end of books

not endless books.  when i was a kid, and the bookmobile came around, i would always stagger home with an armload of library books, which i kept by my bed, and stayed in bed all day and night reading, if allowed.  in my 20s, i always had a stack of books by my bed, working thru them all.  and now i’ve got a book to read aloud at night, and one on the front porch swing, one in the bathroom, and one next to my chair in the kitchen.  i’d be sunk if it weren’t for libraries.  and paperbackswap.com

i started on the lettering last night, and did what i could do sitting in front of the dolphin.  that’s okay for horizontal lettering, but with books where the lettering runs down the spine instead of across, i needed to be perpendicular to sitting in front of the dolphin.  if that makes sense.

so i took him off the dolly and laid him down across my big brass bed.  then i sat on the futon next to him, holding the little plastic cup of paint in one hand, also clutching the photo reference.  my thinnest brush.  a steady hand (not really).  first i did all the gold titles on one side, then the other.  then i did all the black titles.  there was one blue set of titles, i did them too.

at first i was concerned to make the titles legible.  because of the goopy nature of the paint, however, most of the titles are unreadable, even if you know my scrawl.  it was easier in black paint, but there’s still a good deal of unsteady printing going on.

the seashell epaulets look great just like they were, but in the interest of readability i put a dark wash into the cracks and wiped it off the surface.  i did several rounds of this, until the grooves got nice and deep.  then i ran some more gold paint over the top, to bring the overall tone back up to shiny.

likewise the badge the kind folks at the marriott made me looks wonderful.  i’ve had blue tape over it since before sticking it onto the dolphin, and finally took the tape off this morning.  i’m very pleased.

i can’t seem to get close enough to get a focused picture.  so you can’t really tell about the lettering.  but way close up it looks pretty crude.  at five feet, however, the typical viewing distance, it’s going to look real.  and that’s all i’m asking.

it took an extra effort to get to the books on the bottom shelf.  this is my fiction shelf, where all the popular books are kept.  i took my list of the hundred must read books, counted the available books and the available spaces, and laid them in alphabetically, except for a little misfiling because the book title was much larger than the space alloted.  i didn’t put in any gold for this shelf, only black.  because i wanted the titles as readable as possible.  nobody’s going to have heard of any of the titles on the rest of the dolphin, but the fiction titles should be familiar to anybody who reads.

this is what he looks like now.  he’s still missing the little final touches everywhere.  shall i list them?  i’ve got to go back in on the head and write in the various names and phrases, put in final dark outlines, and make final adjustments to the shadows.  the jacket needs the buttons finished, and shadows put on the buttons and under the badge.  the books need darkening in the shadows behind the books, and maybe a coat of burnt sienna or even crimson over the wooden shelves.  oh yeah, and the book cover on the tail.

and there’s the base, which i have only started.  today i took the pages i’d already printed out and started coating them with gel medium.  i put three coats on the test piece this afternoon, and the paper rubbed off it wonderfully when i got it wet.

so tomorrow i’ll print out a bunch more pages, fix them and soak them, and then i’ll have bunches of print on film that i can then just smooth down onto the waves.  and when i’m done putting the words down, i’ll go over it with thin washes, to accentuate the curves of the waves and make it looked aged and scuffed like the rest of the statue.

and then will i be done?  aside from several things i won’t have known that i will have had to fix – if that makes sense – all that’ll have to be done after i’m done will be to varnish it.

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