A note about the blog.
This blog is an account. It's being constructed concurrently with a small body of steel garden sculptures that I have the good fortune of making while somewhere outside of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, over 3 weeks November to December 2010. I had no idea what I was going to make, but I was somewhat clear on the density and shape of steel that I wanted to use. I picked out the pieces of steel at the yard in about 40 minutes in the dark. I have been thinking about and working towards this collection for years.
The text, aside from musings, is primarily notes to myself, either decisions I eventually made (many decisions have to be made early, before beginning the work, for all sorts of reasons) or things that I want to keep in mind for the betterment of the pieces. There is a lot that I have left out, and I promise to try not to rant. If words are in double quotes it means I have said them somewhere before.  Capital letters are used to stress a word, other than that i don't much care for them. Seldom will I edit an entry, unless I feel that to keep up with it explains more. (this statement has become untrue. i am rereading every entry many times)
There are no spelling mistakes, if you encounter a word that you think is misspelled, ponder it. Or call 911.
I apologize for the small font, tried bigger but didn't look good to me. I'm a bit farsighted.
Click on the pictures to see better.
I started working with steel as my primary medium in 1994.
The blog is chronological, starting from the bottom up, so as you read you are going back in time.


my other project while here, brushing up a vintage 'futbolin'. diversions can be good for an artist, or fatal.
these figures are actually leaning on the bar, as comfortably as they would at the pub.
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Blog of completed works:
slide show of complete photo set. 284 photos; grab a glass of wine and provide your own soundtrack, at 3 seconds each it takes about 15 minutes. the last photo is my fire in wales.


drawings finished and signed. seven.
plus a 'list of works' but don't think i can honestly consider that a drawing.

8. 'seahorse', found cut steel, 5", 2010
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7. 'digam', 8', 2010
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6. 'hummingbird', 6', 2010
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4. 'newel post - palms', cut steel, 6', 2010.
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3. 'goat', flame cut mild steel, 40", 2010
2. 'the solitary life of snails', flame cut mild steel and weld, 27", 2010
computer really starting to burn, cough, spit, starting to have trouble.
sure the keys will start smoking soon, have warned them against it.
have done more damage to my hands over stinkin' football table than any sculpture.
gloves have holes, boots solid, body ok, though legs complain once in a while
new pair of levi's that started this project holding up like champs.
didn't eat today, never felt the desire or need.
cure in paris cd retired.

1. 'practice', flame cut mild steel, 2010
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finished digam and seahorse today.
brought seahorse and heart to Marute for his painting.

worked in the rain today. how wonderful!
though the welder gives you a bit of a kick when you're not careful.

before the family arrives:
bernini and clean

after family arrives:
second goat with kids, have them sign/draw on with chalk
(actually, get the goat standing Before the kids arrive and just play with it After they arrive)
final piece

and practice found a location today after a week!
man i walked miles carrying that lump of steel.
good garden sculpture wants to be seen but not too much. not at all times.
for a sculptor, this theme of disappearance and emergence can be fun to play with, and ponder.
raining today, good for the fresh cuts, some already turning nice orange.
out of the cd's i've been given:
dmitri shostakovich

out of the books i've been given.
kazimir malevich


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why the baldacchino.
what sculpture has ever had a better gallery? a better envelope than michelangelo's dome?
what museum, prada, all the mets, tate, louvre, compares to st. peters?
working title:

'detail section of potential baldacchino column, after bernini'

explanation of the piece:

if i were to build a baldacchino, this is where i would start.
you're going to have to argue that everything bernini placed on the outside of his column is Implied in yours.
hmm...should be fun.
feet really tired.
no complaints about hands.
must mean hands stronger than feet.
must work on that, or better yet, have someone Else do it.
god i'd love a foot massage.
don't be afraid of showing what You see in your photos.
make sure your pictures are what you want Them to see.
leave blank spaces on the bernini. pauses, caesuras.
do not expect perfection. it'll be incredible anyway.
carve it where it sits.
do not diminish your bernini with bugs, snails, vines, vegetation, symbols or critters of any sort.
second title to the palms, newel post.
sculptures can't move.all art is a good gift
art has to be a gift
it's being a gift that makes art
when i came to think of this work as gifts,  it became better.
when we come to regard our work as a gift we become better.
solitary life of snails only became good where it is when i put my butt out on it.
starting to feel like i'm starting-  to focus in on and balance the pieces with their environment.
location, form, essence, statement of sculpures...etc.
moby cd finally exhausted. washed with toothepaste twice but can't make it last any longer.
a lot of our time is spent fixing things. see previous post.
put cure in paris back on, has a couple more days in it, maybe.
beethoven for the mornings.
wasn't sure about making hummingbirds because after research learned that there are none in europe. decided that that was all the more reason to make some (more)

also found this:

'When Spanish explorers first encountered hummingbirds, they called them joyas voladoras: "flying jewels." The hummingbird was revered as a sacred healer, a guardian of plants, the spirit, and those who needed healing or were training as healers themselves.'
-from spain hummingbird center website, better credit to come
everything turning out to be site specific. can't help myself.
left hip joint tweaked.
cd of moby 'i like to score' stuck around 'bond, james bond'.
music has been repeating for at least 30 minutes.
finished hummingbirds today. i'm dead.
isidro played organ and trumpet for me yesterday. loved the organ, trumpet, well...any instrument that blows spit before it makes a sound is questionable. big fan of chet baker though.
very cold today but while working didn't feel a thing.
remember to get pictures of first hummingbird.
remember to go to the bank.
watching barca v. madrid with a. v. and m. tonight.
remember to ask Marute if he has a rubber.
you make sure that the first two cuts you make are the ones you settled in on doing, the ones that have become natural; top right, sweep left, descend from left side of that cut.


this is an interim:

"I've always enjoyed the aesthetic of ordered junk. This was probably in part acquired from my grandfather, in part the result of being dragged around antique stores at too early an age, or maybe from my early days working at a boat marina; rummaging through drawer after drawer of neatly categorized nuts and bolts. In my workspace stepping on bits of metal is an annoyance, and melting rubber smells bad, so i am constantly sweeping. picking up scraps and neatly piling them according to size and form. 'slow fish' is the result of one of these piles. There are few things more important to an artist than sitting back and contemplating ones own mess. It was during one of these reprieves that i noticed a fish on my floor. I welded it together exactly as it lay and finished 'slow fish' on my workbench. It then spent several weeks bathing in the caribbean sea to give it a heavy patina of rust (vs. 'fast fish' which was wire brushed to silver as most fast fish are) and finally made its way to New York. I sculpted lots of fish before these two and a lot subsequently, and will continue to do so; but these two are the ones that taught me to remember serendipity, insight, 'opensight', and the importance of staying ripe."

pictures of the pieces referred to in the above escape me now (as fish often do) but i do have them. somewhere.
the above was written one year ago but never put anywhere.
you don't set out to make art.
you set out to rummage around your guts.

2 of potential six/seven drawings completed today. second drawing- snail is mine, figure is by kazimir malevich.
bernini fleshed out, now have to execute.
waiting till i feel clear and brave.
some 'unclaimed' bits of steel to ponder.
planned on making small adjustment to heart today but didn't get to it.
goat needs rewelding because i broke it today pounding it into the earth for the umpteenth time. (it's standing but i felt a slight crack)
nice afternoon with a. and v. and earlier, fiesta mejor in town with all the big puppets.
(a. and v. went to vote today, told them my joke about how i don't vote because my name never seems to appear on the ballot)
remember to show Marute.
art should have a sense of decorum.
remember the christmas wreath you wanted to make


5. 'heart with nail', 14", flame cut mild steel, 2010
remember to point out that in 'the palms', it wasn't Heat that created the subtle, beautiful, almost imperceptible bend; it was Cooling.

relocated by my two feet a distance of 7 feet 3 days later.

relocated by 3 inches couple days later.
'les palmeres', title of 3rd piece.

new title; 'newel post'
became the fourth piece.
when asked 'what is it?'- possible response:
'it is exactly what it appears to you'.
problem with this response:
it makes you sound like a wise ass. it's arrogant and stupid.
even though it may be precise.
don't be Too precise with your language.
when asked 'what is it', simply and politely provide the title.
sometimes it takes some time to remember, realize, acquire, all the little things we can't do without.
keep bernini Whole. and no bugs.


fight the doubt. fight the nerves. let the torch and steel communicate. you are just an observer.
you are trying to take a cold industrial lump of steel and, without destroying its integrity, turn it into something someone can't help but touch. can't help but to reach out and feel.
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tonight second time i blew the electric.
refer to previous post. we spend lots of time fixing.
done with the books.
that's a relief.
think about site and how important are your surroundings.
remember that it is beautiful outside.
current reminders:

you must not shy away from the bernini- and use snails, not bees.
you must time your oxygen properly and use all the steel
you must make at least one 'huggable' piece, the anchor, be it a wheelbarrow or pine cone.
(because they're the hardest)

p.s.   when i refer to a 'huggable' piece, i do so with no derision, total sincerity and expert experience. every artist should strive for one piece in a bunch, that someone would want to wrap in their arms and take home.
if my american friends are lost. 'us' is one of the things i've picked up in 'ol' blighty'. they don't say 'I', they say 'Us', yes, they refer to themselves as us or we.

it welded into me. (you should try it, it's fun, substitute 'us' or 'we' every time you mean to say 'I')
so when you see 'us' in this blog, i am Usually referring to me. not always.
it's up to us to figure out.
the only reason philosophy exists is because it needs a job.
good grief! these conversations through the ages as to what is 'fine art'
all these didactic discussions, come hither! come hither! place your money
on what is the finest of art; painting, sculpture or architecture!
honestly, and with all due respect to the philosophers i love...what a load of crock.
sculpture is something that people understand only when they live with it.
sculpture, in this respect (and this is something that people have forgotten) is no different than a favorite rag doll or heavily used teddy bear.
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make sure to weld it together before you start to cut. at least tack it.
strive to be thorough.

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can't let the things you make control you.
though they're good adversaries,
You Must Tell Them.

thanksgiving. i sat in the blue chair. those books were bad company and soon disappeared.
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ligament behind right knee hurting a bit
left forearm burned up a bit, feels like bee stings.
burned wool smells no good at all and lingers
if you don't remember that a portion of the wheelbarrow steel needs to go to the hummingbird tails you're going to be in trouble.
i have steel for bernini and scrap left over for wheelbarrow
future construction laid out
adjustments to detail chalked
necessary changes indicated
after a day in the field

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clean up after yourself. it's good rest time (time well resting)
two plus good hours with torch today. stretching oxygen until tuesday.
sketched/carved 2 birds today (also), first time in 5 years. felt good and they came like...well, easy.
something elated me. it was either just carving the birds, or realizing i could still do it, i don't know. isn't funny the things we worry about?

(the allusion to carving birds and the fact that it is thanksgiving day in the u.s. was accidental, unanticipated)
have fun.

remember master Li reminding us to smile while demonstrating Qigong.
if Field appears the same after you've removed your initial sketch, you've missed something.
if Field is obviously pissed off that you've taken an offering away, apologize, and put it back, better.
pause, for as long as you need. if you are Ripe, the environment will speak, and your pauses will, with practice, become shorter.
aboriginals know this.
work in progress. have been rolling around in the grass with this goat since 5am.      sometimes it is Time that tells us what It wants.
wonderful day though, fun, exercise, no phones, bright sunlight, contemplation: but no bugs.

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i will repost these but i've decided that there will be no more pictures of the work till the end.

be patient. be mindful. every little thing you Think you need to do you probably have to.
probably at least 67-68% of our time is spent looking for or fixing things. that's ok. that's about right.
today is the first day i stopped worrying about making a mess.
arms get all burned up. wear protection.
this morning frost is releasing
must be from trees
and quickly floating sideways
in the sun all glittery

absolutely exhausted
walking six miles a day (now at least 10) in boots and hundreds (couple hundreds) of squats
drink plenty water
get plenty sleep/rest
water is easy go to the fridge
sleep is impossible must find rest
we can't make art without making decisions and we can't and oftentimes shouldn't (though people do) make decisions without justifying our ideas. an artist needs to justify their ideas to themselves internally, this is hard inside your head. writing helps to provide a bit of justification. It helps a little bit to satisfy ourselves that the idea is Worthy of influencing the decision.
this work is about the organic fused with the industrial
not always in the same way
can be literal, can be abstract, can be literal/abstract, can be not at all
this work is about "exposing the liquid nature of steel"
think of Scale, of the piece and within the piece. how can we manipulate scale.


goats are always up trees
if you're interested in a bit of my history with steel as a medium, link:
(click on 'preview' and you can read the first few pages free!)

remember how you felt when you left sea shepherd, as though your hands were no longer applied to tackling issues important to you, and therefore cut off. use this work to re-grow your hands.
remember, a percentage of your work strives to be Subtle sociopolitical commentary.
I started making goats in Tobago not because of their symbolism or Picasso, but because the island of Tobago has incredibly beautiful goats. Particularly the kids. Mottled, playful, and absolutely otherworldly; and at the same time direct in the way their curiosity made them stare. That unbelievable stare of a goat. (apparently my father had a pet goat that would butt anyone except my young father. He kept it to eat the troublesome burdock weeds)
Antigua's feral goat population is a completely different beast, and maintained my fascination and so I continued sculpting them. One rarely gets to see Antiguan wild goats.  The silhouette of a family at mid-day shading under a far off tree at the top of a hill, maybe. If you're deep in the bush, deep into the prickly 'cassie', you might surprise one, and when you do, they look more like a Coloradan mountain goat than anything on a farm. However, in Antigua, you can always tell when they're around because of that smell,
The beautiful smell of musk that takes some getting used to.

So, I've a long history playing with the form and essence of the goat in my work, but not because of artistic precedent or spiritual symbol. (there were eighteen goat masks in the Tobago exhibit and every one of them are now with happy owners, one who claimed he patted the head of his sculpture each time he entered and left the house!) I think buyers of art, in many cases, more insane than the artists.

In this collection I am likely to make a couple more even though my artist friend Marute chides me that I'm just copying Picasso. I say to him: "fuck that, if I want to make goats I'm gonna make fucking goats."  (with a smile)  Just because someone else somewhere in the remote past (even if it was Picasso) drew a picture of a goat, that means that I can't! Or anyone else for that matter! What stupidity!
And no fun.

Art is about communicating with those who've gone before.
And to those who've yet to come.
An artist should feel the need to rework 'oldies but goodies'.
Bye the bye, Picasso did make/represent some really good goats, damn him!

For poems relating to goats and Pablo: