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Friday, November 21, 2014


portraits of jenny

The cold let up a bit today, I'm grateful to say. Yesterday was cold. A sweatshirt was comfortable today, a sweater yesterday. The day before yesterday was so bitter cold I stayed in the bed as much of the day as I could, and it wasn't even warm there. My floor is the same temperature as outside, keeping the bottoms of my feet freezing. Bought two pair of super heavy duty socks purported to really keep the feet warm. They are light weight, based in a principle of some kind of fibers that hold air, keeping warm air in and cold air out. It works great on the top of my feet and ankles, but the bottoms of my feet froze the same as if I were wearing white cotton socks. As one who could never pass a semester of Physics, my conjecture is not scientific. It seems, however, that when I stand, the weight presses the fibers down flat as a piece of paper, eliminating their ability to hold heat. Could be too, poor circulation radiating little heat to retain. Today, I'm wearing some warm socks, Christmas presents from last year that are, indeed, heating my feet, even the soles. The floor is not as cold today as it was yesterday, though without these socks, I'd feel it. I've bought synthetic "fleece" socks from LLBean that were not what I'd hoped. These I bought last week are not what I'd hoped. The ones I'm wearing now are the most successful at keeping my feet warm. I'll see about finding a few more pair. Last winter and this winter I'm tired of cold feet in winter. In the past, I didn't notice it so much. I've spent a fair amount looking for truly warm socks. The ones advertised most warm have failed my feet. 

beautiful jen

The donkeys tore down the wall of hay I put up at the entrance to their den to deflect wind on cold nights. One or both of the donkeys pulled the tarp off that I'd wrapped around the six bales, stacked two wide, three high. The bales were knocked down. I suspect curiosity was behind it. It's hay they won't eat when I offer it to them. It looked like some of the hay was tugged at, but none eaten. The night won't be bitter cold, so I decided to wait until tomorrow when the outside air will be warmer than today, even pleasant, to reconstruct it as it was, maybe secure the tarp with a little more care. I'll let Jack watch. I'm thinking it might give him an understanding that it is hay they don't like under a tarp. I'll explain to him it's purpose, a wind-break for cold winter nights. I won't scold or make an issue of it. He may tear it apart again. If he does, I'll put it back together again. I put the tarp over the hay to protect it from wet, not to keep donkeys out of it. If they want to eat it, good. If I can get them to eat it by making a wall of it, great, I'll replace it as they eat it. It would be easy to put up a plywood wall, but I don't want to. Or I could use some old boards from the woodshed that doesn't hold wood anymore. I'll use the hay for now. They appear to like having the hay on the floor of their den. I'll use the old hay to keep their bedding fresh through the winter. I saw a forecast today that we have more bitter weather ahead. Of course. It's winter. This house holds heat like a sieve holds water. I don't want it any tighter. I don't like putting plastic on the windows because it obscures the view through the glass. Makes it look like a very dense fog is outside. I like to see out the windows. 

jenny chews carrot

Continuing to work on art projects, a little at a time. Completed #10 in the series and have numbers eleven and twelve in process toward receiving the color. This one I'm preparing now is three feet long and four inches wide, to be vertical. The cardboard is glued in place. Next is a coat of gesso. I'm wanting to paint it white, but I'm out of white. Have some ordered that will be here in a few days, but I don't want to wait. I'll paint another one white. It might be nice a brilliant cobalt blue. Maybe the white will be here for #12, which will be nice white too. Number ten is vertical, stands on a base, about a foot high and a couple inches wide. I wanted to paint it black, but  black is too dead a color unless made from red and green. Alizarin crimson and thalo green make a gorgeous black. I chose to paint it straight Payne's gray. It serves as black, though in certain lights it is not black. I think of a monolith when I see it, memories of the movie 2001: a Space Odyssey. I want to do small now. Used to want to do big. Small suits me as the most practical. Doesn't take much storage space. Small can be just as beautiful as big. I don't have room for big. I do maquettes, models for a bigger version. I believe this would be amazing about ten feet tall, made of heavy steel, or even fiberglass. The plywood and blocks of wood I'm using were all found. I continue to find rectangles of plywood around that I picked up years ago, here and there. It's become exciting going through my room of found things, looking at their potential as near future projects. Finding objects I'd forgotten about is terrific fun. I've kept these things for decades with a mind to someday-I'm-gonna. This is gonna time. 

jenny munches carrot

Closing in on my last years, it's a good time to bring to life the things I've picked up and brought home. Much paint bought over the years and not used. This is a good time to use up the paint I have. The rule of thumb I'm going by is to buy only supplies I need. Like white paint. I was all out and needed white. And gesso. Use what I have. I need to buy screws, drill bits, a few, and wood glue. Utilitarian items. Everything for the projects, I already have or find going along. Plenty of cardboard in boxes and their flaps that hang open. Already have a single-edged razor blade for easy slicing the cardboard. Sandpaper to smooth rough edges on the wood. I want it obvious that this is cardboard glued to plywood. One of the properties of oil paint I love is how it hugs its surface. As it dries, the ribs of the cardboard come through, the surface texture of the wood receives the paint. The fresh paint obscures the ribs of the cardboard, though as the paint dries and shrinks into its surface, the ribs come back. More gesso and some white on its way; it is time to start a site-specific project for my friends, the Carpenters. Their "cabin" is wood interior. On opposite walls in the living room are a pair of triangles, awkward spaces to do something with. I've found what I want to do with them. I saw in Justin's basement a piece of leftover plywood the right width, length enough to take care of both triangles. I asked if I could have it and if he would cut it to the lengths I need. Yes. I aim to bring those dead triangles to life. The project won't be done by the next time they're here. Even if I could get everything structured and painted, it takes a few weeks for the paint to dry. I'll lay on the paint, put them someplace out of reach and forget about them. The colors is the most important part now that I have the shapes I want in mind. They will be in relation to the beautiful wood around them. I don't want them to dominate the wood, but to accent the wood. These are the kinds of decisions that are fun.     

photos by tj worthington


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