Tuesday, November 29, 2016

16F-6, "Etude, op. 341 (Windows)" (November 29)

The dream is more of a vivid fragment coming just before I stop trying to sleep and come forth to face the day. Something about windows, and doors, and hiding within. As I awaken there's an echo of a line from Leonard Cohen: "...there's a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in..."

I'm left with the idea of choice. Cracks may let in the light but they come from abuse, battering, overpowering, force internal or external. We actually have a choice in this? Following God is usually presented as "Follow or else," with the implication of force agains the recalcitrant.

Any hope I've had regarding real choices in life has been forlorn: hung onto because there is no other option compatible with continued living. Oh, it probably started out as a real hope. Powerlessness sapped that, year by year. I kept going by will power and momentum, and the lack of any big stoppers. Any day now, God will show his real hand and the illusion of choice will disappear.

I have leaned on the Brothers-in-Fur for many years. They could be depended upon to perform. Better than nothing, but much like using a Ferrari to haul cement. Patterns grow through the years and become the norm. God doesn't care much for norms and expectations, yet how does he unseat them? By being a constant example, a constant light, a constant cool breeze in the desert that whispers "We don't have to do that any more." Eventually, one whose very life has depended upon never allowing change to be imposed begins to change.

What might the Brothers-in-Fur be doing if they weren't busy fending off attacks and hauling cement? An image grows in my mind, and the tidal window is still open. It will have to be fast.
Build number: 16F-6 (lifetime start #341); monolith on low riser
Title: "Etude, op. 341 (Windows)"
Date: November 29
Location: Venice Breakwater, isthmus
Start: 1200, construction time approx. 4 hours
Size: about 36 inches tall, 21 inches diameter, immersion screened intertidal sand (4 loads, Latchform, Rectascreenus B, Waterscreen)
Helpers: none
Digital images: 15, EOS70D and 24-70 L, site and completion

The beach is a much calmer place on this non-holiday weekday than it was on Thanksgiving Day. The weather is much more inviting, too, with a slow onshore breeze and benign sunlight from a clear sky. It's about noon, and the sun sets at 1645. I set up and get to work.

Click the image to see it full size. More image follow the report.

The beach is a much calmer place on this non-holiday weekday than it was on Thanksgiving Day. The weather is much more inviting, too, with a slow onshore breeze and benign sunlight from a clear sky. It's about noon, and the sun sets at 1645. I set up and get to work.

To give the tide some time to go down I work on the base, shovelling and watering a flat-topped pile of sand. When that's ready I take the cart and go to get sand. Given the wind of the last few days I hadn't expected much but it's actually good. Well, mostly. There are coarse layers. This is why I brought the Rectascreenus B instead of the finder box filter, and packing goes quickly. It takes four cartloads of sand to mostly fill the form. It'd take another load but it's tall enough for the time available.

The title "Windows" has stayed with me as I've thought about the design. Windowed trees, like ponderosa pines, with interlocking branches. Bringing the idea forth into solid sand soon founders but I'm not sure what's wrong. Maybe the wrong starting point. There's also conflict with other potential ideas.

Any sculpture is sand wrapped around space. Which dominates varies by angle and shape. Most recent sculptures have been more solid than space, with broad curving panels around small spaces. The spaces here are larger, but their shapes don't do much for the whole piece.

Time presses as the earth rotates, bringing the sun ever closer to the horizon. I connect the spaces, as per the original idea, but while it does bring light into the heart of the sculpture there's just not much of interest to see in there.

It has some good angles. And perhaps another look will show this sculpture's strengths. At the moment, all I can think of is that it's still standing. I'm disappointed with the design.

Carving this one started with the spaces. Perhaps that wasn't such a good idea. I thought that making the shapes for the spaces would lead to shapes in the solid parts that I liked. Looking again I realized that one thing that caused trouble was the in-construction design change to a big surface at the top. That itself dictated much of the design below it, as heavy pieces require heavy supports.

With about an hour of light left, I do the clean-up and call it good. For an etude it has fulfilled its purpose. Practice and conditioning, too. I shoot a round of photos and then pack up. The walk home will keep me warm; the westerly breeze has cooled quite a bit and movement is recommended.

As I walk north I think about options. Yes, the heavy top was a problem that more taper and more consideration would have alleviated. I think about making some drawings, too, so I can fix a better idea of the desired shape in my mind.

Today's project did leave me with one very positive impression: the new equipment works very well. The combination of the new cart, table, tool tray and the carried over latchform and Rectascreenus B contributes to a smooth efficiency that makes sand sculpture by an aging one-day-beach sculpture more easily borne.

I'm still very tired. Fast work will do that. The walk home is slow.

Once arrived and fed and cleaned up, I send a brief announcement to friends, mentioning the dream and cracks and windows. One of them responds with:

"Yes. There are cracks we are born with though. And others bash us to make more cracks. We can't ignore those but ask God to as you say, touch us and fill those places with his golden touch.

"The whole idea of windows, doors open and shut, conjure up prosaic and cliched responses. 
There are so many ideas based upon 'God opening windows, closing or opening doors ' that I think the original concept has been skewed.

"The real simple fact is that I believe that God's light gets in anyway. He permeates even where there is no access. It's up to us what we decide to do with that. Cracks, windows, doors are very much dependent on our own responses.

"As we begin to notice the light shining through, we can close the curtains, shut the door, stuff the cracks to stay in Mirkwood. I agree with you, it's a choice.

I agree with her on the Christian cliches about windows and doors. I'm tired of them too, and tend to ignore them. God is a good teacher.

2016 November 30

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