Archive for sculptures

Casting Cement to Make Concrete Sculptures

How to Sand Cast a Concrete Sculpture

concrete sculptures

I recently built a large sand pit in order to cast cement and make large concrete sculptures.  Although many of my concrete sculptures have been either hand-formed over a metal armature or cast from a form I made, I was anxious to try a new method.  The idea of casting in sand is not as new one, but it does give a sense of freedom and flexibility to a sculpture.

It has been a trial and error process, whereby I have had a few surprises.  I usually have an idea of a shape to start out with and then I wing it from there.  I love the texture of concrete and the addition of casting in sand gives an even added texture that reminds me of stone.  Since I don’t plan on chipping away at stone any time soon, this satisfies my desires for texture.

Creating Found Object Sculptures

industrial found objects

Found Object Sculptures

If you have been following along with my art career, you have certainly noticed that my path of creating art branches out in many directions.  Although my focus remains on both paintings and sculpture, my sculptures vary according to my choice of materials.

Since I have always had an interest in finding unusual items that might work well when worked into a sculpture, one of my main series of sculptures are made from found objects.  Most of the pieces I am drawn to are old metal, often auto parts or other industrial castoffs.  I’m a known junkyard junkie who will never turn down a trip to a junkyard or other similar place to find castoff items.  You just never know what unique part will be waiting right around the next corner or on the next trip in search of pieces for sculptures.

Creating Found Object Sculptures

It often takes years to find the right, compatible objects to make the sculpture that speaks to me.  I’m not interested in making “cute” critters but real art objects.  Many trips to the outdoor studio and lots of trial with items, along with many days thinking about the design, finally helps a sculpture come to life.  Sometimes some of the found objects just seem meant for each other in a short period of time.  But many times, pieces are partly paired together, waiting on my workbench until the last few pieces are “found’.

It’s a totally different thought process and working process from sculptures made from cement or plaster.  But once a sculpture comes together, it is like a birth of sorts.

Since I am not currently a welder, I often make cement bases with metal/ rebar extending from them to attach the sculpture.  I then, usually, wire and epoxy pieces firmly together.


Sandcasting Concrete Sculptures

Concrete sculpture

Concrete sculpture of a woman


Making Concrete Sculptures

For the past five years, I have been working with cement to create both large and small sculptures.  Most of these have been built around an armature that I make prior to adding cement.  Some of the smaller, concrete sculptures are cast from forms that I design, occasionally adding colored glass.

Recently I have been casting concrete in a sandpit that we made from a wood form and then filled with lots and lots of sand.  The forms are first designed on paper and then, after may sketches, are then dug out in wet sand.  There are challenges, as the sand is not a firm material to work with.  You must also be able to think well in regard to spatial relationships.  As you dig, you need to think about the positive and negative spaces, and what area is going to get filled with the concrete.

The first sandcast sculpture I attempted was a rather simple shape, just so I could get a feel for the process.  It actually turned out better than I had hoped for.  But there is a lot of pre-planning necessary to making a cement sculpture.  One of the most important things to consider is the weight of your piece and what type of base you will use.

Concrete Sculpture Process

Things that have to be considered when working with cement are: weather, temperature, humidity and when to uncast a piece.  I usually uncast a piece within 24 hours and then do most of the finish work before the sculpture is too hard to work with.  There is a 28 day period to consider, when the cement gets harder by the day until that point.

I have tons of sketches that I want to sandcast, and others that will be cast in forms or hand-formed.  There is something so organic and textural that continues to draw me back to the cement.

New Cement Sculptures

cement sculptures

I have been quite busy this summer creating some fun and fantastic new sculptures.  One of my favorites is title “All Dressed Up” which incorporates a large found metal object that I’ve had for over ten years.  This is one of the new sculptures that I am getting ready to show at a Sculpture show in North Carolina. But I think my all time favorite up to this time is a new Horse sculpture named “Blue”.  He was made using a metal armature that I fashioned from hardware cloth, wire, chicken wire, paint, sand and cement.

This past month, however, was filled with lots of time with three groups of grandkids who came to visit back-to-back.  We did lots of craft projects, went swimming, went rock collecting and more.  The last grandson who came to visit even made his very first cement sculpture … one of the Southpark characters, Eric.  So, it’s been a fun and busy few months.

Now I am getting some of the business stuff done for the upcoming show, making new handouts, etc.  Stay tuned and I’ll let you know how it went!

Found in Transition Art Exhibit Opening


Opening night for the Susquehanna Art Museum exhibit Found in Transition was last night, April 17, 2015.  The exhibit looked wonderful and I was honored to be included.  My art sculpture, Tall Dark Handsome, looked great at this museum venue.  The mix of art was exceptional.  Here are a few shots of the opening last night.


art sculpture


Small Figurative Sculptures

cement sculptures

The weather is now getting warm enough that I am starting to design some new figurative sculptures.  These are currently just designs in my head or small sketches in my notebook.  But I will start up the season with some more figurative pieces, horses and men.  One of my cement figures titled Tall Dark Handsome, will be in an exhibit that starts April 17th at the Susquehanna Art Museum in Harrisburg PA.  The exhibit which is titled Found in Transition will be showcased in the lobby of the new Museum building.

Planned for this month will be the start of a few big sculptures incorporating glass and sections of colored glass bottles.  I love bottle walls and may also incorporate the bottles into sections of low bottle wall fencing … perfect to add some fun, color and light to a garden area.