Friday, December 14, 2012

all but done

Well, the mountain wall is finished for the most part. We still need to touch up ever so lightly one or two spots on the last panel (far left in the image), mostly so it will match the adjoining sections on the panel next to it.

I expected to feel elated or at least relieved but what I'm fighting off, trying to hold in abeyance, is disappointment.

This whole process, after the carving is done, is so subjective. For one thing, these panels are so big and heavy that there is no way to put them all together to see how well the tones are matching. We look at the one in the sandblast booth, then go look at the adjoining panel on the rack, trying to hold the density in mind. More? Does it need more? Does it match, too much?

Everything is so dusty. After he blasts, I dust off the surface with a bench brush but there's no getting to the back of the panel where dust also collects. We try to mitigate that by putting clean black paper on the blast booth wall and replacing the protective film on the back of the panel so it's clean also before he does the softer tones. But of course, after he blasts the first time, dust starts to collect again.

So we have been taking the protective film off the backs again and photographing each panel as we finish and then compare the photos to see how well they match and then making adjustments the next trip in. But even doing that it's hard to decide because the photos are taken on different days with different light conditions that we cannot control. The smooth side we are photographing wants to reflect the wall of the shop and while the first two panels were photographed with a bare white wall, the last two were photographed with the two finished panels against the wall which subtly changes the intensity of the tones. Not to mention the reflection of the extruded metal stored high up on that wall and of course, my own reflection.

This I do know. The lightest tone on the third panel (second from left in the image) is too heavy. There is nothing we can do about this and we are both and neither at fault as we constantly consult until we either agree or just quit in a fog of indecision. There is no erasing with sandblasting so now, in order for the fourth panel to match it must also be too heavy, at least where they join up. This is what glares at me, that the other main area of the lightest tone is too heavy.

This I suspect. That the lightest tone on the first panel (far right in the image) may be too light. It looks that way in the picture (I didn't adjust the brightness or contrast at all fearing that I will diddle with them til they match when they don't) but when we went back the next week and looked at the actual panels again we each agreed that they looked similar enough. I'm resisting the urge to unwrap that one and look again.

Next week, we will go back, make our final evaluation/adjustment and call them done, clean them, seal them, wrap them and arrange for pick-up.

I'll withhold judgement til installation during which I will be a nervous wreck until I can see if we did well or not.

the mountain wall, 16' x 9'

the photograph of the mountain we worked from


  1. Well I think they look pretty spectacular - but you're right, you won't know exactly until they're all together side by side. What a lot of work!

  2. Wow, what a nerve wracking job this is. They look perfect to me as I'm sure they will to the company as I think we tend to be our own worse critics. At least I hope that is the case here. :)

  3. Wow.. it looks wonderful to me. I love the work you do.

  4. To my uneducated eye, they look pretty amazing! Like any artist, you probably see tiny faults in your work on a grand scale -- I bet the average observer wouldn't even notice them. I can't wait to see what they look like all together!

  5. All I can say is...WOW!!
    And I know how it feels to be "done".
    When working on large pieces like is difficult and frustrating and challenging...but oh so exciting!
    I am sure this will all end perfectly
    Congrats on finishing

  6. My, it is most absorbing and laborious this work of yours. Congratulations on getting to the end; and since it is a rendering, your final product cannot just match the picture. It is an interpreted- original, with its own personality and imperfections.
    I know I would love it~

  7. That is one heck of an undertaking girlfren. It looks great to me.

  8. Can't wait to see the installation!

  9. Ellen, they are wow awesome. I can not imagine all the hours you put into them. I hope the installation goes great for you. wishing you a Merry Christmas and sending you a hug.

  10. Woud you call yourselves perfectionists?
    I suppose that’s what true artists have to be, but they also have to know when to stop, don’t they?

    Not being an artist I wouldn’t know.

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