wall mural 5, 6, 7, and 8 (or something like that)

so okay it’s been a few steps.  let me post the pictures and then i’ll talk about the process.


after i got the outline up – imperfectly but not to worry – i took stock of my colors – black, white, light blue, yellow green, phtalo green, scarlet, dark pink – and decided i might could mix up a nice caucasian skin tone.  not that trolls have white skin, mind you.  or maybe they’re pasty white because they live in the mountains and only come out in the winter when it’s dark and nobody’s about to see them.  i can’t be sure.  but anyway, i need a nice light color for the skin or the rest of it won’t make sense.  anyway nothing is final until i put the varnish on.

you can see dark around the edges of the color.  that’s because the graphite contour lines and the grid are unfixed, meaning the graphite smudges into the paint just like any good pigment.  that’s why i need to put a second coat of everything on there, even the black.


then, the next day, i mixed up some scarlet and black and got a nice brownish reddish color that i put on the antlers.  on impulse i also brushed some lightly onto the trolls cheeks, lip and nose.  just as indication, and because when i have a wet paintbrush in my hand nothing is safe.


the next day i found a film can full of green earth dry pigment, and it was enough to mix in with the white house paint.  however, it was very very faintly colored (as green earth is among the weakest of pigments) so i was forced to put in a tiny tiny drop of phthalo green paint, which of course was too much.  so now i’m working with seafoam green, which would have been great back in the 60s but looks a little odd now, especially against that white background.  but i have hopes to make all the white disappear in the end.  it really makes the face color stand out, tho, doesn’t it?  and please note i’ve extended his nose a wee bit and will have to fill it in later.


today, not knowing how to proceed with the hair and beard, i decided to start with the outside of the mural.  so i mixed up that horrid light blue with some black, and slapped it on around the outline of the troll with a 3″ brush, feathering the outside edges so there wouldn’t be a hard edge.  the trouble i’m going to have with this is that now it’s hard to distinguish the antler headdress from the surrounding ocean because there’s a lot of black in both colors, so no contrast.  it means i’ll have to highlight the antlers, which i guess i was going to do anyway.  now my hand is forced, tho.


later on today, since i wasn’t working very well on my other projects, i took the container with the blue-black and mixed more of the blue in, then went around the figure again, another 3″ out from the contour line, feathering the lighter blue into the darker blue and kind of glazing over the darker color so there wasn’t an edge. the effect is kind of a shadow near the figure.  later i intend to take the straight blue out of the can and put it up around the figure, and then take whatever blue is left and mix some more white into it and finish the painting to the edge.

but this is as far as i’ve gotten.  people in the town are beginning to slow down as they pass, and some even go up to it and point.  it’s obviously a map of iceland, but i’m not sure how many schoolchildren have seen the troll face in it.  it can’t be that i’m the first, tho i’ve asked and everybody says so.  but hey, i’m not going to copyright it or anything.

here are the relevant timelapses of the progress. – five, six, seven, eightnine, ten.

landscaping project 18 years later

this is part of the process of getting ready to do a public art project in iceland next year.  it shows that i have done something similar in the past, so that people know i’m not going off completely at random.  in fact, almost 20 years ago i was responsible for the design of a school courtyard, and thought up something similar to what i came up with for iceland, the site or which is also at a school.

has the time gone by that fast? today i stopped by the school where i designed the inner courtyard back in 1995. way back when i lived in fayetteville, georgia, and they were growing fast, so they built a new elementary school. and i’m curious, so i poked my nose in while they were doing construction, and found out that there was no plan for the inner courtyard. so i volunteered, and was given the okay, and a $20k budget. whee hah. it was that simple. no approval process, no committees, just a sacred architecture design, and we’re good to go.

3 courtyard plan

it’s hard to see this tiny little picture, but i don’t have the original, or a larger one, so please bear with me. it shows the courtyard only, never minding the school that is built around it. it’s a very long courtyard, something like 300 feet, about the size of a football field, but only about 30 feet wide. i’m just guessing here, it’s been too long. the main feature is the pathway, which meanders, opening out into a large area for an outdoor classroom, and further along going over a bridge and pond. what you can’t see is the specifications for plants, grading, and all those technical things.

1 courtyard - spring hill north

and this is what they made of it. this is from the first year, when they opened the school. you’ll notice that the trim and roof and doors are painted green. that’s the only way i know it was the first year. it was designed to be a delightful view from all the inner classrooms, to be used as an outdoor classroom, and to have separate habitats for teaching. like a farm plot, a compost pile, swampy places and rocky places, shady places and sunny places. there’s even a fountain, tho the contractors stuck that in completely contrary to the bridge and pond idea. this is looking from the gym (or south) end of the school. all that grass is contrary to my design, it seems they went thru altering the design as it suited them, which i was upset about at the time, but at that point it was out of my hands and the contractor’s responsibility. these things happen.

2 courtyard - spring hill south

the view from the roof is instructive. you can see the garden (the superintendent put in a vegetable garden, and said everything tasted horrible because of the dirt). the faint green beyond the garden is a selection of grasses for a small meadow, and see all the nice trees going back.

and i just noticed, omg, that someone painted the green roof and gutters and doors red. how bizarre. it’s still the same school, just a year’s difference. so, the red school is the second year, when instead of grass they’ve got some trees and a meadow going, apparently. i’m afraid i can’t explain this at all. or really the chronology, except that the roof is red today. so i don’t know.

after the design and execution of the courtyard, and a year when i was still in fayetteville to do alternative projects with the school, and to shepherd the courtyard, it was left to whatever they could do with it. and poor dears, the weather hasn’t cooperated for awhile. one year it’s too hot and everything in there bakes because it’s a suntrap (which is bad in the south). i didn’t account for that. the next year it’s too rainy and growth explodes. eventually all the perennials died and there was just weeds, so they ripped the weeds out and covered the ground with plastic and mulch.

the courtyard is still being used. the installed some benches and a board to use as a teaching station, and there are benches in the shade where the teachers can eat. so it’s useful. but it’s fairly barren, and can be made better by various means. the first and most important being to amend that soil. i had a conversation with the principal after my tour, and suggested that each classroom be given a spot, and that the kids research what should go there, and they should do projects. and he nodded as if everyone had suggested that already. another thing could be to throw a bunch of money at it and get a landscaping company in there to make everything better. seriously, we had some lovely native trees and a bunch of great plants in there, but all that’s left is the crape myrtle (which admittedly looks lovely a dozen years later).


so a million years later, everything is mulched, the only trees are crape myrtles, with a few bushes, and some grass coming up between the mulch. at the library (or north) end, they’ve put in benches and a covered board, so they’re still using the outdoor classroom idea. and further on there are benches under the trees so that the teachers can hang out in the fresh air.


from the other side you can see where the bridge and pond were. the bridge and pond were actually the idea and work of another school family, and they did their addition the year after the courtyard was put in. it failed, but so did my fountain idea. and since i didn’t specify drainage, or get the construction guys to put in the pond area, it will probably always fail. which is just to say something else will grow, and it’ll continue to work fine. as long as somebody’s tending it and trying new things. that’s how it works at my own house. i grow a lot of anything i can get to grow at all.

one of the problems with my design is that i made no allowances for heavy rain runoff, and there were several places where recent rains had spread mulch over the pathway. but the worst problem was that the soil was not amended, and was the same heavy clay churned up when they build the school. this turned out to be a horrible problem. also, i should have had sprinklers put in.


one thing that was a great hit at the time was the idea of family trees. we did a fund raiser, and got seedlings of all sorts of hardwoods, and sold them to families, who then planted them in selected spots in the front of the school. and then we had the cement truck come by (i remember this, i wish i still had the pictures), and pour all these 12″ square markers, that the families then drew their marks or initials or inscriptions in. and they’re still there, and some of the trees are getting enormous now.

btw i think i’m way off as to the date of the school construction. i had thought it was 2005, but that was just yesterday. it was more likely 1996, which makes the school a million years old. no, let me count. still almost 20 years old.

iceland art project update

it’s less than a year before i go to iceland, and i’ve been planning the art project i want to do there for months. i’ve got working partners in olafsfjordur, we’ve got a schedule, and a budget, we’re finding other artists who are interested, and we’ve got public support where our project is known. we just don’t have any permission yet.

the summer is not the right time to organize these things. nobody is available, their attention is turned elsewhere, whatever organizing body isn’t in session. so all the plans and arrangements and agreements we have among ourselves are worthless until someone official says go.

what we need is permission to use the site, and permission to use the stones. a no from either governing body would kill the project right there.

and if we get the okay from both bodies, then a number of things have to happen before the ground freezes in the winter.

the teachers who will be such an important part of this project need to be organized in the beginning of the school year, which is now. the kids just went back to school this week.

also, the site has to be surveyed and improved if needed, and the various stones have to be identified so that we know what we’re dealing with when we go to make a plan.

and we need an advisory board made of local experts – we need businesspeople, a lawyer, local artists, a media person, engineers, stonemasons, and someone to interface with the huldufolk, elves, and trolls.

we have kind of organized the working partners; anyway there are three of us who talk frequently and are putting feedback into the presentation we are working on.

sometime real soon now, maybe this week, the presentation will be shown to a bunch of people, and the process of getting permission and getting organizes will begin. or not.

if not, then i go to iceland and do nothing but write my story, which is my original intent. if we get permission, then i will spend as much time in the next 11 months in planning and organizing as i will spend writing my story, and for the first part of my residency, i will do nothing but bring the art project to fruition. and then i’ll write my story. if i’m not too burned out…

anyway, that’s where it is now. still furiously working on the project, but nothing official has happened, and the kill switch may be pulled at any time with no real damage done.

art musings, olafsfjordur

i am fascinated with the glacial history of olafsfjordur, at the northern edge of iceland, on the troll peninsula, among the highest and most rugged mountains in iceland.

they were all glaciers not so long ago. the fjords of fjallabyggd were all scraped clean, planed, by ice several thousand feet thick, rubbing their slow way to the ocean.

when you look at the mountains surrounding olafsfjordur, it’s like someone took a pastry knife to a partially hardened mountain of marzipan – whole sections scraped right off, leaving streaks and chunks.

i envision it as it was during the ice age, the entire valley and all the side valleys a flowing river of ice, the present day town visible as a ghost reflection at the bottom of the glacier, under the ice tongue where the glacier drops all its crumbs.

i want to do some art about the mountains, and the fjord valley, and the ice that isn’t there any more.


a good dose of public art experience, coming up

wee hah, i am volunteering with the living walls project for the second year. last year i delivered lunch to a bunch of artists, helped to clean out a building we used as information central during the block party, and brought along my 4 year old grandson avery as aide to sten and lex (he got to go up on the lift).

this year, because i’m going to be doing a public art project in iceland, i need more executive experience, so i’ve asked them for some responsibility so that i’ll know what i’m doing next year, when i’m on my own (never completely, lots of others).

so, they’ve just sent out the email assignments to all the volunteers, and i get to be point person for district 2, which means i get to help with the scaffolding, and the various materials. and i’ll go between the volunteers and the staff. by the end of the 2 weeks i’ll know what it takes to do a large public art project. which will really help in iceland.

i’ll be with the following artists and their 13 supporting volunteers –

Joshua Ray Stephens
Christopher Derek Bruno
Sam Parker

there will be more.  i’ll keep track and try to post daily. living walls runs from august 5 thru the 20th, the conference itself runs from the 14-18, with movie night, a block party, lectures, and tours.

the final orientation and meet-and-greet will be this coming friday, august 2. we’ll be meeting fellow volunteers, discussing the artists, and get some last minute details about this years conference. i’ll get my artist packet, with wall locations, phone numbers and email addresses, food information (all important), and all sorts of other details. i’ll let you know.

refining a pubic art project

this project will go thru several stages (see previous posts, below). when i do a public art project all by myself, i spend many hours working up ideas before i settle on one, refine it with several drawings, then submit one drawing, as finished as possible, to whoever gets to approve my project.

but this public art project is different for many reasons. nobody put out a call for artists with a preselected site and materials and budget. it’s my idea, and i’m bringing it forward hoping to get people interested. so i will encounter resistance simply because nobody but me is thinking this way and it’s my job to get them interested. but i don’t have a finished final drawing to show them. i just have an idea – hey, i’d like to do a public art project in north iceland! whoopee! but all anybody can say to that is, ‘okay, and…?’

another reason it’s different is that much of it has to be done from thousands of miles away. which means a lot of other people will be involved. a lot of the work i’ll be doing will be done right here, on my computer, in emails and blog posts and facebook messges. others will have to choose a site and prepare it, make local contacts and organize the participants. i hope to minimize the burden on others, but the work they put into the project will mean it becomes their project, rather than mine. which is great.

the reason for this update is because my contact on the ground, the wonderful director of my art residency, has been talking to people around town about the ideas she and i brainstormed together in some facebook messages. and one of the people she’s been talking to came up with a really good objection to one of my ideas, which is that wildflower gardens take maintenance. and my whole operating method is to bring my art to a certain stage of completion and then walk away. so, because i don’t want to cause a train wreck, i am rethinking my idea.

the suggestion was that we might make some use of all the rock that came out of the tunnel that now connects the two towns of fjallabyggd. it was just finished a couple of years ago, and i’ll just bet there are tons and tons of rocks of all sizes and shapes, just lying around collecting moss.

here is an example of the rocks from the tunnel, decorating Menntaskólinn á Tröllaskaga, the local junior college.

the suggestion was also made that we could take the fairies into account.

i am of two minds about this. i believe in fairies, and you don’t mess with them. they are a proud people and don’t like being dissed.  but when you talk about rocks, and rocks of a certain size, and rocks which aren’t a normal part of the landscape, then i think fairy houses. so, maybe, we could use some of the rocks blasted out of the mountain, and make a fairy city. if the fairies didn’t mind, and the townspeople didn’t mind.

google translate gives álfur uppgjör, i’m sure there are many other ways to say it in icelandic, but i like Huldufólkbyggd. fjallabyggd is the name of the conjoined towns, and olafsfjord has a lot of -byggd streetnames.  i assume they refer to the fact that these streets used to be swampy vacant land, and i assume they were built up in recent decades.  byggd sometimes translates to ‘built-up area.’

so, the idea i came back with, based on practical criticism of my plan and a good suggestion for an alternative, is this.

we can take a number of rocks, not large ones but too big for people to lift, from whatever pile they’re in, and move them to a suitable site (which we’re working on finding). then, we can build a tiny little town of fairy houses.  we could make a design of our own, or even a small version of olafsfjordur itself.  we can make streets of paving sized stones, and buildings of larger rocks set into or on top of the ground. then we can decorate them as fairy houses, and plant flowers and grasses around them.

this would require a whole lot of participation by the people who live there.  for instance, i would like to open the design of the elf city to people who live there. we could have a contest, all ages. then, the ground that is selected will need to be cleared and prepared. and then the rocks have to be selected, moved, and placed.  this is real work, and it would be great if there was some local funding to compensate the people who will do this.  perhaps that kickstarter campaign…

the fun part would come after all the grunt work. i want to get the children involved in decorating the buildings. kids are great at painting, and they could make really good doors and windows, roofs, other architectural details.  if it was decided to make a mini-olafs, then they would be really good at making small copies of all the buildings in the town.

we would put annual flowers in front of the houses, and make streetsigns, and have a big party to open the exhibit. while i’m in the town, i will make up special seed packages to give out, and then later, in the fall, people can plant them around the fairy houses, which will grow next year, and hopefully make a permanent garden around the stones.

that’s my idea at the moment.  i have sent it off to the people who are interested in it, in facebook messages, and when they have a chance to think about it, they will respond with their thoughts, and i will think about what they say and redesign the project again.

if anybody reading this has an opinion or suggestion, i welcome them.

thinking up a public art project

i am going to iceland next year for an art residency.  it will be for a month, in the small fishing village of olafsfjordur, in north iceland. i talk about the planning of that here.  in this post i will discuss some ideas for a public art project that i hope the city planners and townspeople will find interesting.  and i hope for some response to my ideas, so that i can work in cooperation with the people who live there, in order that they can have something they will like.

i’ve done some public art before.  several years ago i got to paint and embellish several fibreglass turtles for a local fundraiser, and a few years ago i got to paint and embellish several fibreglass dolphins for another fundraiser.  i have also volunteered on several civic mural projects, supervising and directing kids and adults in painting murals.  also, i have designed several public and private gardens following the principles of the golden mean.

i am not interested in doing sculpture for this project, because i don’t have the means to arrange for life-sized fibreglass sculptures to make their way to iceland, so i’ll scrap that idea right away.  but i can work with both paint and seeds, so let me see what kind of ideas i can sketch out in this post.

things about the town to consider:

northern iceland gets very cold, windy, and snowy coastal weather for 6 months of the year, and in the summer (the other 6 months) it rarely goes above 20C (around 70F).  so any outdoor projects will have to conform to these constraints.

the island in general has an erosion problem, and they have various reforestation programs in the country.  maybe i can do something in line with their larger goals.

the people of olafsfjordur and siglufjordur were formerly very isolated until various roads and tunnels were built, and only in the last several years have the two most northern towns joined into one unit, called fjallabyygd, which means mountain town, kind of.  they’ve got a nice municipal emblem which would make a good image to use.  i particularly like the emblem on the left.  it’s very complicated, and must have lots of meanings.  it would make a great mural (or t-shirt. or tie.).


in these changing times, the people of Fjallabyggð no longer rely solely on fishing for their living.  tourism is important, skiing and hiking, whale watching.  there is probably some knowledge-based economy in the town, but i don’t know about it.  and there is a growing arts scene in this part of the world.  both siglufjordur and olafsfjordur have art residency programs, and there are several festivals thru the year.  at the moment of writing, there is an art project involving a very large mural stretching over the main warehouses on the docks.  it might well be that in years to come this part of iceland will be very important in the worldwide arts community.  which brings me to the webcam.

olafs has a very nice webcam that scans the whole town and the breathtakingly beautiful countryside around the town.  i have been watching the webcam daily ever since i decided to go on a residency there, and i have seen the snow melt and the daylight stretch longer and longer every day.  i have come to love the town thru their webcam.  the people of olafsfjordur probably aren’t very aware that i am watching, and they probably don’t think of their town as something to watch from afar.  but for me, watching them, i would love to see some sign that they are watching back.  i would love to see some public art that addresses the webcam directly; some sign to the rest of the world.

finally, there is in iceland an appreciation for the wee folk that they share with the people of ireland.  there are still fairies in ireland and iceland, where people are sensible enough to believe in them.  i have no trouble believing in them; i have a harrowing story of being chased one night thru the barrows and mounds of the boyne valley, and have since learned a few methods of retrieving items the house fairies have borrowed.  it seems to me that it would be good public art to do something for, and maybe with, the fairies.  if they like.

so, out of this musing comes several ideas.

1. a wall mural of some sort.

2. planting of some sort.

which is pretty vague.  so let’s do some narrowing down.

the first thing that comes to mind about a mural is that there are new paints to use, experimental paints.  some that turn colors at different ambient temperatures.  so, for instance, we could do a painting on a wall with a layer of special paint on top of it.

– say, the outline of the mountains in black and white, with the special paint (that is only visible when the weather is warm) showing the grass and flowers and trees that come out in the valley in summer.

– or a mural showing the path of the sun thru the year, a painted sundial of some kind, with all sorts of hidden figures becoming visible in the warm weather.

– or we could paint the emblem of fjallabyggd on a wall.  with or without special paint.  facing toward or away from the webcam.

if a planting is desired, there are many things we could do.

– we could design a small planting that could be seen from adalgata, on the way thru town.  a typical raised bed of flowers in a pretty design, several meters square.

– or, and more to my idea, we could take a field that is not used for anything else, and put down seeds that would come up in a giant pattern of flowers that you could see on the webcam.

– we could put a troll’s footprints in a field, in wildflowers.  i like the idea, but it might not please the trolls.

– or we could plant wildflowers around the tunnel openings.  or imagine a town emblem large enough to see on google earth.

i might like to do some kind of project with fairy gardens

– one idea is to give wildflower seeds to people who live in the town, and they could plant them in a spot in their yards that fairies might like to visit.

– another idea would be to go around town and plant fairy gardens in odd places.

i lean toward wanting to do a planting, rather than painting.  they both have their issues – it’s a harsh environment for an outdoor mural, and it’s probably quite difficult to establish plants in this environment.  but i think the land needs plants more than the walls need paint.

if done right, and with luck, it might be possible to establish a wildflower area with perennials and self-seeding annuals, and if tended just right in the following years, this area could be growing woody perennials and bushes, which would then, twenty years from now, shelter trees.

this would need an area with the right attributes for a wildflower field, not being used for something else, not too salty, not too steep, etc.  then we’d need to get a lot of seeds, which we could get from europe without too much trouble.  above all, we would need the help of an expert in growing things in iceland, and i’ve sent preliminary emails to several people who might be interested.

so, for ideas:

– large-scale wildflower planting in a field

– small scale wildflower planting along the main road in town

– tiny fairy gardens scattered thru the town

– wall mural – a clever design using thermo paint

– wall mural – welcome to fjallabyggd

i would like to share these with the town planners to see what they think of these ideas.

fixing mckfinney 4-5

it’s several weeks since i finished fixing my dolphin, but i’m only now getting around to completing the documentation because i’ve got another project hot on its heels and want to get to it. thus the housekeeping.

i will miss the folks at mckenney’s.  they’re such a microcosm, such a fun bunch of engineers and their support teams.  engineers are a special bunch, and i really enjoyed talking to the ones who noticed me sitting on the floor in the lunchroom.

altho i’d removed most of the yellowed acrylic topcoat from the hat, i had to be extra special careful around the logo, because i wasn’t sure how it had originally been applied.  i got the hat from mckenney’s, and don’t know what went into the logo – was it a sticker, was it silkscreened, was it somehow baked into the plastic? who can tell without research?  so while i still used the same flat-bladed scraper, i was much more gingerly around the lettering, and only scraped it in tiny places that won’t be noticed.  the picture shows the before condition.  i’m not showing you the scratches.

when i was last there, i worked up some putty in the shape of the handles that some kids wrenched off the sculpture when it was sitting out in the main waiting area in front of the aquarium, where millions of kids tried to break it.  which for sure i would have done if i were still a kid.  i would have tried my damnedest to twist off some part of anything i found in public.  it was my job as a kid.  hell, i still go around and twist things to see if they’re loose.  anyway, i made replacement handles out of epoxy putty last time, and stuck them on top of the putty container and left them, which is why the color and lettering on the one on the right.  so this time i peeled them off and mixed up a smaller lump of putty, on the bottom left, to glue them on with.  i took the picture of the fresh putty while i was still mixing it.  you can see bands of lighter and darker gray.  it wouldn’t harden right if i left it like that, in case you’re interested.

here i’ve stuck half of the resulting lump of mixed putty on top of the built-up surface, which is the gray knob underneath the lump.  i built the knob up a few sessions ago, and now i’m gluing the replacement handle on with this new lump of putty.

you can see the new handle in place, still light gray, between the dark gray pump on the left and the dark gray piping on the right.

and here is the replacement handle, along with the knob and the lump, painted the same cadmium red as all the other handles and turnscrews and connector thingies..

next step was to paint everything.  like the old navy rule.  so i mixed up a dark gray out of black and white (duh, tho there are many ways to mix a gray), and went around to all the midsized pipes and hit them with gray. later i came back in and hit all the bumps and scrapes of the base with the same gray, to be covered over when i touched up the waves.  there were a lot of damaged bits, where the sculpture had been slung around by movers or whanged by kids.

the larger pipes had already been painted with an even darker gray.  the clamps were painted a lighter gray that i also used on the dolphin’s skin.

lots of pipes.  what looks like white – the smallest pipes – are painted silver, and really show up in natural light.  same for the flange bolts in the black flanges, and all the screws and fittings.

the mid gray went all over the dolphin’s skin.  this is a flipper.  there’s also his tail, and the back of his neck.  i came in with the lighter gray that went under his mouth, and painted the front of the fin lighter than the back.  it seems i was a little sloppy with the edges, riding the gray up over the shirt’s blue, but i would have come back in with blue later to correct it.  or not.  closeup there are no hard edges.

when i started on the repair, i found they’d stuck a pair of safety glasses on my dolphin.  i’d already considered and rejected this idea, because there was no way to firmly secure the glasses; the stems were too flimsy.  so i didn’t do it.  and it was the right choice, because they would have been ripped right off while they were on public display.  but in the confines of mckenney’s dining room, i think it’s safe to do, so first i tried liquid nails, but the glue didn’t want to stick, so i peeled it off and mixed up a little putty, and built it up around the earpiece and the indentation around the nose.  that was last time;  this time i painted it gray.

you’ll notice the coloring around the eye and along the bottom of the chin.  it’s way lighter than the coloring on the back of the dolphin, so they look sky-colored when seen from below and depths-colored when seen from above.  and there’s just no easy way to match that when repairing him.  so i had to repaint the skin on my dolphin.  i did this with a makeup sponge.  pat pat pat pat.  you can see how uneven it looks at first.

but as i continued to pat color on, it got thicker and less splotchy, and finally looked okay closeup, and just fine at a distance.

then it was time to paint the rest of him.  because of the yellowed acrylic topcoat (which so should have been covered by a professional auto topcoat), all the colors were gross and disgusting.  faded, yellowed, just yucky.  so i had to repaint the whole thing before i was satisfied.  but it wasn’t as much work as it sounded, because all i really needed to do was to glaze the existing colors with thin coats of stronger color, just to cover the gray.  the two boxes are all my acrylics.  i didn’t use hot sauce or pepper, and that’s my coffee and cheese toast in the background.  in the cup to the left are the various blues of the shirt – cerulean and pthalo and ultramarine and a little black.  the pigments are all transparent, especially when thin, and i simply brushed on a thin coat, brushed it out, and left it to dry.

see nice blue now.

see nice thin coat of raw umber and yellow ochre with white.

see nice cerulean skimmers

and the lovely prussian blue waves.  all these are thin coats of glaze color, unifying the forms and hiding the flaws.

and here he is, all repaired.  every little piece of him has been gone over, repainted, rebuilt.

even his badge and his phone and the georgia tech pin have been repinted, with very tiny brushes and a steady hand.

i just love this dolphin.  i have a clipping from their newsletter that shows him set up at a job fair, so i guess they’re using him as a mascot.  there’s nothing more gratifying than to see something you’ve really put some time into being appreciated and loved.

thanks, mckenney’s for letting me be involved with your family in such a special way.

fixing mcfinney 3

first let me apologize for the shaky photos.  it was quite dim in the place and i’m not a patient photographer.

the putty had the weekend to set up, and i went back in on tuesday to begin painting.  since most of the repair was on the small pipes that were originally silver, i put down black first, as a base under the silver.  it shows up better that way.

if you’ll notice the white blob in the extreme foreground, on top of the orange and blue buildout, that white blob is a cap of putty over a broken-off turn handle.  that’s the first step in rebuilding it.  on tuesday i mixed up some more putty for the actual handle, but stuck in on the putty container to set because it would have flopped over had i tried to build it onto the cap while wet.

below is another view of the repaired part.  it’s at this  point that i’m starting to look around at the crappy quality of the paint on the pipes, which has yellowed and whitened due to the acrylic topcoat not being protected from the weather like it should have, were it coated with auto-grade polyurethane the way it should have been.  you can see the whitening on the shoe surface.  acrylic isn’t a good final topcoat for anything left out in the rain, because it deteriorates quickly in the sun and water.  it still bothers me, so i continue to bitch about it.  and it’s prompting me to repaint the entire sculpture, which was not in the original repair request.  but it bothers me.

below, i have decided to go around and repaint all the flanges a solid black.

below, this means getting right up against the wall to paint the stuff that goes around to the back.

which required a bit of smooshing against the wall.  the picture below shows the black flanges, and also the dark gray large pipes, which i have gone around painting while the black flanges dried.

below is a continuation of the dark gray, which i also used for the small pipes attached to the blue pumps.

i’ll be going back tomorrow to continue painting, and will get the silver on, attach the handles, and repaint the rest of the pipes in lighter grays.  then i’ll have to tackle the waves and the body and clothes of the dolphin.  which will take some time.  but i can never see something i’ve done without wanting to go in and make several improvements.

so i’m having tons of fun visiting mckenney’s a couple of times a week.  it’s very quiet in the deli, where mcfinney stands, it’s way after lunch when i go in.  people come in for snacks from the vending machines, but they usually don’t even see me.  it’d be okay if some of them wanted to stop and talk, but they’re working, and keeping their noses to the grindstone like good employees.