Cor Liberum

Three In-progress Pieces are Under Way by Mike McCarthy

After working on my Norton Hospital commission for so long, I have had a flood of ideas flowing from my brain that I almost can't control them. I have started on several new pieces and have a new commission that I also have been working on the moquette to show the client. I have set a rotation to work on the various pieces so that I keep sane!

The first is from a piece of Tortoise Shell Alabaster. This is a really cool piece of alabaster I have had for about a year. I started carving it soon after I got the rock, but it is a very fragile stone so I put it aside. Then the Norton Commission happened and I was swamped. Now that "Cor Liberum is done, I saw the stone sitting on the shelf and it started calling to me to say I know where I want to go. It has such great color and dimension, it was telling me all I had to do is cut some cool shapes in it and it would work. 

The second piece I am working on right now is a larger Indian Limestone piece that I am going to submit to the Josephine Sculpture Garden show. Josephine is a very cool sculpture garden in Frankfort, KY. The owner, Melanie VanHouten converted her family farm into a sculpture park. I really hope that my work is chosen to be part of the show as I think the garden is such an awesome deal. So, I am back to working on a piece I started about two months ago when I couldn't stand to not get the idea out of my head and committed to stone in at least a partial way. The cool thing was that because of finishing up "Cor Liberum" I had to set this piece aside. I needed that from a scheduling point of view, but the piece needed to sit and let me understand where it wanted to go. The stone and I have agreed on a direction and I think I have a better understanding. It is funny how stone communicates with you. Sometimes it says that it wants to go in a different direction. You just have to listen.

The third piece I am working on is a really different idea for me. Several years ago when I was working in steel, I started welding up an abstract sculpture of a sail boat. the plan was to have a piece of angle iron serve as the ship with a steel sail. I am really not doing any metal sculpture now. However, I have done a lot of cleaning to be able to have space to store all of the left over stone from "Cor Liberum" and I ran across this welded start.; Since I already had this welded piece, I thought, rather than throwing it out,  it would be nice to go ahead and finish it. I have decided to try a limestone sail to see if that works with the rest of the sculpture. Stay tuned to see how it goes.


A Change in Direction Continued by Mike McCarthy

in. Recent post, I talked about how sometimes you think you know where you are goi with a piece and then the stone says “nope”. Then there are times when, after you and the stone have agreed on a direction, friends give you ideas to consider for a different direction. On this piece, both occurred. 

This piece started its life as a part of the leg of my Norton commissions large figure. When standing the figure up, it broke off. After I stopped crying and really took a look at this piece, I liked the shap of the piece. With a little refinement, I thought I had something, but the stone disagreed.

In the first photo, you can see the original idea starting to take shape  however, the stone just kept fighting me. As I worked around the stone, certain views worked, then others would work, but the stone wouldn’t cooperate to look right as a whole. So, I finally listened.

the second photo shows where i got to after listening to the stone. By freeing up part of the front, it started to feel right. I moved on and finished carving and sanding. I decided to stain it and was contemplating how to base it.

I posted the third photo on Facebook and got an interesting suggestion. One of my friends suggested hanging the piece rather than basing it. I haven’t totally decided, but am leaning towards that. 

Check back and see how it turns out.  


Using Wood Stain on Indiana Limestone by Mike McCarthy

I have started experimenting with some of my limestone pieces. I have used wood stains to add a different feeling to the work. This is my second attempt. I don’t have a title for this one yet, and it is still in progress. I have to figure out how to base it. I have had many suggestions to hang it. But, that is beside the point. As you can see, this piece is not the standard color of Indiana limestone. I used a blue universal wood dye to add color. I think it is pretty cool. What I don’t know is how it will hold the color if it becomes an outdoor sculpture. That is one of the fun parts of being an artist is that you get to experiment to see what happens.