patching and filling

my hands are all coated with gray epoxy as the sun sets on another glorious day in the south, blue skies and that fall smell in the air, with the maples and oaks at their best.  it might be muted compared to the north, but a red tree is still a red tree, and still stops you in your tracks against a blue sky.

i finished up the sanding my dolphin yesterday evening, that’s i guess three days of sanding, and 8 of 10 squares of coarse aluminum oxide sandpaper, all those waves sanded using the tip of a finger.  breaks the sandpaper up into shreds in no time at all.

today i donned the gloves and mixed up equal amounts of part a and part b of my epoxy clay, a tablespoonful of each.  i was very careful to wipe the spoon free of a when i went dipping into a so i wouldn’t come back to a set up part a.  from what i read it’s important to keep clean for that part.  the stuff i got must be sort of aged, because it was hard to dig out, and difficult to work.  but i make bread, and it’s not a problem to work and fold and press and turn a small handful of stiff dough until it’s white rather than two shades of gray.

and then i stood out there with a ball of epoxy in my left hand, a cup of water cradled in my left elbow, smearing on bits of clay with a wet thumb or forefinger.  i had to use a lot of pressure to smooth, or i guess they call it feather, the edges down.  there’s going to be a lot of sanding to do when it’s set up.  i have a new found respect for the builders of the sculpture i’m working on, because they did a great job of making it smooth and not bumpy.

the great rent.  see how badly feathered the edges are?

my first efforts are huge hillocks.  and the stuff started to get stiffer as i started to work on the body.  i guess i should have done that first, and i guess i should have wetted the clay more before putting it on.  the second dolphin will benefit from my experience, which is maily a repeat of my experience with the turtles.  that’s why im’ an artist rather than a craftsman.  because i’m always forgetting how to do what i’m trying to do and have to continuously rediscover my ground, and if i were a craftsman i would know how to do it and would practice that until i got it perfect.  it sometimes happens that i get a perfect loaf of bread out of the oven.  but there are no two alike, and the quality varies drastically.

and i got tired as the clay got stiffer.  this is the secondary impact crack on the back, and i tried to smear plates of putty around, but ended up with pretty well-defined strips placed far from each other and half-heartedly smoothed toward the middle.

too bad the automatic focus picks something else

and then, because i had a bunch left over; most, really, i rolled it out on the table into a long snake, and stuck it down to a wave crest on the side of the dolphin.  i suspect most of the pipes will be straight, and may end up being pvc, i figure i can put in some hoses as well, like the hoses i bought at half off mondays last week.  there are a few crests on the base that i can do this with, particularly on the other side, where there are three in sequence.

 

but it’s done.  i filled all the holes and patched all the rough places, and used loads of water on my finger and thumb to smooth the edges into the surrounding primed fiberglass, and it’s sitting outside curing because i might be able to work it and sand it while it’s still only sort of dry, but i’m not going to bother.  i’ll do it once it warms up tomorrow and i finish my computer nonsense and get to work.

on the other hand i got up in the middle of the night to come down to the studio, kick the dog off the couch, and work on my writing, figuring out how to deal with the dull, boring, marriage part of my life (make it into a sitcom) and working up the various episodes and treatments i need to decide how to do this.  i’m still very unsure, so i researched beat sheets and sitcom writing (one page is 30 seconds on screen, and should have 3 jokes) until i could get to sleep.  because the computer is downstairs now i find it better to just stretch my legs by touching my toes in bed, and rolling over to try and sleep on the other side.

the first hose.  i will continue it when i mix more clay

oh yeah and i fished a pair of polyester pants and a belt and a tshirt out of the pile my kid was going to throw out (thanks daniel), and decided they’d be the perfect clothes for my dolphin (even tho i got several candidates from the thrift store).  i’m only going to use the waistband, seams and pockets, rather than the fabric, but polyester won’t deteriorate in the weather as fast as cotton will, even under uv automobile topcoat.

the first item of clothing, but only for show

tomorrow i sand off the excess bondo and lug the big guy into the studio to start the real work.  thanks for not stealing him out of my alley, universe.

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