For this stone sculpture automobile hood ornaments of the 1950’s inspired me. Sweeping shapes, long curves, deep shadows, all signature marks of the big automobile era. The same sweeping shapes, long curves and deep shadows are the lines of good sculptures. The name, Swan Noir, is almost as abstract as the shape. Though noir is French I expect everyone knows noir means black.
A breaching humpback whale is a solitary event but elicits a group gasp as the spectacular leap rises and rises and then falls with a tremendous splash. This whale is mounted at that moment of maximum rise and anticipated splash.
Simple, stylized, peachy orange colour, it cannot be mistaken as anything but a bird.
A recent spring trip to the Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge (Hilton Head) was inspiration for this wading bird sculpture. Combined with my first foray in to working with limestone it provided a perfect opportunity to create an “outdoor” sculpture to sit by our urban pond. Limestone can by placed outdoors. It requires no protection though applying a minute coating of wax every few years will avoid any staining from bird droppings. Even birds can be art critics.
Limestone can be worked with hammer and chisel or an electric grinder. I used both tools on this project, grinding away larger areas to create the relief and affecting the tree leaves with careful swipes of the grinding wheel. The detail such as the fine grasses and the beak, face and crown plume were created by hammer and chisel. The sculpture is 20” tall, 16” wide and 3” thick. The top is a natural break. The base is stacked marble slabs. The two pieces are assembled. Two steel pins in the limestone fit in to holes on the marble base.
Leap of Faith
The humpback breaks the surface of the water creating a foamy white base. The whale is white alabaster polished to a glossy finish that reveals the translucent stone. When backlit the breaching whale glows with energy. Place it in a sunny window and watch the sculpture change as the sun moves across the sky.
What a silly name for a sculpture! Well not if you look at it closely. This white alabaster stone is polished to a high finished and appears translucent. When backlit it glows warm. I was inspired to create this piece after watching my granddaughter play with her “stuffys”.
Whale and Calf
This stunning whale in black alabaster twinkles with the hi-lites of ambient light. The close positioning of the whale and calf demonstrate the dependency of mother and daughter in a challenging environment. The sculpture, mounted on brushed aluminum posts floats over the white ocean base..
I think I had more fun thinking up a name for this iguana sculpture than making it. This creamy soapstone finishes to a high shine easily, compared to other stone. The high shine contrasts well against the rough matte finish stone. The iguana is hugging the rock as iguanas do. His legs and tail wrapped in the crevices.
Two facts about this stone sculpture. The original block was so heavy I couldn’t lift it. Secondly the grey natural colour is polished to an extremely lustrous black. A black so bottomless you cannot see where the surface begins.
The bear and base are one continuous piece of stone. The visual separation is the bear is sanded and polished to reveal the black colour and base has a rough worked face.
What can be more imposing (threatening) than a larger muscular mass turning its face towards you? Searching you out. Silently holding you in its gaze. That is how you feel when this large shiny black bear paces in front of you. How can a stone feel threatening? It is a matter of shaping the stone so that you can see the muscle mass tense, exuding energy. The intensity of the piece is released, even transferred to you the observer, through its stare. Enjoy the shivers.
As this piece evolved from the grey block it reminded me of the old-fashioned chrome hood ornaments on those big cars of yesteryear. The sculpture has the sleek body of a bird, with subtle folded wings, leading the vehicle in to the future.
We hear so much about the imminent demise of polar bears due to the impact of global warming on their environment that I wanted to sculpt a polar bear that reflected their condition. Consequently Ice Flow shows a white alabaster bear confined to a tiny ice flow. The ragged edges symbolize their shrinking world. The bear, always vigilant, is on the hunt for food.
Loon and Chick
You can’t see from the photograph but this sculpture is from a unique material, black pearl soapstone. Close examination reveals many small “pearls” on the surface. This commission was for a woman who wanted a sculpture that reflected her husband’s Muskoka roots. What better than a loon?
You may heave heard the word stelae in the context of Mayan plinths. Well this stelae is circa 2016 and is a bas-relief of hummingbirds feeding. By hammer and chisel I removed the background and revealed the birds and flowers. Followed by a light sanding to remove tool marks. It can be placed outdoors or enjoyed indoors year round.