a few days ago i wrote a friend, telling him that i felt like peter o’toole and omar sharif in “larry of the dunes (my personal title for one of my fave flicks, “lawrence of arabia”)”, trying to cross the endless-seeming nefud desert (the one that “cannot be crossed”)– and, hell– i’m really just beginning on this sucker!!
it’s been hot in cozumel lately– we skidded right from winter to summer without much of a stop. my time in the sculpture studio was brutal as the nefud, it seemed– and yet, how was i to know that it would get even worse? and even more puzzlingly, what would seem to have been a boon turned out to be more like jumping from the frying pan into the fire.

perhaps a week and a half ago i finished up the sculpting portion of my decades-long endeavor, the big piece of marble in my currently passing time in my carport. i was both pysched and stunned at it happening, almost without my knowing– there it was, done. the last few weeks had been taken up in doing various “repairs” to the piece. really, the word “repairs” does not sit right with me, as most of what i was doing was to account for stuff that had been part of the original piece of stone. in great part this consisted of a line of quarry holes drilled along the bottom of the piece– after a line of holes had been drilled, it was possible to “snap” a piece of stone out of the quarry, leaving the block without any mini-cracks and fractures one associates with more violent methods of removal. there was also one hole that i called the “wild quarry hole”, one that ended up right in the middle of one of the figures’ biceps. this i had to “cap”.you can see the hole in the left pic, and the oval-shaped cap on the right. i had no idea what the hell i was doing, but it came out all right, despite the futuristic glue, which was whiff enough to drop a buzzard off a shitwagon at 50 paces (a tip of the do-rag to george carlin for that little line), took eons to set up, and then when it did at last harden, it made a noise like the bustup of a huge mass of ice, only it gave off a lot of heat. the final “repair” was an area of the stone that was crumbly as old cheese. i’d left it til the last, so what i would do afterwards would affect it the least, but when i went to actually cut the stone it was obvious that it wouldn’t withstand anything, let alone carving and finishing. it had to go. with my heart in my mouth i chopped the piece of crumbly crap out and then, over a period of a couple of weeks, i trued up the divot and cut a replacement piece of marble to fit. truly glacial stuff, unbelieveably slow.again with the glue, again with the smell and heat and waiting waiting waiting for it to set, but i got a decent bond. then i began to cut it away.i love carving hands, they are so very expressive, and this one came along well, even if it changed a bunch of things– i had to make it look like it was meant to be there, and this required my recutting several different areas. lots of tension.i haven’t taken any finished shots of the hand, as it is merely a part of the whole, but it looks very good. and suddenly it was finished. that’s when i looked up for a change, only to see the nefud in front of me, endless and heartless. the anvil of the sun, and the long process of sanding was finally ready to begin. when i began this blog over a month ago, i had intended to speak about the sanding process, how difficult and arduous it is–AND IT IS!! but… it came out much more like whining, my friends, and so i shall cut this one short here, only to get on with another much more interesting bit of stuff than whining. i am planning on finishing up my piece by the end of the year, and i still stand by that. more to come soon…. rance

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