blue

well, that’s what i get for not minding the time.  it’s already 4:30 (5:30) and i’m only just sitting down to write up my day’s work, an only-warm cup of coffee at hand.  the dog looks up hopefully and goes to lay by the door.

i spent much of today at a workshop for the fulton county arts program.  there are a bunch of public art projects coming up, and i’ve got some ideas for things i’d like to do.  things involving solar panels and fabric, things involving electroluminescence and cellphones.  art that is inventive and inspired and involves the community in more than merely looking at something pretty (or pretty strange).  it seems a great way to spend a couple of years.  i’m having so much fun now that i’m not really ready to quit.

what i’m leaving out is the fact that so many things had to go on the shelf when i went full time on the dolphins.  at first i had concurrent commitments, like my annual participation in nanowrimo, and the entire xmas season.  but i’ve been doing 12-hour days for oh maybe the entire month of january; seems like longer at any rate.  the dolphins are getting done at a very fast rate now that i’m painting, despite that i only make incremental progress every day.  and when they’re finished, i’ll rest for a day, putter around and clean up, hang out with friends and family.

and then i’ve got the irish residency gifts i haven’t done, and xmas presents i haven’t done, and there’s a program application due at the end of february, and also a slide registry deadline, and it’s going to be spring any minute now, and i’ve got all that yard work to do that i have to drop everything for.  et cetera.

deep breath.

this picture doesn’t show how dark the dolphin skin is.  it’s very dark indeed.  and yet, i’m about to deepen the color.  i took the blue i’d used on the shirt of the home depot dolphin, a light denim blue, and thinned it way down, with a glob of white in it.  ultramarine blue is transparent; white is opaque.  the thinness makes it a foggy veil.

here the blue has just gone on, and is very wet, and the moment the photo is taken the camera gets put down and i grab the paper towel i’ve been using, and wipe that blue paint off.

not really off, but smeared around a lot.  you can kind of see a blue tinge around the eyes and under the chin.  it’s more obvious in person.

you can see the paper towel i’ve been using, hanging over the top of the roll of plans (pvc pipe).  it’s yellow and blue because i used it earlier to wipe the paint off the workboots.

once i went around with the blue and the rag a second and third time, the skin was very nicely dark blue-gray.  more blue than gray, really.  and the picture below doesn’t do it justice.  altho now that i’m looking at it, and it’s good and dried, the skin color is very like the pants color on the home depot dolphin.  can’t have that.

earlier i mixed up a yellow ochre and put it on both dolphins’ workboots, and the home depot dolphin’s hat.  in this light, certainly, it’s way yellow, but i’ll check in the morning.  it won’t hurt to put a coat of raw sienna on it tomorrow.  and if you look carefully you might see that the workboots are a different color on each dolphin.  that’s because i’d put more coats of raw sienna on te home depot dolphin, so it’s darker.

right now i’m only using a brush as a convenient way to get the paint on the dolphin.  and then i’m rubbing it all out with a paper towel.  and this is my technique from now on with the dolphins.  i use up a lot of acrylic paint dong it, but nothing else that i know of gives me the nice hand-rubbed texture.

i’m starting to pay more attention to the edges now.  it’s a real process.  in the beginning you slap it on just to cover up the white, just like you do on canvas.  and gradually you learn to color inside the lines, and blot up accidents immediately.  it’s the same problem of edges as in 2-d painting, but the depth makes the choice of color’s dividing line essential.  if you don’t get it right, if you go over or under the actual fold of statue, then it looks like someone who put her lipstick on wrong.

on the mckenney’s dolphin, i resolved to sand the roll of plans, because it’s sure lumpy now.  after all the reinforcing i did to cover the tiny thin layer of unmixed and therefore never-to-harden epoxy part b, the pvc pipe under the man’s arm looks like it’s been badly treated.  which might be appropriate, given the things that roll of plans has been thru.  but we’ll see.  the actual slice of plans i’m going to wrap around and glue down to the pipe is still on the drawing board, parts held together with blue tape.  it needs to be glued down and gone over with a real working technical pen, to darken what i consider to be weak, reedy lines.

i got out the kilz and primed the pocket protector and rapidograph i’d epoxied on yesterday.  i discussed it with jim – i didn’t want to use kilz if i could help it, because it’s so damned hard to clean up.  every time i have used it, i follow the directions and use mineral spirits on it, which works just fine until i go to wash it with soap and water, and then it gums up at the first drop.  jim says this is because kilz has shellac in it, and cleans up with alcohol.  i tried it, however, and had minimal success.  so i’d like to avoid the stuff if possible.  but, remember the trouble i had trying to glue the pocket protector on with gorilla glue.  it never stuck at all.  some plastics, i believe, won’t.  some plastics just plain won’t glue, and many plastics don’t really glue, but rather melt to their bonding surfaces.  given this little tiny structural problem, jim suggested – and i went with it – that i go ahead and use the kilz, rather than trying to stick it down with acrylic medium, which probably wouldn’t work either.

so, fine.  but i didn’t want to waste a brush, so i stirred it with a stick, wiped it with a finger, and painted the primer onto the plastic with my finger.  i prefer to use my fingers when i paint.  i can feel what i’m doing so much better (until the paint starts drying on my fingertips).

after i’d finished messing with my blue dolphin skin, i decided i really had to get to the waves.  i’d been trying to get to the waves, but things like another coat of brown on the paint tray kept getting in the way.  but finally i grabbed the remainder of the ultramarine wash i’d first used on the shirts and pants, and stuck more blue, and a load of white, into it.  and then i added what the tube says is emerald green, which is mostly thalo with a little yellow, and mixed up a nice turquoise.  this went everywhere the darker green-blue didn’t go around the base of the mckenney’s dolphin.  and when i was done with that, smoothing out each edge with my fingers, i totally forgot about the home depot dolphin’s waves, and got up to take final pictures and write up my day.

and i think i’m going to get to the home depot dolphin in the morning (i mean the afternoon).

gee it’s cold out tonight.  come on, dog.

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