Finally, after months of grinding away with various bits and my handy Foredom, the piece is ready for installation in the great outdoors. It has been securely mounted on exterior grade plywood which has been primed and painted within an inch of its life. The final coat is a clear enamel on the copper itself to prevent oxidation. At first I was going to just let it do its natural thing, but then I realized that gradually all that engraving would disappear. That was when I decided to add color with the propane torch, and sure enough! Gradually, all the engraving disappeared and had to be redone.
In a few years the plants will be halfway or more up to the bottom of the installed piece. Right now it looks like it has been installed much too high, but hopefully, in a few years it will look just right. I'm told that the first year plants sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they leap. Right now we are heavily into sleep, because nothing is doing anything. There is a tiny tip of new growth, but that is it -- just enough for us to know they are still alive.
Earth, Water, Wind and Fire looks for all the world to be exactly where it was meant to be: and it is!
The next project is to carve the fence posts! I don't expect that to take near as long as this piece did. ;-)