Monday, July 4, 2022

Getting Close to Home

 Getting Close to Home

Still scratching away at this piece, and it's looking like I'm close to the home stretch. The coil at the upper half of the figure is still a little ponderous. It's a flat heavy donut and needs to coordinate with the bottom half a little better. 
 


I'm exploring a couple or three ideas. Even at this stage, a lot of the work is just sitting and staring at the stone. Progress has been a little slow, what with getting the house and grounds ready for our July 4th BBQ.
 


 

 I'll probably have this on the shelf some time in the next couple of weeks. After that I'm forcing myself to step away from the carving table for long enough get the garage cleaned out. It's a mess. Not only that, I have to come up with a way to get the base cuts done on some of the new stones. The next two rocks are the  last of the stuff I got last September. Working them should carry me to the end of the year at least. They're both big, and heavy. I have a plan in mind for the 80 pound stone, but I'm still scratching my head over what to do with the 125 pound boulder. No doubt I'll come up with something.



Monday, June 27, 2022

Six O'clock Monday

 Six O'clock Monday

The week has been happily uneventful. What? You didn't pay attention to...
No. I did not. 
I did a good job of ignoring the shit show that is politics and current events.
But what about?...
Fuck it. I don't care.
Saturday was the closing reception for the show at the Whittier Art Gallery. I cleaned myself up, put on nice clothing, and attended. I always have mixed feelings about these events. There aren't many young people in the arts scene. The Art Association is mostly old farts like myself. There were a couple dozen people at the event, and most of them, young and old were masked. I cannot stand the sight of people wearing those filthy, ugly goddamn things. My hearing is poor, and all I can make out trying to talk to a mask is "mmmph, urgle muffurtha". I have a very difficult time holding back my disgust for these poor frightened souls. They are fine people, and I pity them. I try to have some empathy; I like them; they are my peers, my fellow artists. I mostly fail.
Anyway, here's progress on the stone for this week.





 The weather is heating up, and work is sweaty, and uncomfortable. Now if we can just get through July, August, and September. 
Patience. The time will pass quickly enough. Don't wish your life away.

Monday, June 20, 2022

A Mini Vacation

 A Mini Vacation

 Here's the latest progress on the new piece. I was having a little too easy of a time with this one, so I had to make my life difficult. I accomplished that by making a through-cut in the middle of the inside of the figure.



It's going to mean a lot of slow work in a confined space. I'll manage.
 
The I-5, Santa Ana Freeway, is the gateway to the 101 Northbound  through downtown Los Angeles. It sucks. Getting to the Santa Ana Freeway has always meant a miserable drive down Imperial Highway. Google maps insists that the closest route from our house to the Santa Ana is by going down Mills Avenue to Florence. I've lived here since forever, but I never went that way. Turns out Google maps is right. It's strange how difficult is was to force myself to take a "new" route. It just felt wrong. Odd way to begin a vacation.
But I wanted to go back to Art City Studios up in Ventura, and the only way to get to Ventura is to get on the 101 freeway. I have two stones to go from the first batch of five that I bought last September, and I wanted to get more before Art City has to close, or move. The property on which Art City sits has been sold to a Los Angeles developer. Old story here in California.
 
Ventura is not quite a hundred miles north of here, but fifty or more of those miles are through seriously shitty traffic. 
The last time Mary and I went up there I got stone in the early afternoon, and then we went up to Ojai for lunch before driving back. Bad mistake. It took almost four hours to get home. This time I figured on powering out of the house about three thirty in the morning, so I could get my business done and get back when the traffic wasn't so heavy. 
 
But Mary suggested we make an overnight trip out of it this time. What about the cats? What about the expense? Mary assured me that the cats could survive a little over twenty four hours in the house alone. She also reminded me that it's been forever since we got out of the house for an overnight date.
So we went first class, and  reserved a hundred dollar room at the Motel 6 rather than the bargain basement  eighty five dollar room at the Sandflea Inn. We hit the road just after ten Wednesday morning, and got into Ventura around half past noon. The guy at the motel let us check in early.
 
I've been housebound for too long. Being in Ventura felt like we were seriously out of town. Mary and I made like tourists, walked down to the beach, and had a mediocre lunch on the pier. I (former surfer) went old man style, and walked on the beach with my shoes on. 
Later on we had a very expensive good dinner beachside, and watched the sun set from the end of the pier.
 
Mary and I are serious coffee drinkers. It was one of the first signs that we were going to be compatible- we both loved the bean. Usually we spend over an hour in the morning sipping our way to consciousness. But we were in a Motel 6. It was a little after four in the morning. Neither of us slept well. The days of free weak coffee in the motel lobby are gone the way of eight track tapes.   Starbucks didn't open until five o'clock, and it was more than a mile away, all uphill from us, and no parking near Main Street. Mary is seventy three, and I'm sixty nine. We hiked. Starbucks wasn't yet open when we got there, but there was some crazy woman at the door, yelling at someone who wasn't there. Nothing was going to stand between us and caffeine. We got our stash, and found a quiet place to sit in the deep overcast. We finished our coffee, and took a slow walk past the antique stores, and down to the Mission San Buenaventura, founded in 1782 by Father Junipero Serra. The lights were on. Mass held at 7:30 in the morning.
Soon enough the first restaurants on Main street opened up, and we got breakfast.

We got to Art City just as they were opening up. The place makes me feel like a kid in a toy store. I could go nuts buying stuff. They had orange calcite in huge translucent slabs. It's beautiful material,but that's strictly power tool territory. I was going for three, or maybe four chunks of alabaster in the 50-80 pound rage. I ended up with seven stones for a total of just under four hundred pounds.


 There's some really beautiful material here. Should be enough to keep me going for well over a year.

Monday, June 13, 2022

Close, But No Disaster

 Close, But No Disaster

 

I've been poking away at the stone, putting in a few hours and then taking a step back to see where I've been and to plan where I'm going next. Friday I reached the point  where it was time to drill, so I put up, and let it sit. 
 

 
 
Saturday was The So Cal RatRod Ride. Attendance has been low for quite a while, now. Once again, it was just the club. Our ride meets up on the Santa Ana River bike path just two miles inland from the beach. The Santa Ana River jetty is the dividing line between Huntington and Newport Beach. We alternate between the two, one month Newport, the next, H.B. Huntington is where north Orange County goes to the beach. The city and state parks have parking for thousands of cars, and the bike path runs for miles along coast Highway above the open beach. People come from all over to go to HB.  
 But this Saturday was Newport. Newport is all narrow streets and beach housing, right down to the summer rentals on the sand. The Balboa Fun Zone is OK for food, and you can ride the little Ferris wheel, or get a giant soft ice cream with sprinkles.  The Balboa peninsula is quite upscale. The bike path ends in a beautiful little park at the entrance to Newport Harbor, and the home of the world famous body surfing beach, The Wedge. The streets are narrow, and parking is scarce. The only good part about cruising  Newport is The Wedge, and the girl watching. And as a side note, we've been going to The Wedge every other month for over ten years, and we've missed seeing big surf every single time. As for the girl watching, remember, I'm old. And I don't lech, if you know what I mean. But the wealthier neighborhoods just have better looking women. All well and good, but I'd rather have the less crowded path at Huntington. Even so, it was a good day. We put in about twenty miles On the stretch cruiser, that's a workout.
 

 
Sunday was back to work. As I mentioned earlier, I got to the point where it was time bore a few holes. This stone is thin enough that I didn't need to set up the big drill, and the jig. I have a very nice Ryobi battery operated drill that I bought a few years back when we were building the gazebo. It worked pretty well, but the batteries and/or charger crapped out about a year after I got it. So I'm back to using my 1960's vintage 3/8 hp Craftsman plug in. 

My aim with the drill is not as good as it once was. Two out of three holes went just right, but when I drilled for the large opening in the top spiral I veered off course, and drilled almost 1/4" low into what I was afraid was the wall of the coil.
That was one of those moments when you get that sweaty flush, like when you hurt yourself, or you see a cop car flashing lights in the rearview mirror. Now, the whole wall had to be shaved down to the level of the bottom  of that hole. *gulp* 
Nothing for it except to get the rasp, and start excavating.

 


*SIGH OF RELIEF*
I didn't fuck it up. 
hooray
This week Mary and I are  going back up to Art City in Ventura. We'll make a mini vacation of it, and get a motel at the beach. I have two more stones to go after this project, but I want to pick up three or four more. I like the California stone, but I'd really love to get hold of some Utah, or New Mexico rock. We'll see what they have.


Tuesday, June 7, 2022

Can't keep a deadline

 Can't keep  a deadline
I'm taking a pause Tuesday morning to slap out some quick excuse for a post. I try to keep regular with a note every Monday morning, but my self discipline is breaking down under all the strain.
 What strain would that be?
Gimme' a minute, I'll think of one. I've been cutting back on internet these last few days. The news continues, and all of it generates either anger, or anxiety. I don't like either. I've noticed that the news does not change whether I pay attention or not. So I'm opting for minimal attention
Not much to report on the stone this week. I got just so far, and reached that place where I need to stop, stare and draw, and then stare and draw some more. I used up a most of a colored pencil.



 The lines don't sit right just yet. But they will. Patience. I bought myself a ticket to trouble by making the spiral at the top coil into into itself before passing through the outer wall near the bottom of the spiral. Just means a lot of time with small tools. I'm also looking ahead to the next two projects, making plans, exploring ideas, and stuff. And there may be another trip to Ventura in the near future.  Stay tuned, rock fans.