cartographer’s nightmare

happy new moon, btw.

boy it’s hard to map a flat surface onto a round one.  there’s lots of help about mapping round surfaces to flat ones – it’s called making a map – but nobody is there to help you draw a flat wall onto a round head.  and that’s my current problem.

i’ve spent many hours on it today and yesterday.

actually, today and yesterday have been one long interruption of my work, but i managed to squeeze two or three hours in yesterday, and today i got about five or six.  but still.  and here i am up in the middle of the hot night, doing my blog.  and another hour working on the drawing after dinner.

i’m at the stage of trying to get the drawing right.

i measured the proportions of the various parts of the building.  2cm by 5.25cm on my ruler.  then i took a pencil and did a bunch of calculations on the dolphin’s back – hey, any white surface, eh?  if i’m using 3.75in as my base, the height will be…

first i came up with a bunch of wrong answers, i mean conflicting ones.  eventually i arrived at 3.75in by 7.5in, which i’m still not sure about.  because measured proportions for a flat building don’t work when you have an irregular round shape to deal with.  and tho there’s calculus for figuring out the rate of change of change, i’ve forgotten what i learned.

there’s no substitute for doing it by eye.  in the end, i had to rub out what i’d drawn because it never did look right, and do it all by drawing what looked good.  over and over.  the white dolphin i started drawing on yesterday is now graphite gray, and a light gray comes off when i erase my work.

erase – i mean rub out with sandpaper.  that’s the easiest way to obliterate pencil strokes on gesso.

the important thing about this drawing is to map the window niche to the eyes.

that wasn’t so hard.  more difficult was mapping the door over the bottom of the beak.   i originally drew in the part under the jaw to the proportions i used over the eye.  but it was very distorted.  the door itself was squashed, and there was way too much room at the top.  so i redrew it by eye.  and then later, after this picture, refined the horizontal lines again, because the curving beak made the straight lines look saggy, and i had to redraw them convex in order to make them look good.

a cartographer’s nightmare.

he’s really a large triangle, anyway.  the dolphin isn’t round.  he’s not square or oblong, he’s a couple of muscles running the length of a spine, basically, so measurements fit differently all around him.

i’ve still got the issue of his hat.  i haven’t put his hat on, so i can’t really finish drawing his head.  and the hat, tho round, isn’t really round.  i measured today, up from the arch once i got it reliably drawn on the head.  the place at the tops of the columns with the curly things (ionic scroll capitals).  above that is the cap with the roofline details.  connecting the measurements gave me an oblong round shape.  and i can’t get that by cutting down a 6″ pipe.  six inches is too small a diameter, anyway.

so i’m going to have to build the hat.  and the best way i can think of to do this is to make a mold out of acetate (which i have left over from when i was going to put sunglasses on the mckenney’s dolphin), and build it out with apoxie sculpt, the epoxy putty i used extensively on my other two dolphins.  just so happens i have almost a whole batch of it left.  so i’ll be rolling it out into slabs tomorrow, and making a long rolled up part and a cap part.  it’s going to be a pain in the butt.  but, hey.

so, tomorrow, i mean later today, is another day.  or something.  i’m going to get some sleep now, and will be back later to do more.  after i go back to the atlanta history center tomorrow and get photos of old books.  it was closed today, and a lovely wasted drive it was.  but, hey.


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