Louisville artist

The "Hotel Series" is Complete by Mike McCarthy

“My Heart” - Part of the “Hotel Series” - Alabaster

“My Heart” - Part of the “Hotel Series” - Alabaster

So what do you do when you are stuck out of town for work? More importantly, when you are there for several weeks at a time? Do you watch a lot of movies, go for walks, workout at the hotel pool or gym? All of those are fine ideas. But what I think is a better one is to bring along a piece of stone and do a little carving! That’s right, I said bring along a piece of stone and carve away.

“From the Beginning to the End” - Part of the “Hotel Series” - Indiana Limestone

“From the Beginning to the End” - Part of the “Hotel Series” - Indiana Limestone

“Masquerade” - Part of the “Hotel Series” - Soapstone

“Masquerade” - Part of the “Hotel Series” - Soapstone

This does take a little planning and thought. For instance, stone is heavy. So, the piece you choose to bring along has to be a small enough piece that it will fit in your luggage and not make it weigh too much. You also need tools. The only tools I think travel well, don’t make a mess, and don’t make too much noise are rasps. However, rasps can not be carried on a plane, so you have to check a bag. Be prepared to have your luggage checked by the TSA. I typically get one of their love notes in my luggage saying they have inspected the contents. Finally, you have to prepare the room you are going to work so you don’t create a mess for the cleaning staff. I typically use a towel laid out that I can then shake into a garbage bag or can.

Thought it all through? Good, you are all set. Think of the great dedicated carving time you could have when you are stuck in a town where you don’t really want to be. Bring along a stone and some tools and create some beautiful art!

The three photos in this article are all pieces I worked on over the last month while out of town for an installation. I only did the rough out then brought them back for the final sanding, polishing and basing. Bringing along some stone is a great way for me to not hate having to travel for work.

See My Indiana Limestone Vessel Carved from Beginning to End by Mike McCarthy

Over the last few weeks, I have taken a little time away from a larger project to carve a smaller piece. I always have several pieces going at the same time, especially when I am working on a larger work. In the video below, I have recorded a time lapse of the carving of this sculpture from its start as a rough block, all the way to the finish process. You will see that the most time spent is the sanding. It is the part that makes this piece of limestone able to hold the gloss sheen that the sealer adds. I also used linseed oil on this piece to give it some color. Watch the video and let me know what you think.

My First Video Over 300 Views and My Fastest to 100 Views by Mike McCarthy

On July 29th, I posted that I had hit a milestone on my YouTube site. I had posted 30 videos and one of them was at 221 views. Since then, I have posted a few more videos and have hit another milestone on views.

My most popular video is still the video on splitting limestone with feathers and wedges. It is a time-lapse video that shows me splitting the off-fall from one of my birds for "Cor Liberum". I know many folks who post on YouTube would laugh at being happy about getting a video over the 300 mark in views, but everyone has to start somewhere. This video currently has 328 views.

The other cool thing is that my videos are increasing in views faster now than they previously had. It is partly that I have been sharing them on this blog, but there must be something more to it than that. For example, the splitting limestone video was posted on August 20, 2017. My latest video, "Carving an Indiana Limestone Vessel" was posted August 28, 2018, and has already reached 108 views. While the splitting limestone does far exceed the views of the vessel video has received almost 1/3 the views in 6 days. This one is definitely an anomaly as many of my videos have not even come close to 100 views. But the cool thing is that all of the videos are steady increasing in views. So, if you like to see the way stone is worked and carved, subscribe to my channel https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCLZ4k8l6V2l_otGckDxxQ5A and watch my videos!

Carving a Limestone Vessel by Mike McCarthy

I started carving an Indiana Limestone vessel a few months ago. However, I have been so busy with other projects that I have not been able to get back to it. The stone is a cut off from my Norton commission, "Cor Liberum". I am happy to say that the off-fall from that project has provided a steady source of stone for a while.

This piece will be similar to the piece I carved about a year ago, "Peace Lilly". I will be sanding and polishing this piece to at least 400 grit paper and then putting a sealer on it. I will also add a wax finish to the piece. It will give a rich color to the piece that is not typical of limestone. However, it is a very warm and pleasing finish for indoor pieces.

“If The Spirit Is Willing” is Installed at Josephine Sculpture Park by Mike McCarthy

Mark Hendren loading my sculpture. 

Mark Hendren loading my sculpture. 

All things happen for a reason. Last year at the outdoor sculpture show at Hidden Hill Nursery and Sculpture Garden two of my three pieces sold. That is a great show, but I was a little disappointed because I thought the one that did not sell was the strongest piece. “If the Spirit is Willing” was the sculpture that did not sell. 

Fast forward a year. I decided to enter “If the Spirit is Willing” into a juried show at Josephine Sculpture Park in Frankfort, KY. There were minimum size requirements for this show so that limited the entries. However, of the 20 entries, my sculpture was one of eight selected. That is always a great feeling to get that notice that your work has been accepted.  

So on Thursday I met Karen Terhune over where my sculpture was, picked her up and brought her home  then my next door neighbor, Mark Hendren loaded it on his trailer and I drove it out to the park.

The steel piece sitting behind my sculpture will be moved. 

The steel piece sitting behind my sculpture will be moved. 

I met the owner of the park, Melanie VanHouten at about 8:45. We set a limestone base and then the real fun began. We got to play with a big crane! I think cranes are an amazing engineering feat. The operator was incredible. He boomed over and dropped the hook right where I needed it. He lifter and set the dry fit with the smoothest touch I have seen. Lifted so I could get the safety out and reset in no time. Even though he set it so fast, nothing seemed rushed. It was great. 

So, if you are in Frankfort, KY, come out and see “If the Spirit is Willing” and the rest of the sculpture at Josephine Sculpture Park.

I Posted My 30th Video on YouTube by Mike McCarthy

For the more tech savvy folks in the cloud, posting 35 videos may seem like small potatoes, but some of you will understand that this is quite the accomplishment. It has taken several years to get to get to this mark. Although, over the last month, I have posted 21 of the 35, so I am on a roll.

I find it fascinating that some people enjoy seeing the carving process as much as I do. Now, keep in mind that when I say some people, I really mean some!! I have a grand total of 1 subscriber and the most views of one of my videos currently sits at 221 views. (I am sure a lot of them are my own views.). All that aside, I really enjoy doing them as I love seeing the progression of a sculpture. My favorite type is the time-lapse. You can really see the progression of a day of carving, something you don't really experience as you are actually carving. So, take a look at the attached video, this is number 35!

Progress on the Fountain From a Different View by Mike McCarthy

I have put together another view of the progress of my commissioned Indiana Limestone fountain. I typically do both a GoPro video as well as a time lapse video from a set point. They give two totally different experiences. In my last post, I shared a GoPro of this same project. This video is from the set camera. As you will see, the face started out with a stolen left eye and no mouth. Over the night of carving, she started to get a little definition into her eye area and started forming a mouth.

Ready to Get a Little Dizzy? Fast Motion Carving Video by Mike McCarthy

I am working on a new commission. This one is an Indiana Limestone fountain that will be a similar theme as a bench this client bought from me a few years back. This is the first fountain I have done, so it will be interesting. This video shows about 6 hours of work shortened down to a little over 4 minutes. If you get motion sickness, it might give you a bit of that. I took this with a GoPro camera on my head. I think it is pretty fun to see all of the motion!