...images real and imagined
a welded steel, wood, and stone sculpture
“Bull Dolphin” began with a series of sketches in my sketchbook.
From these sketches I then did a conceptual drawing on brown butcher paper. As I developed this sketch, I kept refining until I had something that I felt would work. As I worked on the conceptual sketch, I started making corrections on tracing paper.
The final working drawing is then developed on tracing paper. Many of my fish sculptures are a side view of the fish, which is more like what you would see as a mounted fish. Not necessarily the way you would see the fish naturally. I wanted the piece to have a little more motion and movement, much like a fighting fish, jumping out of the water in a good fight.
I start with the side view of the fish to get the proportions right as I start cutting and bending the metal to get the motion of the fish. Below, I have bent the backbone to form the general motion of the fish.
I buy my wood for the fishes head at Alva Hardwood. For me, seeing all the different hardwoods, is like going to the candy store. When I was buying some cherry wood for “John Dory”, I saw some purpleheart wood, and that stuck with me. Beautiful wood. I had to find the right fish to do a head with purpleheart. Now, although Dolphinfish are not aways purple, I just felt it right…colorful…as Dolphinfish are when they are alive and fighting.
I first start the fish with the wooden head. Generally cutting out the basic shape of the head and drilling the hole for the backbone. Typcially, I began the steel parts with the tail and the backbone of ¼” round steel stock, and bend it into the shape of the final fish. Here I have welded some spacers and cross supports to maintain the fishes thickness.
This fish is known as Mahi Mahi, Dorado or Dolphinfish. Although we have Dolphinfish in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, I had caught one when we were in Hawaii some years ago. I was impressed with the fight the fish made. Awesome! And they are really good eating when marinated in Italian Dressing and grilled fresh!
Here I have began working and welding the form of the fish. I will get the form around the head in steel first, then start fitting the wood to the steel and vice versa.
The wood head is taking shape, and the steel form is coming along. Just got to keep at it....can not wait to get it done!!!
Almost there. I have finished the body, and added the dorsal and anal fins. Now, I have some work on the head, do the pectoral and ventral fins. do the final cleaning and finishing, and place on a stone.
ALL DONE! It has been a trying project...glad it is done...now I can get on with my life!!!