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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 228 - 231

228. It was obvious that he was very proud of this line of poetry of his, and repeated it to me several times with urgency, examining my face to see if I understood how great it was.

229. Then he said, “When my Language Arts teacher read this line she said that I would have a brilliant career as a poet if I chose to go in that direction.”

230. Well, I chose to be a surgeon, and I am a great surgeon as everybody knows, but I could have been a great poet if I had chosen that path.

231. I was quick to agree with him in order to put an end to what I felt was an embarrassing conversation, but that was far from the end of it.

Monday, May 30, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 224 - 227

224. It did not surprise me that her husband had such negative ideas about his wife’s concerns; it was obvious to me that he considered all of his wife’s art interests to be simply social activity, the same as a bridge club.

225. But it was much more complicated than I could have ever imagined. After telling me the high points of their argument she added this: “I came into the kitchen this morning and he had some old papers and notebooks of the table that he was looking through.”

226. He handed me a faded mimeographed booklet from junior high school, he was listed in the content page because of a poem he wrote.

227. His poem in the booklet was called “The Cat’s Shadow,” and in the poem there was the line, ‘the shadow of the cat, was more catlike, than the cat.’

Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 220 - 223

220. She was in the habit of calling her husband ‘The Good Doctor.’

221. “He simply does not understand that he is asking me to do something which is not possible, and it is actually unethical, unprofessional, na├»ve, simpleminded, stupid…” Here she ran out of adjectives with which to condemn her spouse.

222. I said nothing, but it was apparent that the two of them had a serious argument; the kind of argument wherein things are said that should never be said in a relationship.

223. He said that her artwork was pointless, stupid and a waste of time and money, and now that she had a real opportunity to use her drawing skills for the advancement of science, she refused.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 216 - 219

216. About a week later Agnes came to class and I noticed right away that she was especially upset about something. She had not bothered to comb her hair that day.

217. Agnes had frizzy hair, white sprinkled in all over, and usually kept in place by being tied in a knot. She always had a pencil stuck in the knot. On this particular Saturday, there was no knot, and no pencil, and she had the look of a gypsy woman running from the police.

218. We sat together, alone in the studio. She was sitting on a table, and I was sitting on a stool. On the table was an unfinished head of a woman in red clay that had fallen on the floor, and all the features were smashed over to one side.

219. The clay head should have been wrapped in plastic, but instead, I think it had been abandoned. Agnes said, “I have stopped doing the Good Doctor’s shadow drawings.”

Friday, May 27, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 212 - 215

212. I thought at first that she was very pleased with her work for her husband, but gradually it became apparent that he felt everything she was doing was a failure in one way or another.

213. “How can the drawings not be failures,” she asked me in an exasperated tone. “Shadows have a purpose, the blackness of shadows, destroying the edges of things, tells us exactly what we do not know.”

214. To draw exactly things obscured by shadow is simple to lie to yourself and others. You are going to see what you want to see there, or what it is you hope to see.

215. He is asking me to create from my imagination, what does not even exist.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 208 - 211

208. His wife came to his rescue saying that it was a drawing in sepia chalk. That was the only time I ever talked to Doctor Festini, and from then on he avoided me.

209. I think that Agnes suspected that I was not comfortable around her famous husband, and soon after she began to talk about him during our conversations after class, conversations that were becoming longer and more involved each week.

210. When she began to talk of her husband, it was haltingly at first, and consisted mostly of mentions of the numerous important things he was doing all the time.

211. There was some project he was involved in that required of Agnes that she do a series of drawings to “explicate the refinements of echo technology, especially in the shadow areas.” I think that is what she said, but I’m not certain.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 204 - 207

204. I asked if it was a pencil drawing, or a charcoal drawing. What did I care what Degas used on his drawing, what difference did it make to me?

205. I asked the question of the Doctor simply because I suspected he would not know the answer, and probably did not even know what it was a drawing of.

206. I was positive he purchased the drawing, not to look at it, but simply to talk about it, simply to talk about it with people who were interested in art.

207. He did not answer my question, but an expression passed across his face like someone who has been asked an innocent question the answer to which can lead to a malpractice suit.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 200 - 203

200. My wife detested Agnes, but not for any specific reason. Everyone in the room at the openings was in a different class that myself, so perhaps that was the reason.

201. Agnes’ husband was a well know surgeon in our town, and had done something important in the past, or else he had written some articles in medical journals at one time.

202. I did not like him, but for an odd reason. Every single time he attended the openings he always found on opportunity to talk about the Degas drawing he owned, and how mush he loved both the drawing and Degas.

203. There was something about this talk of the Degas drawing that got on my nerves to such an extent, that one time I asked him a question about it. It was a seemingly innocent question, so I do not think he noticed my evil intent.

Monday, May 23, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 196 - 199

196. The piece of painted sidewalk, I had titled, “”Icon of my Childhood.”  My first title was simply, My Childhood,” but Agnes wanted me to add the work Icon, so as to make it more art knowledgeable.

197. As usual, I gave in to my teacher about the title, but still I preferred the original title, because I thought that the thing I had made was a part of my being a child, and if I had had my way I would have put chalk hop-scotch lines on it rather that the splattered paint.

198. The splattered paint, like the title, was my teachers attempt to make the thing more relevant to the art community.

199. At the time I was in my third year of taking sculpture classes at our museum, and so I was in the habit of attending all the various openings every month. Mrs. Festini was always there with her husband, and so it was almost always necessary to say something to them each time. For this reason my wife, who always came with me, knew my teacher quite well.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 192 - 195

192. I managed to get my piece of sidewalk down from the back of the truck and onto the hand truck without destroying it.

193. I would like to make a note here to others about my experience, which is: do not try to lift and move extremely heavy objects when in a state of abject terror.

194. I managed to get the job done, but I hardly survived the experience, and did not fully recover for three and a half days. 

195. In the museum I delivered my ‘Object,’ which was neither a painting nor a sculpture, but the staff there was very impressed with it, and handled it like it was King Tut’s sarcophagus I think they were just being polite however, and would have acted the same no matter what I gave them.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 188 - 191

 188. I said, “How much sand?” He answered, “you can add half by volume, even more, it can’t hurt.”

189. I made some experiments, and I cast a few small things and made them almost two thirds sand, and one part plaster. The result looked exactly like the cement you see in a sidewalk, it was a one to one match.

190. When it came time to cast my 5 foot by five foot plaster square of sidewalk, I utilized the same formula, and the result was beyond my hopes, for a convincing texture and color, but even when the moisture went out of it, I could hardly lift it up.

191. I moved it around with great care, using one of those hand trucks you see being used to get refrigerators up a flight of stairs.

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 184 - 187

184. I got lost in Detroit. I expected the trip to take three hours, but I was driving around for about six hours, and when I got to the parking lot of the museum my teeth were chattering, and I was unable to keep myself from shaking.

185. Then I had to get the thing out of the back of the truck. I do not know how much it weighed, but it was like trying to pick up a piece of sidewalk from a city street.

186. Most of my sculpture that I made in plaster was very light, but I had become annoyed with the lightness of my things. I thought, “If I cast it in Styrofoam it would look exactly the same, but nobody would take it seriously, including myself."

187. At the building supply store where I was buying my plaster of paris, the man there suggested I add sand to my plaster. He said it would make it have more of a stone like finish, and make it stronger.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Captain's Sculpture, parts 180 - 183

180. But there was the question of the prize I was going to receive. I asked Mrs. Festini about it, and her surprise was almost more upsetting to me, than my wife’s reaction.

181. Oddly enough, like my wife, her first reaction was that it might be a mistake, and I would find out on the night of the opening, when the various ribbons were awarded.

182. I had to drive up to Detroit to deliver my picture to the museum. Detroit is about two hours north of my town, but even so, I had hardly ever been there, and was apprehensive of getting lost.

183. Also my sculpture, done entirely in the studio, was too big for my car, so I had to rent a truck to drive it up there.