Monday, August 13, 2018

house painting and bodily functions

My desire to wait til fall to have the house painted seems to be falling on deaf ears. Rocky's to be precise. He wants to go ahead and do it while it's hot. So to that end Gunnar and Henry showed up on Friday to clear plant foliage around the house which wasn't all that much as I told them first off they would just have to work around the mock dogwood and hummingbird bush because I was not going to allow them to mangle those and other things I would dig up and move but not until right before they were ready to power wash and bleach the outside of the house. So the two aforementioned shrubs are tied into a bundle but if they don't show up soon, like today, I'm probably going to release them. Gunnar was supposed to power wash the back side of the garage on Friday so I could test out the colors I think I've chosen but he couldn't get the power washer started. So who knows when all that will happen, especially since I'm leaving tomorrow for Austin for a three day workshop learning how to use a product that allows you to sculpt glass power like clay and won't be back til late Friday.

Also last Friday, my grandson showed up and got on the roof and brushed off the accumulation of leaves in the valleys and cut back all the tree branches that were getting close to scraping against the shingles then he went over to my sister's and changed out one of the hoses on her car before going to do what he came out here for in the first place which was changing motors out in someone's truck.

Warning...bodily functions ahead! If that grosses you out, skip this paragraph. Saturday afternoon I started having some sharp gas pains and by Saturday night it was full blown, didn't sleep hardly at all since some gremlin spent the night stabbing me in the gut amidst all the trips to the bathroom which only produced copious amounts of air. Yesterday was better, not constipated but not pooping freely either, no knife stabs in the gut but painful nonetheless. I was immobile on the couch all day with Minnie dutifully attendant curled up next to me. Today is better still but feel sore and bloated and uncomfortable as I am, apparently, constipated now. I don't know what I ate, nothing out of the ordinary, or what I was exposed to since I haven't left the house for days but damn! 

I had a friend once who swore she had never farted in her life. How can that even be possible?

So the weekend was lost with nothing done about any of the things I could have been doing. My desire/intention to work at least two hours every day on art is getting off to a rough start though I have tallied about 8 and a half hours on the first hummingbird model last week (here's my progress so far)

but I haven't done a new sketch since Sunday a week ago. This week will be a big zero since I won't get much done today as my goal is to get all the dishes and cutlery washed that I ignored all weekend. I guess the 8 hours a day for three days in the workshop counts though. My granddaughter Autumn who is between housing right now and staying with her mom's cousin til she can move into her new housing unit for next year is going to come stay with me at the hotel. She has a lot of studying to do and a couple of exams but we'll hang out after my and her classes. Guess I'll have to track Rocky down and let him know I'll be gone all week. Plus I want to take an inventory of my glass powders and frits in case I want to make a purchase before I head home.

Found these in one of the flower beds this morning

and spied this katydid earlier

and caught a glimpse of a tiny anole which couldn't have been too long out of its shell.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

a few steps behind the current reality

or straddling realities. I'm not quite fully immersed in the 'land of art' as my husband puts it. When I am, I'm not really fully present in daily life because even when I'm not physically working on a piece, mentally I'm still with it. I'm not to that point yet, I can still disconnect but a few days from now it would be harder. I've gotten four of the tiles set up and started sculpting the first hummingbird piece. 

The fifth tile I'm reconsidering the drawing, think maybe I'll do something else. Next week, though, is the three day workshop I signed up for in Austin so I don't want to get too invested in what I'm doing. I'll be leaving on Tuesday and won't get back til late Friday.

I went for my massage last Tuesday, full body concentrating on arms, neck, and shoulders, deep tissue work in those areas. It's crunchy in there, she told me, asking several times if she was going too deep. No, no, I said but Wednesday morning I was so sore and still a little residual soreness today but the pain in my biceps is much improved. I'll probably wait a couple of weeks and go back for a shorter session just on those areas.

Outside, it's nearly mid-August, the dog days of summer, so called because the hottest days of the year are associated with the rising of the star Sirius, the dog star. Sirius is also the brightest star in the sky and is called the dog star because of it's position in the constellation Canis Major. That's the historical explanation. To me it's the dog days because these are the days that are so hot that even dogs just want to lay around.

This is the time of year as well that all the foliage starts looking tired and faded and, our few brief rain showers aside, the tallows and pecans are dropping leaves and the big white crepe myrtle is shedding it's old layer of bark.

But a few things seem to like the heat like the flowering senna

and this althea

and the mexican bird of paradise

and the yellow bells

and the star of india (gardenia family).

Personally, I'll be glad when fall finally arrives sometime around October, if we're lucky, with highs in the more tolerable 80s.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

wax work and water

As mentioned previously, I spent the better part of Saturday making my wax forms and sheets to start on the model making process. Yesterday I trimmed all the blanks and started on the first tile.

the drawings

setting up the forms

pouring the wax

tile blanks and wax sheets

trimming the blanks

starting on the first hummingbird

I'm not doing a sketch a day right now, just now and then. This is Sunday's sketch...immature pecans

Changing the subject...Rocky showed up yesterday to work on the plumbing to the shop. You might remember that Marc shut the water off to the shop at the meter last winter prior to a week or so of very cold freezing weather and because we weren't working over there, being immersed in the house reconstruction, it never got turned back on until I planted the garden and needed the water for the garden. So, turning it back on at the meter months later resulted in no water at the shop. Since I was hauling buckets of water across the street to water the garden, Marc disconnected the pipe to the shop and installed a faucet at the meter, which was fine for the garden but we really need water at the shop. Hence getting Rocky to come figure out the problem. There is about 170 feet of buried water pipe from the meter to the faucet at the back corner of the shop and from there the water is piped into the shop. A couple of weeks ago when Rocky and I were over there while I explained the problem, we pulled the overgrown grass away and discovered a metal cover under the grass and dirt, which covered a shut off valve which was turned mostly to the off position. Curious. Fast forward to yesterday, Rocky had been over there for maybe an hour removing the temporary faucet and reconnecting the water pipe to the meter and then digging around the faucet on the back corner of the shop. He pokes his head in to tell me the water is on now, takes me over to the faucet in question and shows me that he found another shut off valve, also turned to the off position, at the base of the pipe after he pulled all the grass away. He turned them both to the 'on' position and voila! water in the shop. Now here's the crazy thing, neither Marc nor I had turned either valve off, we didn't even know those valves were there, or if we had known, had forgotten entirely as Marc shut the water off at the meter. Before he did that, we had water. So big mystery.

OMG! A lightbulb just went off! We basically hadn't been over at the shop for a whole year, not since Harvey and we had Rocky do the tear out over there. Part of the tear out was removing the toilet and the two sinks and the water heater, the pipes of which were capped off. His workers must have turned those valves off and then never turned them back on after they capped the pipes.

Well, no, that can't be right because I was over there doing cold work last November and I had water then and that was before Marc turned the water off at the meter.

So who the fuck knows!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

had it been a snake...

Last summer, the mulcher attachment on the riding lawnmower broke off as did one of the deck wheels while mowing over at the shop. Broken parts were put aside and not long after, Harvey happened with the resultant flood and the broken parts were not thought about again until it became necessary to use the mower this spring. Well, really, late spring, might even have been early summer, before I went to Portugal though. I think. Anyway, we looked all over for those two things so we could see about getting the wheel welded back on. I searched everywhere in that shop looking around stuff, behind stuff, every space, in cabinets, on shelves, I even emptied the huge nearly full trash bag in case it had gotten thrown in there. We finally concluded that it must have been set out on the street with all the other ruined stuff so we had to order a new very expensive deck and new mulcher and if we hadn't been spending all that money on the house would have probably just bought a new mower.

Friday evening when I was over at the shop cleaning up the wax table, filling the wax melting pot, putting the plaster bats in a pan to soak, and in general getting ready to set up my forms on Saturday morning when I walked over to another part of the shop to confirm what I already knew, that the tool box with the level was over at the house. As I glanced down at the floor where the toolbox sits I saw this on the floor next to the flat lap...

In. Plain. Sight.

Right next to where I was standing when I transferred the contents of the trash bag into another. I was basically standing right next to the thing I was looking for and never saw it.

Friday, August 3, 2018

little drawings

Since I had spent the last two days working on compositions for pate de verre pieces, I was looking for something small and quick since I had skipped yesterday already. So this is my smallest one yet at not quite 1 1/2"...

I've done drawings for three or four or five 'tiles' in the cast glass of which two will be set into the tops of two boxes I have and a third will go in a frame for a friend of mine and the other two for general inventory. And I'm working on the larger piece which is still being formed in my mind even as I start on the drawing. And I think I'm going to be ready to finish the heron box soon.

It's kind of nice to see all my drawing stuff spread out over the table after all these months. Next week I should have all my model making stuff spread out.

It's Friday 5 PMish and it's not really too bad out there in the shade of the trees with the sun behind a big puffy cloud and a nice little breeze. Unfortunately the shop faces south and is still in full sun just radiating heat. I'm going to have to brave it this weekend though since I need to get my wax blanks made which consists of melting enough wax, setting up my forms, pouring the melted wax in the forms, and then waiting for the wax to harden/cool off enough to handle which will probably take all day considering how hot it is in the shop. 

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

not so good at time management, unexpected rain, and please don't ask me to lead

It's becoming apparent that I can do little drawings or I can work on designs and models for the cast glass. This latest one took two days. Mostly because I waste a lot of time. One day for the drawing, one day for the coloring. This one is 4 1/2".

Also, I had a mountain of dirty dishes in the kitchen. I did make a little progress on the full size drawing for a new panel and started thinking about the hummingbird piece I'm supposed to be doing for a friend. And when I say 'little', I mean tiny.

And oh joy and surprise! It rained yesterday afternoon! Not as much as we need but enough to give everything a good dousing and to cool it off a bit. I had told myself I would get out there and weed one of the flower beds next time it rained and so I did this morning and while I wouldn't exactly characterize it as cool, it was definitely not hot. So yeah, I got muddy before I even had any coffee! And yes the edge of the flower bed is in desperate need of trimming And yes, it's not only hot out there now but steamy to boot.

Another short day today, my second yoga class of the week. Abby, our instructor, won't be there as she is on vacation this week, but the girls meet anyway, taking turns to lead different poses. Last week while discussing Abby's coming absence they wanted to know if I was going to come Wednesday, which I told them I would if everyone else is going to show since I didn't want to make the 25 minute drive and then be the only one. No, no, we'll all come. I hope they don't want me to lead the class because while I can do the poses, I'm not a great leader and I have no desire to spend my day coming up with a routine. The reason I go to class is so that I don't have to decide what poses in what order.

Plus, I've been dealing with some muscle pain and aches in the biceps of my right arm and to a much lesser degree my left arm. It's been going on for more than a month, some days ache worse than others and when I get a day that is relatively pain free, why then I go do something that uses those muscles and boom, the next day my arm is complaining. Since it's not going away on it's own I guess I'm going to have to take steps. First on the list of remedies is a massage. If that doesn't help, the chiropractor and if that doesn't produce results I guess I'm going to have to go to the doctor and submit to tests. I don't think it's a torn rotator cuff (I looked it up) but there is definitely something going on in my shoulder/upper arm.

Monday, July 30, 2018

drawings and eggs and spite

In answer to Sabine's musing about my weekend, Saturday I read, took a nap, finished sanding down the door jamb, and cleaned up all the dust before I fed the dog and took her for a walk before quitting for the day (back to the book). Sunday I watered part of the yard, fertilized a few things and mulched the white butterfly ginger and a couple of other things (which I've been meaning to do for weeks); repainted the door jamb, did a new drawing (skipped yesterday), watered some more of the yard, and read til time for dog duty.

Y'all might be tired of me posting my drawings but I'm not tired of doing it. I'm actually kind of impressed with myself. These drawings are all really quite small as my sketchbook is only 5 1/2” x 8 1/2”, don't know if that is apparent in the pictures, probably not. The feather is the largest at 6 1/2” with the orchid tree flower at 5”, the poppy seed pod at almost 5”. The smallest is the bean sprout at about 2 3/4”. The wren skull below is 3 1/4”.

Except for the first drawing, the feather, the last four are done two to a page so as not to waste space. I kind of like the combinations.

It is so hot and dry here still that I spend a lot of time watering the yard mornings and evenings. This morning after watering the front yard I laid the hose in the fern bed and just let it run for 2 1/2 hours moving it every 30 minutes. I do wish we would get some rain but it looks like no chance of that til next weekend if then.

If I stay on task that I have set for myself, I should be doing another drawing and getting out the wax and tools today. Monday is a short day though as I have yoga at 5:15 20 minutes away in the next town over and there's a stack of dirty dishes and cutlery in the kitchen so we'll see what I manage to get accomplished (so far...nothing).

My neighbor D (of R and D and the chickens and gun shooting) flagged me down as I walked past with the dog Friday evening as she dashed into their garage and returned with two dozen eggs which I am happy to have. We're down to 6 chickens (from 13) she tells me. The last two died she thinks from heat stroke, so 'we're letting them out in the yard for now'. You might recall R was in the habit of shooting at any and all dogs that would come in their yard attracted by the chickens (or the cat food they leave in the garage) and had an altercation with the 'butt-hurt' (R's description) neighbor on the other side when he shot at J's dog in J's yard while J was standing out front and heard the bullet go whizzing by so they had been keeping the chickens in one of the ruined greenhouses on the property (this is Frank of the Bountiful Garden's old place) until recently when they bought a prefab chicken coop with fenced yard. It's a tiny little thing (especially the enclosed part with the nesting boxes) and must be hot as hell in there where they found the most recently dead chicken.

I talked with J about it one day after only getting R's side of it. That's when I found out that J's dog (who is always kept in their fenced yard but had managed to escape) was in his own yard during the incident. R was going on about his right to protect his property, and being able to use his gun is why they moved out to the country. J had to remind him that this ain't the country, this is a neighborhood, country is being out at the ranch where the closest neighbor is a mile and a half away. R was unconvinced and finally J told him 'I have a gun too. Want me to start shooting your chickens every time they come in my yard?' (R's chickens had previously totally destroyed a shade garden that J's wife had planted on the side of the house.) So the chickens have been cooped up since. (J also told me he saw R shooting towards the mobile home park on the other side of the 12 acre field behind us all one day and not too long after a sheriff pulled up at R's place.)

Anyway, I remarked to D that I see that the hog wire had been delivered for the fence they plan to put up around their property on three sides. The fourth side, the side between them and J, is getting a solid plank high spite fence.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

possible weekend activities

Two more drawings 

and some sketching and planning towards some new pate de verre work. Years ago we did four full light doors for a client of which the designs were native birds and trees. I've always liked those vignettes and am planning a triptych of my three favorites that will be mounted for hanging on a wall. These will be the biggest pieces I have done to date and will have several components. I'm taking a workshop next month in a technique developed by another glass artist which involves modeling the glass powder like clay which I may incorporate in those pieces and will surely use it to make the feather component for the blue heron box (now if I can only decide on the feet for the box which I'm leaning toward egg shapes). Eventually I'm going to have to brave the heat over at the shop and get my wax blanks made so as to start on the models. I can put that off a little longer as I have two models that I started last year that need to be finished.

But now it's the weekend. Now that the house on the inside is done (the exterior still needs to be painted) and now that we retired from the commission work I plan to continue doing my drawing a day for a while but also work on the cast glass Monday through Friday with house and miscellaneous projects for the weekends, at least until it cools off enough to work in the yard and garden. Even so, I should devote at least two hours (or more) a day to the art work.

Today I'm back to working on the door to the little bathroom (at least that's the plan), sanding the jamb down a little more and touching up the paint. Tomorrow I'm going to try and get the four birdhouses up outside somewhere. Of course it's only tolerable out there until about 8:30 AM so that may not happen. Or I could move the antique buffet out of my studio room and into the back bedroom or peel the ruined veneer off the hope chest and get it cleaned up and back in the back bedroom. I'd just get rid of it except my daughter wants it but has no place to put it in her house right now. Or I could hang the lace curtain material I bought in Portugal over the little window in the back bedroom which requires going to a store and getting the brackets and rod. 

Or I could sit and read. I'm more than half way through Dragonfly In Amber, the second in the Outlander series. I guess we'll see how it all plays out especially since I could go take a nap right about now.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

photo dump

Not making much headway yet on new work, mostly just in the planning stage of a few pieces. Probably won't get the wax out til Monday so it won't be spread out over the weekend. But! I have been doing my drawing a day, for two days anyway, still time today.

Tuesday's drawing...

Wednesday's drawing...

Some photos that have been piling up...

the ginger has finally started blooming, late and not very profusely, just so hot, hard to keep it watered

I've been seeing newly hatched anoles but never have my camera handy, I did have it though when I spotted this young preying mantis, a male perhaps or an immature female

Saturday night's sunset...

Monday evening's sky...

foggy Wednesday morning...

clouds over the cotton field...

white orchid tree blooms...

lost baby shoe in a parking lot...

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

no more excuses

I've been telling myself that I can't get any work done while the house was under construction because of the constant interruptions especially considering my work table was the staging area for tools and lists and miscellaneous things connected with the construction but that all ended last Friday. Attending to small details is now relegated to weekends and I spent the day Monday cleaning off my table and covering it with a fresh clean length of paper. Today I got out my sketchbook and a print of my next feather piece to get started on the line drawing that precedes the wax model making. Probably won't get out the model making tools til the end of the week.

The sketchbook is out because I intend to do a drawing a day just to warm up and get back in the habit of drawing, something I haven't done since our last etched glass job, well except for the December Sunday morning last year that I joined a life drawing opportunity at Archway, the artist owned gallery. I can't tell you how many years it's been since I participated in a life drawing class or how nervous I was when I first got there but after the first 10 minutes or so I relaxed and did some sketches that weren't terrible.

We won't do any mold making or casting til later as it is still blistering hot out

and in the shop and our one working kiln is still shoved in the corner of the garage surrounded by stuff and will stay that way until it cools down enough to get out there and empty and rearrange the garage.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

it's so hot out there it makes you gasp

And it's going to get hotter, predicting 102˚ or higher for Monday depending on which weather service but maybe some rain next week which would be wonderful since it's been forever since we got any decent rain. It is so dry out there that I'm having to water every day. I try to get out there as soon as I wake up but I didn't get up til 8:30 this morning and an hour later I had only watered half the back yard.

Good news is the inside of the house is finished! Rocky switched out the faucet and got the sink installed again, put up the towel bar and TP holder, shelves in the closet. I got the shower curtain hung and put the shelves in the mirrored cabinet, touched up the paint here and there and then noticed that I had to practically slam the bathroom door to get it to latch. Not practically but actually. It hung up at the bottom and stuck out and the latch had to be forced (hence the slamming) so I got the sander out and examined the jamb and the hardware on the door and none of it was flush (except for the top hinge on the door). So I removed it all and carved out the indentions better and adjusted the catch on the jamb (which Rocky had already done) which involved a chisel and longer screws and wood putty and and sanded down the jamb at the bottom and it took me all fucking day but now the door closes and latches easily (if still firmly) except it still hangs up a little at the bottom but I need coarser sandpaper and then I have to touch up the paint and hope like hell that the thickness of the paint doesn't cause it to hang up again. These are all after pics,, just to show you what I worked on all day besides sanding the bottom of the jamb down some...


It's not that Rocky did a bad job when he hung the door. It's this crazy house where nothing lines up and he spent nearly a whole day just getting the door hung in the first place. I'm sure he was frustrated and slamming at that point must have seemed good enough.

Anyway, here's the new bathroom. Just a reminder, this room is 5' x 5'.




and the closet and the small hall.