Saturday I went back to chasing, as I still wasn’t happy with some areas. Sunday was sandblast and patina for the sitting lady. I created a French Brown with brushed back highlights. This coloration came out so well I’m tempted to blast down the male & female figures with spheres and give them a French Brown as well. The two dogs contrast and complement eachother nicely in coloration and form. They won’t be installed til spring. They will be in the same forested “yard” as the single trout by a pond up in the mountains beyond Park City. They will be set on a large flat stone under a canopy of pine trees. Til then, they will reside in our sun room and continue to surprise the cat and the humans.
Patina day for the reclining lady. When we were finished she watched the sun set. All the heat went out of the day after 3:30, patina is difficult with temps near freezing so her pack-mate will have to wait. While watching her watch the sunset I became mezmerized by a weld-line I need to chase out again- grumble. I hope I can chase & re-patina the area without having to completely re-patina her.
The funny hair-matting of weld lines is all smoothed out.
Next is getting some stainless steel nuts to weld inside for basing (I thought I had some remaining from refitting the chicken’s Victorain houses- but no), then the dogs are ready for sandblasting. Sandblasting is also good for checking the chasing work, as it takes the entire finish to a nice even matt. Now all the chasing lines are shiny, which can fool the eye and hide areas that aren’t quite blended well enough.
Once the sandblast and any re-chasing and subsequent re-sandblasting is finished, all that is left is Patina- which is an art in itself…
Rainy and warm today, so back to the Lab lab to zip together the next gal. She came together easy enough, and afterward I could put the jack back in the truck. She hardly needed any hammer at all. Next I charged up the air tank and did a rough-grind on all the welds with a big cross-cut head, prepping for using a much smaller head to carve back in with hair texture and etc.
A storm was blowing in on Sunday, and the temp nearly reached 50 degrees- a great day to head out into the shop and work with the dogs. This little gal was determined not to sit and required a lot of training. If she had been better behaved, both Labs would be zipped together. Large wax shapes can distort just enough to never fit back together quite right, making the bronze forms challenging. The head/shoulders fit fine, but the larger weld called for strap clamps, an electric hoist, and a car jack to press from the inside. With tack-welds, a ball-pein hammer, and a nylon mallet I eventually trained her to sit again.
It was 16 degrees outside this morning, so the next Labrador will be in pieces till our next storm blows in later this week.
Saturday afternoon had warmed up just before sunset, and I went out to prep the pieces. I had to put it off til Sunday, as my favorite old angle-grinder finally threw in the towel. It had been in service making art happen since 1989- the old green Bosch 4.5 inch 7amp angle grinder gave a funny chirp as I turned it on and nothing more. I took the tool apart and cleaned all its points and brushes (something I’d done a few times before), but the salts from the big library mobile had burned her up. She had been a bit sporadic ever since helping me create that monster, even after a good cleaning. Her replacement was nearly another Bosch, but there were only 6-amp models in town, which would burn up. The next 20-plus years of medium-duty grinding will be up to a nice little 7 amp Milwaukee, who zipped out her job of prepping the seams without a fuss.
Scrounged up this old 9 foot long triptych from 1997 to see if I could bring it to a close. In September (Oct?) of ’96 I’d summited Mt. Elbert (14,400) with some buddies. Although it is the highest peak in Colorado, it is an easy hike with a constant grade and good trail. We camped out the night before- their tent wasn’t proof to a late night wind/sleet storm but they toughed out damp sleeping bags and warmed up on the trail. The blustery weather followed us up the peak, and snow settled upon the summit as we headed down. At the day’s end, back at the trailhead, the sun warmly dappled through forests of Aspen in high color, while rivers jumped clear and cold.
The photos of the paintings are a bit off, but close enough to get the idea. Using pure hues at full saturation was a challenge I used to grapple with, and it was silly fun to jump back into this “lost work”. Balancing out a composiotion with such colors is always a challenge, and in this instance there was an opportunity for reference-driven yellow (Aspen). Yellow is always a challenge to modulate, and to engage successfull in a composition. I felt the yellow required a strong use of the complentary color of Purple, which describes the viewer’s anchor point of Mt. Elbert itself sprawling through all 3 panels- which then allows primary colors of Red & Blue for surrounding alpine peaks. Then there is the temperature contrast of red plains to the stormy sky, and the complemtary contrast of green forests to red hills and plains. Yellow is modulated heavily, but the camera has trouble picking that up here. White was also a major player: as snow; day-old snow melting from the boulders on Mt Elbert, and fresh snow beginning to overlay recent snowfall on the surrounding peaks; and white as storm, with bright sun hitting clouds in the center panel to misty snow-verga dropping from cold storm clouds.
The ladies have returned and it is a bit chilly out in the shop, so I stay in the nice warm studio. Back in December I pulled out a triptych started in 1997- from an early October climb of Mt. Elbert; Colorado’s tallest peak at 14,440 feet. Utah’s little 12k peaks just don’t inspire me to climb them- sigh. I began the painting the next summer when I returned to the Boulder Watershed, no longer as Patrol, but retired to cook- which my knees creakily thank me to this day.
The painting process is mainly one of triage. I layed in the basics those 15 years ago, but it is a really large piece and once put away it never re-emerged. The best thing for it is probably to leave it as a historical/hysterical record and begin something new. It has a similar challenge to bringing the Alabaster works started in the same pre-Danger era up to Danger standards- although self-critial commentary is showing that I am moving into a Post-Danger era. In the Post-Danger era, revisiting “lost works” is acceptable as self-archeology blended with a type of pre-danger self-anhilation via revisitation.