Lots Happening

Yesterday I walked along the river.

Even saw my first Muscovy duck swimming with Canada geese.

And a beautiful bloom from the Tulip Poplar.

When I came home I readied the house for the realtor’s photographer who came today. He did a splendid job and enjoyed shooting the rooms and grounds. Now I just need to keep it looking this inviting until the right person comes along.

The deck and door to the apartment and the shop below.

The rooms that don’t have boxes stacked in them.

The porch above and the terrace below.

And the dining room table with the magazine featuring our house open on the table per realtor’s request.

This morning I walked from the gym through the sunlit meadow over to my new house and was pleasantly surprised to see the driveway and walk paved and the rough plumbing finished. Today they will paint the exterior.

Finally more things to draw in my sketchbook.

I decided that I should spend the extra money and have each side of the fireplace shelved. If those shelves are kept 25″ apart then most of my artwork here in the living room and studio should fit. Some spaces shall have hand pulled prints hanging behind sculpture like Lee’s turned bowls and small groupings or families of things. It will be fun to fit the pieces in.

Maybe the next week will be filled with showings of the house. Tomorrow the window washers come. The yardman and pond cleaner arrived two days ago. Someone needs to come along and love the house as much as Lee and I have.

Til later….

Three Days Later

The front door is hung…held open so I dared not close it. A side panel of lite next to the door itself.

A walk at the dam.

And bear with me while I show the almost exhaustive yellows of this morning’s riverwalk. Then we will get to good follow up things.

And such a lovely place for a critter to live.

And this wonderful view of the river slowly filling with the dam releases.

I couldn’t help all those yellows…so Spring-like! The only thing perhaps prettier in yellow are the cheeks of a goldfinch.

Now for other news in last few days. The Riverwalk (name of the subdivision) print is finished and at the framers. I found just the tiniest scraps of tar-like roofing in the scraps of the house two days ago. They seemed perfect! So between them and my carved crows, I made the narrative piece to remind me I now have neighbors.

My house is the one in the middle. The crow flying away represents Lee while my crow is just getting settled and like my neighbor, it will eventually simply move in. This print was on the top of the stack I took to the framers yesterday and I was prepared for her to give me the side eye of disapproval…but she blurted out right away how much she liked it! Here are the details.

And the blocks arranged into their own house.

I like the sense of visual urgency about this project. In a crazy way the house is finished even though the doors just got hung…and it makes me smile. I now have neighbors.

And because I have always loved these next two prints but never framed them for myself, they too are at the framers.

The Tasman Tree wood block print colored with the watercolors made from Australian soils. And The Daily Grind, a collograph of all the ways I have been served coffee….done in a coffee brown ink.

For those wondering how it was done. I first textured a plate with the five cut out spaces for the small collographs that were inked before placing them face down into the center of each embossed rectangle and running it through the press a second time. It will hang over the counter in the kitchen near my coffee maker. The framer had a perfect match of oak wood for it to hang between the cabinets stained similarly.

And finally the large grey owl chine colle”d print that has laid on the dining room counter waiting for me to make up my mind. It won out.

This new house will have many wood block prints on the walls. It is the mark of the hand that appeals so much to me. You look at them and you can see gnarly hands making decisions that can’t be taken back…purely gut instinct….and the sound of wood being scraped away. You  can smell the paper and ink behind the glass. They will be such good companions and encourage me to stay at it in my work space in the garage.

And finally a little story about yesterday.

While dining alone at the pizza place in the town I am moving to, a lady, not too much older than me, stopped to kiss me on the forehead, smile and tell me to enjoy my meal. I thanked her and she went to stand by the door. Her companion came up and explained in a hushed tone that the woman suffered from Alzheimer’s and hoped I did not mind. I did not mind one bit because I simply could not remember when someone kissed my forehead…probably my mother sending me off to bed.

So with the lady in the restaurant, the doors being hung in the new house, the enthusiasm for my work by the framer and so much yellow that I had to keep myself from simply flopping down into it, it has been a nice few days.

The realtor and my new desk arrive tomorrow!

Til later….

Getting There With Diversions

The new bed quilt set arrived…soft as a kittens tummy. And the color is perfect because it will go with the grey walls of the room and the large painting that will hang overhead. …..aptly named Starting Over – Coming Home.

A walk out to the dam and another over to the new house. Progress! Finishing siding…

And the porch…

So nice to see a door hung. I met the electrician to go over where wiring will need to be. Such a delightful man. Very helpful and thought of all the things I did not. Like, “If you are getting out of your car here with a six pack of beer, you want that little garage refrigerator here and not over there.” That advice determines where an outlet needs to be. And so we walked through every room and talked about what furniture would be where. He kept asking if I was sure there was not to be a television in the living room or bedroom. I assured him that only in the den/office was fine. He was also good at telling me about how many recessed ceiling lights would be enough and I could have some of them dimmable. They will let me know before the drywall goes in to see if I want to make changes. Nice.

I made another two cups of lemon myrtle gin and celebrated with an Australian flavored G & T.

When I would walk over to the house these past couple of months I collected scraps of two by fours. I wanted them different lengths to carve into house shapes for block printing. Friends in Australia have set our art challenge for the year based on letters of the alphabet. April is the letter “H”. Perfect for me to think of house as the topic to interpret. So last week I carved.

I wanted them to be in there natural state with just carved spaces that would not receive the color. And I must say I have been following the Ukrainian printmaker, Olesya Dehuraeva, who lives in Kviv and has been finding scraps of wood and using them to print with the black soil of her devastated area. The pieces are haunting and have a sense of the hurry with which she must be working to stay safe.

Even though I planned on making these prints from two by four scraps with my watercolor made from the house site, Olesya’s prints showed me again that the intention of the artist must take precedence over any other considerations, and to just do it.

So, find a brush, get the watercolor soft enough to transfer enough color onto the block and print quickly.

I had to soften the surface beneath the printing paper and sometimes hit the block with a wooden mallet. It was easy to go over again if necessary because I had marked off where each block would be printed.

I looked at it, but not for long before deciding it would be fun to stitch around each house so I punched the holes through the heavy paper first.

Then I stitched it with a very dark brown thread.

I had erased all the pencil guide lines before. Then I sprayed it with a fixative before steam pressing the paper flat…well sort of.

And guess what! I didn’t like it! Still don’t. So this morning I spaced the houses further apart and made a change in one of them. It is drying thoroughly before I think of what I want to do next to it. Scraps of something like tar paper would be fun to cut into strips to add as roofs but I will make another trip to the site to see what is there.

Something tells me it needs a black crow and I have one I carved a long time ago. I will wait and see where it goes next. But my thought was that when satisfied, I would have it framed and hung over the front door on the way out to remind me I do have neighbors now.

Isn’t it odd how Olesya’s scrap wood and black soil images make your heart sink. And mine in this somewhat cheery yellow ochre of my new home can make me smile. Both our intentions have been met.

And if I feel like threading a needle I have this to work on.

I cut up the owl print that I thought needed cloth and stitch added. Then found more cloth to piece the pieces together. I am going to fill it with more of those randomly directed black marks until I either like it or just say, “I don’t like that at all.” And give it a toss. It is so funny how easily we can deceive ourselves into pathetic being passable. Or passable being perfect.

This morning the fellow came to clean the shop before repainting it. By the time he finished it no longer needs painting. It almost sparkles. I pawned a swivel rocker off on him and we were both delighted. I cleaned the porch that was covered in pollen and am relieved that there is so little to move or pack up out here. My cleaning lady will take all I don’t have a home for and donate it to her church.

It is sunny and quite warm today.  I can see the leaves popping out at the tips of branches. Lee and I would have been sipping a beer and feeling lucky to have such a view. I am ready to leave and hope to meet with the realtor this week.

It turns out he does not need difficult dental work and is eating most of his meals.

More later…..


A Very Good Week

Patrick arrived and we shared the testing of my Lemon Myrtle flavored gin in a gin and tonic. We agreed it was delicious!

We went on morning walks. Chatuge dam.

And some walks on the river.

Some company.

Mayapples emerging.

morning sky…


We had several meals out finishing with the winery last night.

And most of the time spent packing the last of four trailers headed north.

Amy’s loom.

Followed by all the painted porch furniture, the few things left in Lee’s shop and shed. And my antique wooden flat file for Marla.

And away he goes. A ten to twelve hour drive home.

So many memories packed up. Patrick is going to use the work table Lee made for the shop as his new at home office desk. Such a good use for it. Lots of odds and ends crammed into this load. A final moving truck will be for Patrick to take home the furniture not going with me.

I saw my builder the other morning and we are agreeing that mid July is a good moving date. I did a quick sketch of the front door delivered to the garage.

When cleaning out the storage room downstairs, we pulled out our old kitchen table that will be revived as my new dining table. I sanded off the old finish of it and a bench Lee’s uncle made many, many years ago.

This morning after Patrick left I stained them and slathered on some paste wax.

The laundry has been done and the guest room put back together. Now I will grab a quick bite to eat, clean up and head off to a meeting of those running against one of the most abhorrent young politicians this area has ever seen. Now is not the time to ignore the obsession the Republicans Party has for limiting hard won civil rights…not to mention women’s rights to choose. Besides, it will be good to meet like-minded voters in the area I am moving to.

Til later….