rain

it’s been a couple of days since i updated my blog.  that’s because i was up all night last night, finishing all the additions i have to do.  or so i thought at the time.  but i kept doggedly at my task, mixing up thumbnail sized chunks of epoxy putty, putting miniscule dabs here and there, bending over the intricacies of both sculptures, thinking really hard about what’s about to become irreparable, checking for places water can gather.

i put the mckenney’s dolphin out into the alley yesterday morning, first thing.  ready to sand and prime.  yay.  hooray.  and it was a beautiful day, as forecast, and hit almost 70 in the alley.

meanwhile, back in the studio, the home depot dolphin still had more stuff going on.  the actual sponge sanding block that i’d put on never hardened, just like the foam paint roller.  so i popped the handle off and tore the sponge right off the statue.  it was on a bed of putty and the foam stuck just fine, but it’s obvious that it never absorbed any of the polyurethane at all.

plan b.

i spent most of my night putting these fine pins and badges onto the apron.  the cloth badges got scraped (most of their backs were plastic covered) and stuck down with gel medium.  the red ribbon also.  everything else got stuck on with putty.

on the bottom of the apron, i decided i had to get up inside it and fill the folds with putty, and you can see the slit up the middle, and can’t see the split along the bottom, where the pins are.  each pin is stuck thru the fabric of the apron, and there’s a dab of putty around each clasp, which was then held down onto the apron back, and underneath the front was crammed with putty.  lots of smoothing with water.  should have done more, too.

then it was back to the sanding block.  i went around the studio looking for a piece of wood i could use instead of a foam pad.  and came up with two of those little cedar blocks that smell great for about 3 days and then are useless blocks of wood until you sand them.  so i stuck them in there, and it was a perfect fit, just not as thick as the regular sanding block sponge.  so i put putty down under where it was going to go, put the block on, and wrapped it with rolled-out putty.

i sure do like playing with rolled out putty.  it’s so elegant, and takes the shape so easily.

then i decided that i had to protect the things that could still move.  so i slapped a thin sheet of putty over the top of the brim, and the underside of the brim, and it set up nicely and now the fucker’s not going anywhere.  victory.  i did the underside of the brush, as well, because it had some give.  and that’s nice.  i have to do another coat on the id badge, because it’s still flexible under the first layer.  and the baseball hat needs a coat of putty because the spray foam i used for brains is exposed, and has to be covered, and the hat itself is full of soft spots and have to be dealt with.

so jim and i took the home depot outside first thing this morning to join the mckenney’s dolphin in the warm sun, and today when i got up (11) i started right in on sanding and scraping.

i scraped with a razor blade, and then jim introduced me to a paint scraper razor blade with a handle gizmo, and i used that instead.

empty looking, for the moment.  my studio without the dolphins.

spending all day in the alley.  jim brought his lunch down and sat with me, and my grandbaby’s mom dropped him off for ‘a minute’ so he went straight for the razor blades and just wanted to hold them.

i worked all day, sanding and scraping.  and i realized something.  all that work i did putting gel medium or molding paste around the seams was a total waste of acrylic and time, because i was in there scraping everything out, all day.  and it took forever, too.

i started my day lovingly, tenderly, slowly clearing away every bit of roughness on my dolphin’s head.  and then i switched to the next dolphin and started the same process.

and realized that i’d better get one done at a time, and do only the necessary.

but i kept getting distracted by imperfection.  i know damn well that any imperfections i leave on the dolphin will shine out like a beacon when it’s done, and i know that it’s the finishing that makes the dolphin.  it can be as ingenious as i can make it, but if it looks crappy, then it’s not going to be good enough.

and i’m so bad at finishing details.

but for every dab of putty that i didn’t smooth with water, that’s a lot of effort grinding it off once it’s dried.  it is so much better to clean as you go.  smooth as you go.

i sat outside when it got dark.   we got out the industrial strength utility lights and flooded the alley with light, which i kept getting into the shadow of as i tried to scrape.

i went to jim with my quandary – i’ve got all these places that demand more filling and sanding, and filling and sanding, and filling and sanding.  is there a shortcut, i asked.  yes, he replied.  use loads of paint.  do the least possible and get on with it.  just remember, he said, by this point you’re making eight cents an hour.

so i finished up the mckenney’s dolphin, and started scraping and sanding the home depot dolphin.  and it got late, and i didn’t notice, but the clouds came creeping over.

but i didn’t notice.  so i got out the kilz and started on..

when i did notice, and run to the radar, i had only minutes to prepare, so i got out the tarp, and went back to the mckenney’s dolphin, which was ready for priming.  so i primed it, thinking it’d be all done tomorrow and i could start painting.  but it started to drip, and i draped the tarp over both, using the tiedown under the fins and flipper to hold the tarp on.  then, since it was only sprinkling, i went back to work priming.  i’m halfway thru, and can resume tomorrow when it stops raining.

i should probably put on the bits of putty i can see need putting on before i finish priming.  i’ll see how it looks tomorrow.

and i’m going to be getting to bed again around 6, despite quitting early because of rain.  the fairies are changing the clocks on me, that must be it,

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2 thoughts on “rain

  1. Jeanne-
    Thanks for all the time and care you are spending on our dolphin! I’m glad i found this blog so that i could check out the progress and appreciate some of what you are going through. I think we must have drawn the best artist! Thanks again-John McKenney

    • well, great. i’m really pleased that i can offer a glimpse into what makes a sculpture like this. it’s almost as useful as the trip thru the gut-end of the aquarium that i got from your guys. everybody should know how much work goes into what we usually take for granted. besides, the process is as fun as the result.

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