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This 4’x3; painting was begun last fall, and then I was crowded out by the plants coming in for the winter. With the plants out on the deck for the summer, I’ve been back at it for awhile now and thought I’d post some progress picts.

Mount Arikaree and Arikaree Glacier are the subject of this painting. I’ve summited this 13 thousand foot peak more than 20 times. After the last ice age 10,000 years ago, the glacier retreated into its cirque. Glacial meltwater passes through the talus field to emerge on the low shoulder of the mountain with only 1 part per billion of sediment- some of the cleanest water imaginable. Colorado State University’s Alpine Research Center is based in this glacial watershed, and last year they predicted Arikaree Glacier would be gone by 2025, with the sister valley’s Arapaho Glacier meeting its end soon after. I was the protector of these glaciers and their watersheds from my 18th birthday though to my 30th; I kept individuals from leaving physical footprints and infecting the watershed with giardia, but all the billions of humanity’s footprints are stomping it into oblivion now. While painting I’m streaming interviews with arctic / antarctic scientists, biologists documenting the 6th Mass Extinction, investigative climate journalists, climate activists such as Extinction Rebellion, Dark Mountain poets and authors; keeping my head in the game of reality while memorializing the heart of the mountain, already so much smaller, and ever smaller, and gone. Climate Collapse is finally obvious in everyone’s back yard, and if your back yard is alpine wilderness, it is already over. There is a white-hot place in my mind now that wasn’t there in my patrol days, a spot the glaciers kept cool, and now with them dying- it is a strange inescapable light, an ultraviolet long wavelength, a wave form of oblivion.

This is the underpainting combined with blocked in color from last fall, just a few layers along. Before any painting, I had to create the “canvas”- MDF sanded and primed, and a new hanging system using a French Cleat on the back ( I may go back through my other large paintings and retrofit them with French Cleats as well).
Acrylics allow opacity or thin transparent washes, so I’m going back and forth a bit with bold areas of saturated color followed with multiple transparent washes to tone and shift.
Eventually I hope it will feel as if the sun is setting far below us, shining back up to the mountain- creating the indigo/violet/magenta spectrum that can’t be seen on any other solid object save a high mountain at sunset/sunrise. Unless you are there seeing it, it will seem impossible and even fake- however within the large field of this painting I am pushing and pulling with value/intensity/saturation and hot/cold contrasts trying to find an immersion that allows the odd sensation of being there in that strange light. These pure colors are invisible to the eye in the white light of day, and occur only when the sun has already set and is long past the horizon for all the lower elevations, allowing these wavelengths of light that vibrate on the extreme ends of the visible spectrum to reveal themselves with a clarity that stuns the imagination. Still a long way to go…

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This is the view to the South East. There are water fowl and song birds everywhere, just not anywhere in the picture.

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From the front the Ibis is just a vertical bronze line (flanked by a circle), along the dry stream.

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At some point the line gives way to a curiosity of birdness.

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Just walking up from the marsh…

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I put the turn wheel in place and secured it’s tightening screw with locktight glue: ready for action.

 

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The corten steel wall and raw wood beam window complement the Ibis nicely. I took this shot from underneath a truck. The concrete drive was packed with vehicles and construction workers, as this is supposed to be the last week for construction.

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I hefted some boulders from a pile out in the parking lot and piled pebbles till the concrete base blinked out.

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He has tall orange stakes around him, taken out for the pictures- lets hope he stays out of traffic.

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He is at just a little angle to the concrete, which swings his wheel out just enough to discourage casual spinning, while allowing the magic vertical line view from the front as people descend down between the buildings. I’ll head back out when the site is finished and take more shots.

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Just wondering again where that concrete base went.

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That structure is a Blue Heron nesting complex, full of Blue Herons. On the water is a flock of White Pelicans.

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This marsh opens to Farmington Bay, and out to the Great Salt Lake. Antelope Island is in the distance. This is right along one of E & I’s bikerides- the bike trail comes all the way from Salt Lake City (ending in about a mile at the Lagoon amusement park), and runs along the boundary of the Nature Center. Guess we’ll be saddling up to visit the Ibis!

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Sushi delivery.

Yesterday (Friday) I drove to the foundry for the final / finally / finale of fins. I pile them all to the front in case highway traffic screeches to a halt in the classic “crack the whip” of a random slight speed drop leading to near/complete stoppage for those behind. Since speed limits were raised to 70 this happens exponentially more often.

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Saturday’s catch.

This is the first of the three trout that had parts blow out during metal pour, and needed new midsections / heads / tails fitted in wax and recast in bronze. The foundry’s production manager wasn’t satisfied with the fit of the cast sections, so he fit and welded the big sections of the body/head himself. The only structural welding for me is the window into the head, filling all the pinholes, and putting the tail on.

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Ready for school.

Second from the L is today’s trout; one of the best so far. The far L trout is different than last we saw. This was the skinny fish of a few posts back, and he is all figured out now. He had his side cut off via plasma-cutter, the other side stretched with hammers, the cut off side stretched with hammers, and then all welded back up. This is an aspect of why the remaining 3 fish came back with the volume issue fixed by the production mngr.

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Inspector Stanley says I can hang it up for the day.

Sunday’s fishing will see a tail swish opposite to these. None of these four are finished, but they have all major processes handled.

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The easy one. five to go.

Today was a fun-weld day, following many hohum-weld days coupled with doldrum days of chasing fins and grasses. Once all the bits and parts of major sections are perfect, then the parts are welded together, and though the welds are long, they just need smoothed out.

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Goldfish.

The only tackle needed is a hammer.  He was biting on the medium ball pein today.

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Finished halves welded together.

Welding the windows and chasing out the grasses to match is a bit of a chore. The two nearest hoops are new, the one behind is a left over from years ago (still needs some chasing). The new halves were joined along the midline in the rocks, which still need chased. I’ve been limiting my time-on-tool and wearing my new vibration deadening gloves, and things are going swimmingly.

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Half of the fish and 2/3 of the hoops.

The trout suffered a version of whirling disease while at the foundry and only half of them and two hoops could be salvaged. My meticulously formed wax trout made it through wax sprew, ceramic shell, burnout, but bronze pour blew out the sides of the ceramic shell (one of the rare places where Total Fail can occur). My last run of 10 trout and 7 hoops had no issues, this time around saw 50% mortality.

So last Friday I drove out to the foundry and we sorted through the parts that survived and grouped them out into parts that match and parts that almost match. We came up with three workable trout, and two spare heads and a tail fin. I brought the mold along and the foundry will create the wax bodies to match the heads, as well as making one entire trout. This is not the normal easy process of making identical forms by slurrying wax into a mold. The trout are all different and have to be done half by half all by hand, painting in layer by layer, with the mold slung over the curving/recurving platform, then the halves are joined. The process is posted three blogs back, or just tap the Cutthroat link on the sidebar.

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Only one fish is made of matching parts.

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A disappointing catch.

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The stainless steel pole has been in studio for a week, awaiting the fish.

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Wild-farmed vs Ocean-Farmed; I’ll use my CRISPR to combine them into one genome.

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A fish and his stream, still in stream of consciousness.

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Chasing bronze causes nerve damage that can lead to amputation. I have waited for my Cestus Tremblex gloves to arrive before I really jump into the metal work.

OSHA has noted that vibrating tools cause irreparable nerve damage, and glove mnfctr has not really moved beyond impact protection: except for Cestus gloves. My hands go dead (can’t even ride my bicycle as my hands catch fire then go dead from road vibration) and I am on my way “white finger”. Limiting my time on-tool and these gloves should go a long way to keeping my hands alive. Handses: the key tool.

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My one fish of matching parts has all pinholes filled and windows welded back in place.

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Streams with windows and pinholes welded out. I’ll chase them all out before I join the halves.

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Pins are all pulled, windows refitted to their holes, and edges are ground clean and bevelled. The tail is from a failed casting.

It snowed last night, and has been spitting snow all morning. This makes for a cold shop and my motivation level reached “blogging update”. Plus, chasing is the worst…

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These two remaining fish are Frankenstein Fish; I’ll be grafting remains of casting survivors.

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This tail goes with a head missing its midsection; this section lost the tail- so I’ll graft it.

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Broad Canyon Fire. Acrylic. 24″x48″

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some sense of the perspective; near = fire/sunlit crazy smoke you are about to pass under, far is miles and miles of smoke heading to distant mountains.

Redo of the last post with an image 5x denser; the sun is now red and the vaseline view is clarified.

This is ten days of painting, but who’s counting…

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Bluebirding Storm on easel.

On a late afternoon bluebird house expedition (house is just left of center) this storm brewed up over the mountains and shot out a large arm reaching over the ranch to blot out the sun. Rain misted the air under the vast arm turning the sky beneath it a brilliant gold, while a premature twilight of the cloud’s shadow swept the landscape. The breeze fell away and the stillness was broken by the booming of thunder resonating from beyond the horizon.

It was a landscape that challenged me to paint the mood of it, and after spinning in pre-art miasma for a few weeks I finally toughened up and got to painting. The painting is in acrylic and 12″x48″, a new format for my work as my new camera has a panoramic feature. This brings a whole new challenge, as the light changes dramatically across the expanse.

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Bluebirding Storm

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Collage from circle die-cuts and scissors of bulls fighting in a corral; derived from a 1998 photo taken while on the Montana Angus Tour representing my father’s purebred outfit, Alpine Meadows Angus. The color transfer is a bit dull, and the focus soft- the weirding of digital images across platforms.

The sunroom is now cool enough during the day to allow painting to begin, so I thought I’d procrastinate on painting by finish out this collage. E was the engine behind getting this one started; she has wanted me to paint this image for years, as it has been up on my art’n wall forever. She suggested we collage it and pushed past my art-entropy malaise. We ducked out into the studio on weekends during the worst July heat, then brought it down to the basement to round out the Olympics. Collage is a great team art project where she sorts out all the color options then uses the die-cuts to amass shapes from the colors we select. We also tag-team on gluing; once I know where a piece will go, she paints the glue on the back of the piece and I lay it in. This keeps the meticulous pace moving at a rate that is actually bearable. Usually we work Non-Referentially, or what is commonly mislabeled as Abstraction. This image IS an Abstraction, where I drew out the image and laid in the shapes that referred to actual forms; a pair of bulls fighting I photographed 18 years ago. It is the first time we have gone Abstract with our collage efforts.

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Sequential Casting of Peter, long unfinished with an arm lost during casting- gets a new arm!

Marble arm prosthetic for the bronze figure. I wasn’t sure if it would work, but he says it feels almost normal. He is contemplating whether he wants a Marble foot as well.

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The new arm is cast in Marble. 

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The marble to bronze fitting took quite a bit of fussing. A casting window on the ball is filled with Marble as well.

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Part of both hands and a section of the ball were also seamed in place.

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A casting window on the calf gets a Marble plug.

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The shined bronze is from fitting the stone; another process mark.

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Meanwhile; Spring.

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Tulips at the edge of Iris.

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Morning Glory Natural Bridge. Acrylic on board. 32″x49″ 2015 (with some final tweaks yesterday)

After nearly a year of hanging on the wall, problem areas and fixes amassed and I set up the easel and went back into it. Now the yellow wall on the L recedes from the central bridge, the central form of the tree is warmed a bit tying it to the sandstone as it had drifted too far into the realm of the sky, and subtle tweaks to how the stone forms meet the edge of the picture plane at the top of the composition to project the mass out and overhead. Also, I wanted to reshoot it with my new/used camera: a Sony NEX-7. My old first digital camera (2007) was killed by the airlines on the flight to KS for Xmas, and Wichita has a great used camera store= Santa-self says: Merry Xmas art nerd, now you can take great pictures of your mediocre little hobby.