Aug

27

in fact, most bodily fluids get massaged into or spewed upon a sculpture as it moves from block form to a finished state– i guess that i haven’t ever peed upon the sucker though, and as for…..– well, i have heard that pre-christ christians used to have orgies and then “baste” their idols with their precious bodily fluids. although this is an interesting image and notion, i haven’t done that either. yet.offseason has sortuv descended early upon the island, and so after my morning walkabout, where i have been shooting pictures, i end up in my sculpture studio. i’ve been getting mega-hours in there, concentrated and intense hours, and i have been doing some great carving, unfortunately it may well be wasted upon the viewing audience, as for the most part i have been churning away along the side of the “matrix” area– the part of the sculture that the lower form is embedded in. i have been moving a fair amount of stone, and making these sides a sortuv sculpture in themselves– causing it to undulate and slither like the reptile woman in the peep show at the carnival.it has a definite movement and flow. now, if i could only figure out what i am going to do with all these quarry holes– when they mine these blocks for sculpture, or even just for cutting into tiles, they first drill a row of holes in the stone before “snapping” it off along this line.in this photo you can perchance see five out of the six holes that formed this line. i guess i can fill them up, but they are going to show somewhat i am sure. my current thinking is to fill them, but to immerse the work in sand when it is finally shown, to a depth enough to cover them up for the most part. this area will be textured with a “frosting” tool or tools, which look somewhat similar to a meat tenderiser, either on the head of a hammer or on the end of a chisel, and it gives a coarse texture.as i say, the carving itself has been very good, and i have been going to town on it. here, underneath the head of the lower figure, is a piece whose design i used some gaudi-like notions on– i read an old british magazine a year or two ago that spoke of how he arrived at some of his organic designs. fascinating, it lodged in my brain somewhere and suddenly there it was spewing out, bubbling out, flowing out– the stone cut easily in there, something it doesn’t do everywhere along this bottom part. i think that the heat from the drill bits (even though they use a lubricant/cooler– looks a little like a wax to me, as some of it is still lodged inside those holes) has affected the crystaline structure in there in places, making the stone flaky and unpredictable– stone doesn’t have a “grain” similar to wood, but it does indeed have a way it likes to be cut, only it can change suddenly as you go from one spot to another. i went all the way around the piece, and am doing at least a partial second pass along the sides, refining and modulating, incorporating the ideas that i have evolved during this orbit.but the terror is growing in that little studio behind the blue iron gate at rancho rance-o– this piece is slowly edging its’ way towards completion. when i am finished doing the sides of the matrix area, there are a few little jobs remaining– some repair work, or i guess you could call it fixing up problems which have always been a part of this chunk of marble– a wild quarry hole, for one. but then, then, then it will be time to begin the actual finishing of the stone. this is frightening enough, as you can just imagine all that surface area i must sand– over and over again, with finer and finer grades of paper– i am going to lose almost all the skin on my fingers in doing this, not looking forward to it. but what the hell am i going to do when it is all over? by the time i finish with it, sometime next year i calculate, i shall have lived with it for about 20 years (i bought it and drug it home in january of 1992!!!)– more than a third of my life, if you want to be melodramatic, and my life will be changed when i put the last coat of wax on parts of the surface. mind you, i haven’t worked upon it for all that time– i have had other projects, many sculptures for instance, and my jewellery/drawings/paintings/all the rest of the shit i do, plus i damaged my back somewhat at one time, working on it, very painful and a lot of rehab to restore it to the state it is now (not fabu, but i can live with it), so i put it down for a while. when i was selling my house and moving down here there was a further hiatus– BUT IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN THERE, BEGGING AND GOADING ME, ALL THAT TIME!! what will i do when it is done. a tickle of fear creeps up my spine at times, thinking about it.but enough of my fears, i’m just being obsessive, as is my wont. one thing i have been doing of late is putting together another folder for my photobucket site– this one all about cozumel, and there are quite a few good images in there. i think you could access it by going to www.photobucket.com and looking up my files via my user name– ranceroo– try it out, won’t you? tired now, i didn’t expect to write this all in one session, but i guess i was ready to put cyberpen to cyberpaper and spew. will talk to you again in the not too distant future i hope

Aug

4

THESE ARE NOT ACTORS!! THEY ARE REAL PEOPLE!!

well, the long-anticipated and waited-for trip to isla mujeres has come and gone– i’ve been back for over a week now, and am just now finding a little time in which to write about the experience. but perhaps “experience” is not the right word, as i had taken trips out of holbox to see the whale sharks in the past, but i had heard that it was somewhat different. and i HAD tried last year to check it out– take a look at my old blog “awwww, ratzzz!!”– maybe not quite spelt that way, but you get the idea. still, isla mujeres had been a good time for me, and so i took heart and decided to check it out again.

and so i left cozumel, trailing a variety of people– the sharkbaiters as i call them, little buncha people out of iowa, my girlfriend lynda and several other odds and sods– the ferry to the mainland, then by bus to cancun, and taxi to the second ferry over to the island– a matter of about maybe 3 hours really, although it might seem a little longer coming back all tuckered out. much more convenient than holbox, although not quite the same “feel”– holbox laid back, a tetch dumpy and much more comfortable– isla mujeres a bunch more uptempo, a little higher scale dumpy in my opinion, but also interesting to walk the streets of. once again i stayed at the world-famous hotel d’gomar, as did all the other victims, assembled here for the “official crew shot”well, mayhap not quite WORLD famous….

beverages optional, repeatedly optional. some chips that had obviously lain in someone’s store window since the gettysburg address and assorted other munchies. everyone left alone for almost an hour until it was time to go looking for some dinner– “la lomita” or some such, i remembered it from the last visit, and the black bean soup as fine as ever, also the fish tacos and a couple of bottles of something cold. the service not exactly the ritz, nine people putting the waiter a little “in the weeds”, but plenty of laughter to make up for anything.

i was up early the next morning to test the coolth of the sand betwixt me toes, take a look around the island and relax, aided and abetted by one of the famed sharkbaiters (truth be told, THE bull goose looney sharkbaiter hisself!!), and then up on the roof of d’gomar’s pile to shoot the town while the sun began to leap up out of the blue ocean– the water so shallow it is quite teal for long distances, courtesy of all that bright sand.

8:00 a.m. and we arrived at the pier, shipshape and ready to rumble. the boat and boat captain i had anticipated not there, but rather another, captained by toro (bull), driven by cholas (this means “mestizo” or “half caste”, but i was informed that in the vernacular it referred to the size of his head, which was of grand proportion indeed, a true yucatecan head. as a sidebar though, my most enduring– not to mention endearing– memory of cholas was when he leaned over to rig a rope at the bow and blessed us all with a huge “plumber’s butt” of truly EPIC proportions!!), his son. two stroke motor though, and plenty of burned oil smell, but i was to find both of the crew to be quite adept and helpful and easy to get along with– they knew their stuff and i was impressed with how they handled things– the boat and all the snorkelling etc.

bang bang bang!! went the boat, a launch, as we revved it along, heading out to see the whale sharks– hard on the kidneys, and reminiscent of why i don’t much head out to dive on fast boats too much these days. a shorter trip than from holbox though, and toro kept telling me how much superior the clarity of the water was than coming out of holbox– i had a good memory of how cloudy and green that water could be, and was excited to see the whale sharks in their entirety (of course, i have been recently informed that the boats coming out of holbox go further, out of the gulf waters, and also enter into the clearer caribbean depths, don’t want to give the wrong impression here). it took a total of about an hour and twenty minutes to reach the site. and there they were, one or two at first, and some of us jumped into the water and pedalled around with the whale sharks. just small groups, twos and threes, to keep the stress from the sharks to a minimum– but the feel of being in the water with such magnificent animals immensely satisfying– they seem to be motoring along in a mellow manner, but one can only keep up with them for a couple of seconds before they slide on past, wagging their large-scale tails behind them. to see them in the clear water was like a magical opening into another dimension, hard to believe that you were actually there, having it happen up close and personal. i took as much advantage of my turns as possible (pain in the front of my ankles all week, i kicked so hard, making finning as a guide this last week somewhat of a trial– but worth every moment!!), we all did, finally wearing out and lolling back on the boat cushions as the boat turned round and made for port once again. we’d seen something in the range of 50-60 “wee beasties”.
sandwiches were served, basic whale shark launch lunch, but later there was some decent ceviche closer to land, even better when we spiced it up with some good habaneros picados.

unfortunately i had to return to cozumel that afternoon, some prior engagements, and as i mentioned earlier, the trip back seemingly considerably longer, but the weariness leavened considerably by being able to stop in at our fave east indian food place in cancun and chow down on something curry. however, the sharkbaiters stayed behind and went out again the next day, reporting an even better time– this time the motor was a 4 stroke and not so hard on the lungs or stomach.

and there you are– isla, your whale sharks left me agape, mouth wide open, wanting to go back for more– in time, in a little time……