Next more fringe and a "Medicine Bag" must be fabricated and set in place. The final touches will be with a paint brush. re-painting the areas marred by epoxy filler near the belt-line. and the brass tacks used to hang the cowrie shells. The very last finishing touches will add shadows where needed and gloss to her hair.

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Beading is Nearly Completed

The beading was done as short sections of different lengths to be inserted into the neck area as to give the impression of them being continuous strands encircling the neck. First small pieces of double stick tape was used to hold each individual strand in place. Plumber's epoxy was then pressed through the beads and in the neck area so as to secure the bead work in place. I used the 15 minute epoxy putty since I wasn't sure of how this would work out. Luckily, things went very well and there was time to spare for fine tuning the drape of the beads.
One of the most attractive aspects of the Mandan women was a genetic trait of patches of gray hair which commonly occurred throughout the population. The men didn't care for it so they colored it, Catlin says, the ladies took great pleasure in its look, I do too.
Adding some fringe and cowrie shells are the next steps in the adornment of this Maiden's dress.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Copper Leafing is Completed

The copper leaf has been added. The next step is the bead work around the neck, the treatment of the sleeves and the addition of a medicine bag or purse. I have a book on the way that will help me out with her dress and how to handle designs on her dress.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Buckskin Fringe is Added to Sleeves and Hem

An old chamois is used to make a fringe for her dress. Down her sleeves and around the hem of the dress. I'm not sure whether to glue it in place or use some very fine brass or copper brads. The glue could get a little messy, so I'm going to try the brad route first. Now the problem is finding the right brads.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

The Work Continues

Carving the area around the feet was a concern. I didn't want to take out too much wood or leave too much. I wanted her feet to be reasonably normal sized.
Using a draw-knife made smoothing the wood very easy. This will eliminate a lot of sanding later. I like to leave the tool marks on the pieces, rather than struggle trying to create a pristine smooth surface. Since the cedar is so soft and liable to splitting it's not worth the effort.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Carving Still in Progress

The work on the Mandan Maiden is going along slowly these days, what with a game or two of golf, fishing and putting in on the Lake interfering with the schedule. I'll be putting the window air-conditioner in so I can work on the "hot" days. I'm working on the flow of her hair and the hem of her dress. I'd like to have the log go natural from the hem down.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The Work Continues on the Mandan Maiden

It's been a while since I posted what was happening with the Indian Maiden I've been working on. I've been thinking of just partially finishing the hem of her skirt and her leggings and her calf, and the toe of her foot. Next step is to work out the fall of her hair which should drop way below her butt.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Trout Fishing in Stone Mountain

Fishing in Stone Mountain State Park on the 19th and the 20th was delightful, the weather was wonderful. The only problem was that the fish were not cooperating. It really is unusual for me not to catch a single fish after two days of fishing, but it happened. I was in the river by 10:00 AM on Tuesday and fished until 7:00 or so. I had a spaghetti dinner at the High Meadow Inn and hit the sack. It was a cool night with the room's heater going off after working for a few minutes. Next morning I was back at it trying not to be skunked as they say, but I was.
I left for home at about 3:00 and was unpacking the stuff by 7:00PM. All in all it was a beautiful couple of days.
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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

I don't have a picture to show it but the Mothers Day crepe recipe provided a wonderful start to the day. As an aside, the wedding tent that was set up in front of the Fearrington House blew down in yesterday's afternoon wind storm. I might be able to come up with a picture of the demolished tent later.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Beaver Shows Off His Work

This is one of the largest beaver felled trees I've seen. Actually the tree was felled by the Stone Mountain Park people so it wouldn't fall wherever it wanted. Though it wasn't far from being dropped by the beaver. My fishing reel gives some measure of diameter. The stream is just to the left. This is what I love to call the Magical Pool. Since it has been kind enough to supply trout at the nicest moments. Now you know why my carving has slowed, who can carve when there's fishing to be done.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Working on the neck and face

Refining the face and the neckline was a little difficult with the dryness of the wood fine detail is not going to be possible with this wood. A bit more hair off the top of her head seems to be in order. The neckline of the deerskin dress has been established and now flow of her hair should be decided on and blocked out so I don't get lost while carving. Constant demarcation of a center line is very helpful.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Refining Features

As I began to refine the maiden's face I discovered that this log was a little drier than usual and the wood was prone to splinter easily. When working around the mouth area I couldn't cut the lips without the wood flaking and chipping. I coated the area with some PEG 6000. Hopefully this will soak into the wood and help it stay together while being carved. The PEG (polyethylene glycol) will attract water from the atmosphere and keep the wood moist. It seemed to work on other problem carvings in the past.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The features and hair line are defined

Here the features of the face and the hair line are established and refined. I'm reminded here to draw and redraw a center line as I carve down into the wood. It's easy, as I carve, to lose perspective and come up with a lope-sided face. The part in the hair, the position of the nose, the balance of the eyes, all must be near right to make a pleasant face. Symmetry makes for beauty.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Begining an Indian Maiden

Rather than wait until I finished a piece, I'm going to post as it progresses, this will wind up backwards with the latest work appearing first at the top of the page. If I can figure out how to alter the sequence I will. George Catlin, went out West to chronicle the American Indians before they were lost. He had been painting Indians in the East before he followed in the foot steps of Lewis and Clark. One of the most attractive Indian maidens he paint was a Mandan girl named Mint. She was about fourteen when he painted her, she's older now. I fell in love with his painting of her from the first time I saw it. The most fascinating thing about her was a shock of white hair. The Mandan women had this genetic trait. She looks like a modern woman with that streak in her hair. This is a begining so I'm roughing out the general disposition of the head and trying to work out the length of her neck, the neckline of her dress. The upper portion of this sculpture will be realistic, but lower portion will be closer to the natural cedar log I started with.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Back to Work

It's been a while since I did some serious art work. Right after coming back from Costa Rica I got this horrendous head cold. Doing anything was not enjoyable so I didn't do very much except try to recover. It seemed as if everyone here in NC was nursing a cold.

The quickest way for me to get back to carving is to start by doing a Wood Spirit or two. These are in smallish logs and were drier than usual so they didn't hold details as well as I'd like. But, anyhow, let me introduce you to the latest additons to the group.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Zip Line in the Jungle

Well, here we are in Costa Rica ready to do what is known as the "Zip line". A cable stretched tight from tree to tree and a pulley connected to the cable and and to a harness which we wore. Then next thing you know is that you're flying through the canopy of the trees. I thought Jane would freak out being so high in the trees, but she didn't. The ride was fantastic, on certain runs you could really zoom, others were milder. The guys that run these rides were very sure of themselves and inspired a lot of confidence. We returned home on the 11th. I never saw so many birds, birds I thought I'd only see at sea, like the Frigate Bird. We saw Toucans, Macaws, all sorts of Hummingbirds, the place was alive with birds. I can certainly see why my friend Phil D comes down this way with his birding groups. I'm a little beat from the trip and resting up for a few days then I'm interested in doing some serious carving.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Heading to a Warmer Place.

The snow seen in the last posting has melted, that's a plus here in North Carolina, snow does not stay on the ground for long. Our destination is Costa Rica, on tour with O.A.T. We'll have about ten days of warmth. My bones can use some warm weather. It's about 85 degrees during the day in Costa Rica, but there seems to be regular shower activity going on. I'm not the traveler my wife is. She loves it. My deer will miss me I'm sure, well maybe not me , but they'll miss the corn I put out each morning and evening. My friend Phil said the birds down there are spectacular, his group counted 350 different species. I'm going to need a bird book. I tried to get a fly rod into my checked bag, but it was 2" too long and too good a rod to bend for fitting. Any how, there will be much to do on this trip.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snows come to North Carolina

Here we are in sunny North Carolina , it's the 20th of Jan '09. This looks like the North country. We have a new President. The ceremony in Washington was wonderful, President Obama is an inspiration to all.
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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

That Little Red Dress; Too Low, Too Short, and Too Tight

While taking a metal sculpture course with Kevin Eischner I was able to create some small wax female figures and cast them in bronze, using the lost wax process. The whole thing is a labor intense effort. This particular bronze sculpture explores that part of a man's brain where girls with long blond hair zoom around in red convertible sports cars.....and dreams still linger. The dress was modeled of strips of wax warmed just right to be workable and yet cool enough not slump like melting ice cream. This was not an easy task. A sort of balancing act with a hair dryer and some iced water was in play here. After the pouring process was completed the casting was freed from it's sand mold. The straps for the dress were made of flattened bronze brazing wire welded in place as the last step. After cleaning and smoothing the areas that needed some work. The surface was heated and an red oxide dye was brushed on and the color slowly built up. This was the easiest way to apply color without getting into the complex chemistry of patinas. Even the smaller figure studies I did were labor intensive. Each step in the process was an opportunity for a mistake. Although intense, there was tremendous gratification in casting these bronze pieces.