If a carving is placed outside, it should NOT be placed directly on the ground, black top, concrete, stones, etc. This allows moisture to collect under the carving and soften the wood and wick up moisture. The wood-eating bugs like these moist environments and will eventually work their way through the carving. I place 1 ½ to 2 inch thick X 6 inch pieces of treated lumber, bricks or paving bricks, or scrap pieces of angle iron or square stock steel under the carving at various places so that it sits securely. This creates an air space under the carving as long as that area is kept free of mowed grass, leaves or other debris. Please make sure the carving is sitting solid and will not tip over and cause injury.
The carving can be coated every one to three years depending on how harsh the weather has been. Sunlight is usually the hardest on a carving. I use an oil base “natural oak” color on all my carvings. It has a little color mixed into it and brings out the wood grain. A water based stain or oil base stain for log, wood siding, or decking will work fine. Before you coat the carving you can fill any cracks with a clear silicone caulk.
If a painted sculpture needs to be repaired, here are the steps I take. For example, on a black bear I will fill any cracks with a black latex silicone caulk and then smooth it out with my finger and or a popsicle stick, trying to recreate a smoothness or perhaps a texture to match the fur. After the caulk dries, I use outdoor acrylic craft paint to match the color. If the animal is tan or brown use a tan or brown latex silicone caulk to fill any cracks and then the matching outdoor acrylic paint. I have bought these paints at Walmart, Michaels, and A.C. Moore. They usually sell various plastic bottle sizes.