Silverpoint Drawings:

Animals

Botanical

Shells

People

Still Life

What is Silverpoint?

Sculptures in Stone:

Colorado Yule Marble

'Fencepost' Limestone

Minnesota Pipestone

New Mexico Sandstone

About Stone Carving

Watercolor Art:

Animals

Botanical

Other Art Projects:

Pointillism

Prismacolor

Graphite

Fine Metal

About the Stone Material and Carving Techniques:

My Interest in Colorado Yule Marble:

     

I am a self-taught stone sculptor. I began carving Colorado Yule marble as my first stone carvings and medium of choice for a sculpture in 1990. My desire to carve marble as opposed to other 'softer stone' such as soapstone or alabaster was a bold step that few sculpture artists are willing to try in their initial attempts in carving stone. Stone sculpture artists usually start out learning on softer stone because it is less expensive, easier to cut and less physically demanding on the body than cutting hard stone such as marble, granite, Indiana or Vermont limestone.

Typically stones of marble, granite, and some types of limestone are very dense and can be abusive on carving tools. Besides, larger pieces of stone are quite heavy to move around! I use mostly hand tools; a sculptor’s hammer, Italian Milani chisels and my own hand-made chisels, which I create myself by shaping and tempering the steel according to the type of tool I might need. I also use rasps, files, coarse & varying grades of wet/dry sandpaper to 600X (grit), Dremel® tools and occasionally a four inch diameter power grinding diamond saw during the rough-out process, prior to carving detail.
Carving stone in this ‘traditional’ manner is a lengthy process, but I find I become keenly attuned to the crystal structure of the stone and how it responds with light blows of my hammer and chisels. I prefer working stone in this way rather than the more aggressive pneumatic impact tools that many modern marble sculptors use.
My initial interest in sculpting marble began in the mid-1980s after seeing many of the Greek marbles in the Louvre museum during one of my visits with my twin sister in Paris, France. It wasn’t until my friend Peter V. Green and I took a trip to Marble, Colorado in 1989 when my interest in this beautiful stone intensified and I actually started carving Colorado Yule Marble. On another trip to Paris, my twin sister took me see the Italian Carrara marble sculptures in the Rodin museum which further inspired me.
I was introduced to using diamond power tools a couple of years later from eminent marble sculptor Doug Scott in Taos, New Mexico in 1992. Doug has unselfishly provided me with invaluable advice, ideas, tools, and assorted pieces of stone. It was my friend Doug Scott who guided my interest in experimenting with sculpting other types of stone such as travertine, sandstone, limestone, honey onyx, slate & granite. I’m still experimenting with these types of stone, though I prefer Colorado Yule Marble. Doug Scott is a great artist, friend and person of inspiration for me in my own sculpture.
See Doug’s beautiful art pieces at http://www.dougscottart.com/

What is Colorado Yule Marble?
Colorado Yule Marble is an exquisite white marble of 99.5% pure white calcite with some flecks of very hard, gold-color chert or gray chert - found only in the Yule Creek Valley, in the West Elk Mountains of Colorado near the small town of Marble, Colorado. Yule marble is actually quarried inside the mountain near the Crystal River at approximately 9,300 feet in altitude, (2,835 meters) above sea level. This marble was first discovered in 1873, and is still quarried today, actually inside the mountain, in contrast to most marble quarries, which are usually quarried in open pits and at much lower elevations. The localized geology created a marble that has a beautiful grain structure that gives it a smooth and a brilliant, luminous surface when cut and polished. These qualities are the reason why this marble was selected to clad the exterior of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, downtown Denver, Colorado as well as a variety of buildings throughout the U.S.A, in spite of being more expensive than other marble.
In my opinion and based on my experience in cutting stone with hammer & chisel, I will put Colorado Yule Marble in higher favor over Italian Carrara marble any day - for Yule marble’s crystal structure, beauty, luminosity and workability. As mentioned, Colorado Yule Marble is my preferred stone of choice for sculpting in stone. I have also cut a few other types of marble, granite, limestone, alabaster, slate as well as a variety of smaller stones using lapidary methods.

Kansas ‘Fencepost’ Limestone:
After I had been carving marble for about three years, I met another inspirational stone sculptor Pete ‘Fritz’ Felten of Hays, Kansas. Pete is also a self-taught stone sculptor, using Kansas ‘Fencepost’ Limestone since the 1960s. This type of limestone is a little softer to cut than marble. Kansas limestone has a gentle yellow color and often filled with sea shell fossils from when the central Kansas area was a sea bed millions of years ago. (Pete Felten has shown me that leaving the fossils intact in the sculpture really adds a cool and unique dimension to the design. I agree and feel lucky when I’m removing material and a little sea shell appears!) If possible, I try to leave the shell fossil in place. Early American Settlers in the 1800s and early 1900s quarried the limestone from the few rock outcroppings and dry lake beds in the vast prairies of Kansas to make fence posts since wood fence posts were a rare commodity in Kansas. Many contemporary artists now use the reclaimed, broken pieces of discarded limestone fence posts to create their sculpture works. You can see Pete’s sculptures at http://www.kansastravel.org/stonegallery.htm

New Mexico Sandstone:
This stone is red, tan or yellowish sandstone which is grainy and soft, easy to cut, but quite delicate, so not ideal for carving fine detail. On my visits to New Mexico, I sometimes find a unique piece of sandstone to use when I want a softer stone to work with.

Minnesota Pipestone:
Reddish & gray-black soft clay-like stone I use to make Native American ‘Medicine’ smoking pipes used in sacred ceremonies. I usually buy Minnesota Pipestone when I go to Denver Pow-Wow or trade when I visit the Black Hills of South Dakota. These ‘Medicine Pipes’ are made usually as a custom orders only, for friends. Sometimes I may also carve small animals out of this stone. It is very soft, fine-grained stone that finishes nicely with fine sandpaper. Most of my sculptures in this stone are quite small, since very large pieces are rare to find and , often have stress cracks and quite expensive.

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