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Monday, September 9, 2013


This is the nearly finished thing I've been working on a couple weeks and put the pieces together today. It's not totally finished, but the main part is there. What I do from here is structural, hidden braces to keep the plywood from bending. This picture above is as seen from the road. For scale, the yellow circle is four foot diameter and three-quarters inch thick. In the past, I used it for a portable table top to make picture frames on. When a painting was finished, I'd make the frame on this table top. The other plywood is scraps from figures and shapes I've cut out of half inch plywood with a jigsaw over years and haven't been able to throw away the scraps. Might find something to do with them. This project has been in my mind at least ten years. Laziness kept me from starting it. I kept my wood scraps in the shed that I built in my first year in the mountains for chickens. The chickens lasted about ten years until dogs started coming in and I let the chickens go rather than kill all the dogs. Wanting now to make the chicken house into a stable for two donkeys. No place else to put the wood scraps, I decided it is time to build the construction.

Here it is seen from my walkway between car and house. Its place is about half way between my walkway and the road. This side needs another piece to cover the black post sticking up. I'm thinking I have a smaller plywood circle someplace. Might put a circle there, paint it white and let it be sun and moon on this side. As you can see, the yellow disk symbolizes sun like all yellow circles do. The plywood scraps on either side are to suggest, and only suggest, sunrise in the mountains. I did not want to shape any part specific to this purpose. Only using scraps without altering them. I have a couple of extra pieces, but they don't work on it. There's no rush. One day whatever it is will come to me. This is good for now. Looking at from the walkway, it has a big stand of jewelweed behind it on ground that slopes upward to the road. The wall of jewelweed hide it from the road, so nobody has seen me working on it. When the frost comes and the jewelweed falls to the ground, there it will be. Where did that come from? I'm looking forward to seeing it in snow. I've beat down the foliage around it stomping about. It sits in a kind of grass that doesn't grow over two feet high. It's a beautiful grass. And a few different kinds of ferns I've planted in there over the years and a couple of young rhododendron. In summer, the greenery under the construction will look like a sea of green it is floating on. I made the bottom as high as the top of the grass. It stands in the shade of a maple tree.

Pictured here is the foundation. I took a mailbox post made of treated wood, which I've had for at least fifteen years, maybe twenty, planted the post for the mailbox in the ground good and deep, tamped it in good like a fencepost I don't ever want to wiggle. Half a dozen screws hold the disk to the post. The far end of the black post is held by a free-standing post that may get painted red. I like basic colors. That will be the only red. The middle post is standing there to sit the disk on while screwing it into place. The pieces of plywood screwed to the disk and the post give it good enough hold, I believe, to stand the wind. About once a year a fierce wind blows through here. The construction runs lengthwise with the flow of the wind, so I doubt wind will hurt it at all. I may look out one morning and the disk be a hundred yards up the meadow, too. Basically, it stands on the vertical black post. I questioned for days and nights how to fix the disk to the post without cutting it . I believe by the time I finished putting the parts together, the disk is firmly in place. It being symbolically a sunrise, I believe I'll call it Orpheo, (or-FAY-o) as Orpheus was called in Portuguese from the film Black Orpheus made in Brazil. It's one of my favorite films that never grows old. Orpheo plays guitar every morning to coerce the sun rise. Carnival in Rio. Infectious music. And one of my favorite film characters, Seraphina. I fell in love with Seraphina.


These are the parts getting painted. One side green, the other side blue. The idea is that looking at the mountains in the distance, the near mountains are green and the far mountains are blue. This is where I got the blue and green. It's suggestion only. No attempt to make it look like waves of mountains. I think if I had shaped them to look like mountain waves on the horizon, it would be terrible. That it is not the shape of mountains gives it another dimension, possibly somewhat expressionist. But it's not any of that. I have to call it found art. All the parts were found. They may have been mine, but I found them. They were not shaped specifically to this event. Scraps. Stuff somebody in their right mind would have taken to the landfill years ago. I have the heart of a junk dealer, can't throw anything away. I have a ridiculous amount of stuff that is useless, stuff I keep because some day I might find a use for it. That phenomenon of throwing something away and needing it within a week has bit me in the ass so many times, I only throw away trash that can't be used for anything. This construction is placed so landscape, greenery, trees around it are part of it. It's called site specific. Plywood has a way of bending over time. It will degenerate over years. I'm thinking about repainting it once a year to keep protective paint on it to slow the entropy.

 Here are the parts after their coat of primer. I'm looking forward to seeing it next summer with the greenery all around it. I have picked up scrap blocks of wood over the years and have seven or eight of different lengths, six inches by six inches and everywhere from a foot and a half long to two feet long, to three feet long. I want to paint them different colors, drill a half inch hole in one end of each of them, stick a two foot long piece of rebar in it and jab it into the ground, so the blocks of painted wood will stand vertically above the ground at least a few inches, to keep them from rotting. Also thinking about buying some old black used bowling balls from Alleghany Cares, painting them beautiful colors and standing them elevated on rebar in among the vertical blocks of wood, all placed randomly. I have neighbor Tom Pruitt's mailbox that is probably seventy years old, made of steel, rusted with two bullet holes in each side, entry and exit. The post is wood that old and very poorly constructed, but it holds. It is so poorly made that it is beautiful. I'll stand the mailbox post in relation with the construction. Tom had been dead several years before the road was paved. The bulldozer pushed his mailbox and post aside like it was just another rock. So I took it home. I couldn't stand to see Tom's mailbox buried by a bulldozer. It doesn't have his name or numbers on it. Only rust. The red has been gone from the flag for so long there's not even a memory of a molecule of red paint left on it.

This was the beginning, putting the post in the ground and applying the primer. I've been wanting to build an outdoor sculpture for a very long time. I've drawn out plans for two that were never built, due mainly to expense. One would take twelve eight foot long four by fours. Sixteen ten inch bolts with nuts and washers. Would have needed a powerful cordless drill. It became unthinkable for somebody living on minimum income. I don't care about selling anything anymore, so I don't think of something like this project for home as having money value. I fixed it in place so nobody could buy it. Justin brought up yesterday the likelihood that somebody might shoot it from the road. I don't care. The circle is so big it is certainly no challenge to shoot at. I think it would be fun to one day find a bullet hole in it. But I don't expect it. The road is no more than twenty feet away. It would be all the more fun if kids would sneak around when I'm not home or at night and commit spraycan graffiti on it like at the Air Bellows Gap Road underpass at the Parkway. If they did that, I'd never paint over it. It's even too good a dream to hope for. I wore myself out putting the parts together today, but it was a feel-good kind of tired. Next, I pick up the mess around it. The paint cans I'll put together in a box where I'll know where they are from year to year to repaint. Then I'll plant the blocks of painted wood to stand vertically around it, and the mailbox post. Fun project.


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