this morning i spent 2 hours going to the aquarium, loading the dolphin, and making my way back home thru memorial day parades and festivals. and since noon i’ve been out in the yard sanding and filling and priming the dolphin. tomorrow he comes into the studio. it’s six now, and after dinner i’m going to spend some hours looking for go-bys on the internet and printing out pages to collage to the base.
then i’m going to make his head look like this building. this is the fabulous ex carnegie library in downtown atlanta. there’s now a ‘brutalist‘ public library on this spot, and the sponsor, the courtyard by marriott boutique hotel directly across the street from the library, in the carnegie building, is interested in honoring the old rather than pandering to the new. right on. the new library is rather ugly.
in fact, they liked the old carnegie library so well that even 20 years after it was torn down in 1977, a design team made a ceremonial arch out of the facade, and put it a mile or two away at the end of downtown, right before it becomes midtown. and seeing it in person is so much more informative than seeing it even in the sharpest of photos, so i’m going to go spend a little while there tomorrow, with my camera. because that’s going to be the head of my dolphin.
i’ve also got to figure out a way to make a hat…8″ pvc pipe?
i’m going to make the middle part of him look like the philip morris kid, with three rows of brass buttons, dark trim, and a bright red jacket. it’s all going to be painted, except for the hat, and once that’s glued on it’ll be painted, too.
his legs will be painted like a bookshelf, lined with old books. i’m going back and forth with my sponsor about what kind of books. what subjects, what bindings. he wants it old, but i think not too formal. we’ll figure it out.
then, at the feet and over the waves, i’m going to paste on a whole bunch of pages from the insides of old books. these will be things people can read if they want to. books about atlanta, pictures of old atlanta, pages from old articles and journals about atlanta. i could use newspaper page, but since it’s a library, i think i want to stick to books. but newspaper pages isn’t a bad idea, so maybe i’ll think about it some more.
the next step is to bring the dolphin inside, which i’ll do in the morning after the primer has cured some and no longer smells to high heaven. then i’ll level him, and then drop some plumb lines so that the shelves will be straight and the building won’t lean. and then i can start my drawing.
i’ve got to decide where to put the waistline. usually i put it just under the tail, so that the tail is part of his back. but the bellhop jacket is quite short, and i wonder if it would come up over the tail, which would be strange. and what am i going to paint the tail, anyway? paint it like a tail? paint it like a bookshelf? paint it like his jacket? if it’s his jacket, then fine. if it’s a bookshelf, then it’s a mighty thin bookshelf, and maybe i ought to file pamphlets and magazines there. i could paint it like a tail. his face is going to be building, so it’ll be white, and his hands will have gloves on them, so they’ll be white too. his tail would be the only dolphin-colored part of him if i were to paint it tail color.
i’m giving him wingtips for shoes, tho most of them will be covered with pages. his pants will look like bookshelves, so there’s no ‘pants’ to paint. like his skin, it’ll represent something else.
i’m struck this time by how little time i have to work. i’ve done two dolphins before this, and feel i know the actual dolphin pretty well. this one was fabricated a little quicker, or at least thinner, than the other two, and finished off completely differently inside. that makes three dolphins put together by three different people, as far as i can tell. this one was smoother in general, and only had a few flaws which i sanded and filled easily.
because the dolphin’s already been primed, all it needed was a quick sanding. these are things i know because i’ve been learning from my procedures. the priming only needed to go on areas where i’d sanded down past the primer, so i just touched it up where necessary. i’ll need to sand the primer tomorrow, but that’s fine.
it’s more important to do a good job sanding the face and head, the things that are at eye level. when it comes to the dolphin’s legs it doesn’t matter as much, and by the time you get down to the base, the only thing that needs sanding are the dolphin’s feet because everything else is going to be covered by collage.
it’s not just that people won’t notice anything but the face and maybe the flippers, it’s also that people will see the paint, not the fiberglass. so you can do a less than perfect job getting the dolphin ready for painting. as long as it’s smooth enough, and free from burs and gouges, the several layers of primer and paint and varnish and topcoat will give the surface a texture all its own, and the flaws on the fiberglass won’t be noticeable, even by me.
so, it’s time for dinner, and then i’ll be down here later on to start collecting objects to collage.