lately i have been seeing a lot of tank time– leaving the house extra early to get out to the marina and get the boat in shape to go diving, guiding clients, and it has been seriously reducing my time for doing my stuff. i hear you saying to yourself– “big hairy bum fuzz, he gets to go out diving– don’t throw ME into that briar patch, bre’er wolf!!”– and indeed i do love to dive, love it bunches, but i get to miss doing what it is that i do.

so, it was with great joy that this morning i found that, due to some miscalculation on my part with the scheduling, that i didn’t have to go out and get wet– i mean, the water looked tre’s inviting when i went for a long walk, just to make sure that it was still there, but the prospect of getting to work on my sculpture was one great sensation, and i was excited about filling my eyes with stone dust.

and really, it wasn’t one of those days in which i get to break new ground and do something dramatic, cut some marvellous detailing into the stone or anything, really it was one of those days when i had to be a little machine-like to get what i wanted. once more i was working in the area between the body and the big stone that supports the leg of the upper figure. the open upper surface of the matrix area that composes the “base” of the work is cramped and difficult to reach in many places, but it needs to be given a somewhat even finish if i want to apply the texture it will end up having. at the same time it is not a flat surface, but gently modulated and rolling, with some more prominent “ripples” where it interfaces with certain parts of the piece– the big stone itself, or the body perhaps. i ended up going all the way around the right foot of the lower figure, between the feet, and emerging with the surface treatment all the way past the right side of the lower figure. it’s pretty painstaking and needs a lot of concentration, at times with my arm around one thing and my head thrust between a couple of other things, looking somewhat interesting to the neighbors and people wandering by in the street. i have lost count of how many times passers-by have inquired– “es orgia?”– basically– “is it an orgy?” well, no, i answer, it’s more the battle between the two natures of the artist, the long-suffering one and the one full of joy, and between them is the spirit of art, being formed by their hands manipulating the plastic substance that is the marble– all this in spanish of course. there is a silence usually, and then they grin like i have told them some sort of a joke, one they won’t be easily fooled by. sometimes over so many years even i have wondered if it is all a joke, my skin bloody and scraped, my eyes irritated with so much stone dust. there’s a great book by joyce carey, “the horse’s mouth”, about an artist called gulley jimson, who takes over an apartment while some people he knows have gone on vacation, and another sculptor moves a huge chunk of marble in and proceeds to cut it away to smaller and smaller pieces and ends up with almost nothing, and there are moments when i wonder if i am such a person– i have doubts at times. but i am still here, so far in the future now, and the end of this particular road is no longer the point, it is merely another stop along the way– i’m not worried about getting there, but enjoying the countryside as i amble along.

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