i’m getting my exercise now

it’s spring, i’m not lying.  i caught little leaves coming out on my mountain laurel today, and the maple has tiny little helicopters dangling from the branches.  the bradford pears across the street look like snow, and the first of the daffodils are already wrinkled up and finished.  oxalis is bubbling up along the walk, obliterating the leaves.  and the first dandelion is ready to make a wish on.  i’ll post pictures tomorrow.

today was one thing after another, not in a bad way.  i sat on the floor and dabbed here and there, turning the dolphin with great wrenches.  then i got up, put the paint cup back on the palette, washed the brush out, looked around until i noticed something else to paint, grabbed a paint cup and the brush, and sat back down to repeat those actions.  this was every two or three minutes, all day long.

i feel like a yoga teacher today, like my friend renee, who sometimes does four classes a day.  she never actually completes a round of yoga, as such, because she’s always popping up from the front of the class and going over to adjust someone’s posture.  she gets nothing but exercise, in fact.

if you’ve been reading this blog (god help you), then perhaps you remember when i first started sitting on the floor, right after the new year.  so that’s three months.  i was in agony getting up from the floor at first.  my ankles, my knees, my hips, my back.  i could only get up to a half-bent posture, and had to hobble for three or four minutes, groaning all the while, until i was loosened up enough to come fully upright.

but i was so much older then, i’m younger than that now.  these days when i get up off the floor, i easily rise to one knee, and then carefully pivot on my knee until i can get the other foot around underneath me.  and then i can rise to a crouch, and slowly curl up.  if i breathe out while i’m doing this, i don’t tend to groan as much.  and sometimes a shiver seizes me, and i find myself stretching back uncontrollably.  it’s a great stretc, but it’s kind of like a sneeze, a reflex.

oh.  there’s a trick to turning the dolphin.  since it’s basically round, all you have to do is tip it up onto its rim and you can roll it around, sort of, on its axis, like a rolling penny close to becoming flat.

okay, let me see if i can remember all the little things i did on the home depot dolphin today.  more orange on the ‘wet’ paint areas, and later a coat of cadmium yellow, which is opaque, and then more orange, because it was looking way too flat, so i stuck a bright underpainting underneath it, and glazed orange over it.  we’ll see what i have to do to it next.  (i don’t want to have to repeat that last sentence, like i did with the ‘to be continued tomorrow’ line, but it’s implied for everything i did today.)  i also put yellow on the peak of the electric cord, and’ll get to the orange glaze later on that.   and yellow on the two levels on the drill.

another coat of light blue dragged with a dry brush over the seams of the jeans, then ample light blue slopped onto the peaks of the waves, thin enough to be translucent.  and later a thin wash of blue-black wiped off immediately so it only stayed in the crevices and hollows, to give it even more contrast.

a coat of light gray mixed up for the other dolphin on the gloves, wiped off.  another coat of raw sienna on the liquid nails tube, and drybrushed sienna on the jeans to make the center line a little less awkward.

silver on the drill and to cover accidental orange on the handle of the roller, and drybrushed on the tops and around the sides of all the bolts and washers.  white on the shirt button preparatory to some sort of bone button color.  raw sienna on the cardboard roll of the blue tape.  another coat of cerulean on the blue tape and the sanding block.

i actually looked up the sanding block online so i could see how it was colored, and was surprised to find that only the handle is blue, and the rest of it is black.  so i pulled up photos of all the things i’m working on so i could refer to the details.  later, i used the dark gray of the pipes on the sanding pad, because it was too much black.  i think that’s it.

on the mckenney’s dolphin, i went around with silver on the 1/4″ pipes, the screws holding the clamps, pressure flange nuts, bits and pieces on the pumps, and several buttons on the phone.  medium gray went on the qwerty buttons, and i’ll have to go back in with dark gray because i was quite sloppy with the lighter color.  i was trying to drybrush it on, using the flat of the brush, but i was heavy handed.  the rapidograph got several coats of quinacridone red over the white basecoat, and then a couple of coats of burnt sienna.  it’s very close to the real color; i’m pleased about that.

then i was inspired to do the brush and wipe thing with thin blue black over the medium gray pipes, which gives it a bit of character.  i brushed and wiped blue black over the waves, as well.  the coat i put on last time was still showing, so this enhanced it.

glazes are wonderful.  they bind surfaces together visually, and enrich subtly without really changing the body color.

i did the drybrush thing – making sure most of the paint was off the brush before dragging it flat across the surface – using raw sienna out of the jar, along the middle line of the pants, and then going over the seams the same way.  it may not be enough.  then a very thick, very white gray to go over all the clamps and parts of the pumps; i may have to repeat that tomorrow.

the white i’m using isn’t very strong.  it’s a commercial white.  these days i’ve switched to making my own paints.  dry pigment, binder, extender.  it’s so much cheaper it’s ridiculous, and i control what goes into it.  but for the fiberglass projects i do from time to time, i always use commercial acrylics, mainly because there are so many old tubes of acrylic left over from before the dawn of handmaking our paints.  in fact, there’s a whole gallon of artist grade titanium white in the studio.  and i’m using it at a prodigious rate, because it’s so full of extenders, and has so little pigment, that i’ve got to put on a bunch of coats to get an even coverage.  it’s a pity.  for small jobs, like lettering, jim made me an extra strength batch of white.  for lightening other colors, i just go ahead and use gloopy paint and several coats and sigh at the waste of good acrylic medium.

having given my all to my public art proposal for the last few days, it feels like a cakewalk finishing the dolphins.  i’m very close to finishing, with only touchups left, mostly.  except for the id badge, which i’ve carbon-copied in place, and the paint can label.  and the drill needs some work, and i’m not yet done on the pipes, with several of the dark flanges blending in too much with their pipes; and perhaps a color scheme adjustment on the pipes to come.  scraping off the putty on the badges and pins, the buttons, the lettering on the cap.  the necks need to come up much lighter, and i still need to mess with the skin in general – that’ll take some time.

the bootlaces.  i finally asked jim to do them for me, and went and borrowed an old workboot for him to use as a go-by, because the laces are two-toned, to resemble rawhide strips, altho they’re braided.

the phone needs finishing.  the pen needs its special markings.  the electrical cord needs a couple of coats of orange.  the liquid nails tube needs finishing, which includes some lettering.  the name on the apron needs another layer.  the brush handle, both the wooden handle and the brass ferrule.  cleanup of the hardhat.

and then a good gloppy coat of acrylic varnish as a pre-topcoat, then a photo shoot, then cocooning them in plastic, wrapping them in blankets, strapping them into the trucklet, and delivering them to the aquarium.

yes, we’re at the end game.  and i’m still staying up until 2 or 3 every morning, and rolling out of bed way too early, to stagger out to the garden bench with coffee and the dogs.

that’s tomorrow.  but first, a walk with the puppies, a bowl of homemade ice cream, and a chapter of my library book about art scandals.


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