Day 48-SIP-The Three Roses of Padauk

Who is leading? If my recollection serves me correctly President Trump announced the COVID-19 Task Force Guidelines on March 16, 2020. Within forty-eight hours the Mayor of Frankfort issued the same guidelines under his name. Four days later on 20 March 2020 our State Governor issued his version of the same.

I began writing my Covid-19 diary on the 16 of March, the same day the president announced the guidelines. What I see here is a chain of command from the National level down to the local community, but the State lagged in making decisions. Could this lag also be the reason why Illinois has the most debt of all the States? Could it be that is the reason citizens are leaving the state as fast as they can? It is the reason that I have considered leaving many times, only to be sucked back by personal responsibilities?

Anyway, it is a beautiful sunny day in Illinois today, but a might on the chilly side at 46 degrees and it’s windy making it feel even cooler. The sun is making the plant life explode and life is returning from the deep winter sleep. Tulips bloom in abundance, the daffodils are already gone as are the magnolias. The grass is Irish green and the trees and shrubs are about half way open toward full leaf. As soon as I post this non-sense I’ll join many others on a walk along our bicycle path fully masked.

This morning I cleaned my shop as I do after completing a project successfully. My routine is to hang the new work in the place of honor with lighting for a few weeks or until I get tired of it and replace it with something different. In the meantime, I will begin a new piece with fewer elements which should be quicker to complete. This latest was supposed to be that project, but it evolved into one with one hundred pieces and short equaled forty days. My goal is to get ‘short’ down to seven days max. There is a lot of room for improvement ahead.

The Three Roses of Padauk

Day 25-Quarantine-Balance Need Vs Virus

“Grind wood,” said my mind, “grind wood.” It has been several days since I attacked my latest intarsia project, so the brain pointed me to the shop. The project is based on roses. It was going to be a short easy project after my last one which put Cecil the Lion in the spotlight. So far, it hasn’t been short, nor has it been easy. Since this is the third time I’ve done a rose I thought it would be simple. Not so. I made a mistake of making the roses too small, life-size actually. But making life-size roses from wood requires great skill, precision, and patience, and I possess none of them.

 

Cecil the Lion

This winter, I made a note to myself to experiment with miniature intarsia. I am thinking of moving to an apartment. Moving to a smaller space would require that I give up my wood working hobby. Thus, the idea of miniatures came to me. I could make a shop with some very basic power tools that would require the space of a kitchen table. The amount of wood I’d be removing would be greatly reduced therefore the dust factor might be livable. I’m still working on reducing noise so that wouldn’t become a lease breaker.

This rose project has a large number of tiny pieces, not unlike a miniature would have. I am learning that miniatures require excellent vision. I wear glasses, but the level of acuity is not there. I have light in my shop equal to the noon-day sun, yet, I still need spot-lights to see the piece I am working on. The idea of moving toward miniaturization is quickly fading. I may be reduced to set up in the bedroom to build model airplanes from balsa wood and glue, like I did in my early teens.

COVID-19 is still a major factor in life. I will break from being a hermit by visiting my daughter for Easter. I warned her that if she gives me the virus, she will have hell to pay. Truth be known she is equally starved for company even though she has a husband, son and daughter living with her. I guess they all lock themselves into their personal spaces and keep at a distance.

The COVID-19 Task Force is finally beginning to see some light, but they are still tenuous about giving a green light to return to work. We are spending two trillion dollars to be able to learn about how this virus spreads to do its damage. If they give up too soon, the data they need will slip from their control. At the same time the economy is about to need a respirator, or it too will succumb to the virus.

Have you ever wondered what it means for the economy to die? Everyone will lose their jobs, except government workers. The rest of us will run out of money, but it won’t matter because nothing will be available for us to use money for. Food will disappear. I don’t know about you, but I definitely need food to survive, more so than toilet paper. Gas will disappear because no one will be working to refine oil, or to distribute gas. Cars will run out of fuel where ever they are and not move again. All roads will be jammed with cars and trucks. Phones will stop working. Hospitals will shut down. Electricity will disappear since power plants will shut down. The list of necessities that are not available is a mile long and we will be stealing from each other to survive.


Deaths

COVID-19 versus Economy

The picture isn’t pretty, so the decision to get the economy back to work before it deteriorates further is crucial. The new question is how many deaths will occur because of a dead economy versus the deaths from COVID-19?

Another New Adventure

As part of my new single life I am declaring myself an artist. I have always shirked from calling myself one because I am an engineer. The two careers are polar opposite of each other. I tend to like mechanical things, and so pursued training into that arena. At the same time I always had a liking for art. Ever since the fourth grade when the good Nun started me  drawing with crayons. That evolved into cursive writing, then printing. The printing evolved into engineering, and dominated my life.

When ever I had the opportunity I went to art galleries and shows to see what people who use their right brain lobes come up with. I am still fascinated by artists and it doesn’t matter the medium. If it is good, I like it. No, I love it. Throughout my travels during both of my marriages we visited art fairs and loaded our home with affordable artifacts. During my recent purge of things that don’t matter to me anymore the paintings. prints, and pottery survived.

This coming Saturday I am signed up for the Winter Art Market at our public library. I rented a space and will be there with the first public showing of my Intarsia art. My walls are a little bare right now, because many of the items I made found there way to places of prominence within the house.

Why did I decide to join this event at this stage of life? It is something to do, and also because I want some validation either negative or positive on the quality of my work. If my pieces sell for the price I have marked on them, it will be very positive. Right now my entire energy is in creating a display that is easily portable and artful as well. I could have spent a mini-fortune to buy art panels made for shows, but being the cheap bastard that I am I decided to repurpose some available materials. Thankfully, I made a plan and I’m sticking to it. I will be at the venue in time for the Friday afternoon set-up, and I have solicited help for the Saturday afternoon teardown. Of course my expectation is the load will be lighter since all of the pieces will be sold and gone to new homes. The minimum is to sell one piece to break even on the registration fee.

If you are anywhere near Frankfort, Illinois this Saturday, 9 November drop by the library at 21119 S Pfeiffer Rd. between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. to visit my display and those of all the other artists. Enter the raffle and have a chance to win “Happy Hour Begins With a Single Drop,” a contemporary intarsia art piece donated by GrumpaJoesPlace.

Happy Hour Begins With a Single Drop

 

Maintaining My Sanity

During the course of the year I escape to various places within the house and property to become recluse and meditate.

Beginning in September it is my wood shop. In April it is my garden. Both have a soothing effect on my brain and relieve my inner stresses. This season in the wood shop I managed to eke out five intarsia projects of which I am proud. The next project involves the Lions Club. It is outside the home and will probably add to the stress rather than to relieve it. Tomorrow my club begins vision screening children to identify potential eye problems. I’ve been practicing with the instrument which is a camera and computer rolled into one. So far, all I have managed is to get error codes. It seems the device does not work well on adults. Hopefully, tomorrow I will get good results on actual kids.

In the meantime, here are some photos of my winter projects. Several have been displayed on my blog before, but there are new ones in this album.

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Phalaenopsis Orchid November, 2015

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Rose, October, 2015

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Sunflower-September, 2015

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Calla Lily December, 2015

 

 

 

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Cardinal on Blossoms January, 2016

 

Incoherent Ramblings

It is hard to get back in the groove of writing something everyday. Frankly, I suffer from writer’s block today. It amazes me as to how long it took me to develop a daily writing habit, and how little time it took to lose it. The best way to overcome the block is to talk about the day.

I spent a few hours in the garden wood shop today grinding wood into what I hope will look like a flower. This is the fourth project I am undertaking this fall. In previous years I settled on a single design and concentrated on making multiples so I could use them as Christmas gifts. I want to use them as gifts this year too, but each one has been hung on a wall within our humble domicile for the purpose of giving Peg and I great pleasure. Sorry, friends, no Intarsia gifts this year.

Each flower is different, and I have come to believe that these wooden flowers are a substitute for my nonexistent 2015 Monet Vision. Let me just say, I had the vision but did not have the energy to make it materialize. Perhaps the 2015 will morph into the 2016.

Physically, and emotionally I am all done in. Life has dealt me a hand which ten years ago I could only imagine, but never thought it would come. Age has crept into the mix, and my role has evolved from friend, lover, husband, to full time care giver. Some days are easier than others. People keep telling me to get help, but I am not smart enough to be able to know what it is I need in the way of assistance. I’m sure I’ll figure it out as we proceed along our current path.

In the meantime, at every chance I get, I abscond to the lower level to cut, grind, sand, and shape until I form a flower from wood. The activity takes my mind off of any problem that may have developed, and it releases the creative urge in me to make something nice.

IMG_1882

Calla Lily at the six hour mark.

 

I’m Taking Orders

Since September I have been burrowed in my wood shop creating works of art. Actually, the art is by Judy Gale Roberts whose patterns I used to craft her vision of flowers. At this point I am ready to take orders for any or all the flowers I have executed in wood. The only warning I have is that if you have to ask what the price is you cannot afford one of these pieces. I am getting quicker in my execution, and my skill level is improving, but it still took over forty hours to make each of these seemingly simple designs. Here they are:

Sunflower-September, 2015

Sunflower-September, 2015

Rose, October 2015

Rose, October 2015

IMG_1871

Phalaenopsis Orchid, October 2015

All orders received will be delivered in the future. Specific dates cannot be made since I don’t know when or how I will be able to work on your request. If I commit, I promise to surprise you with a beautiful flower from the 2015 Monet Vision- Wood Flowers

Which Tulip Would You Like To Tip Toe Through?

This year I have not reported on my Intarsia project. Much like I did in past years, I spent a couple of months making Intarsia with one big difference, this year it was mainly for me. The subject I chose is simple, a stylized tulip flower. As simple as it seemed at first, I had difficulty matching parts. Before I finished, I had made five of the same design, and I had just as much trouble matching the fifth as I did the first. Clearly I am doing something wrong.

One huge benefit came from the Christmas present I bought for myself i.e. a Dewalt scroll saw. The saw is not my problem. I studied Youtube videos of Intarsia Masters giving advice on how to cut and match pieces in order to improve my technique. I used many of the suggestions from the videos, but still had trouble.

I switched to experimenting with scroll saw blades to improve. Also, not the problem. I began making cuts at an angle so the lines would have less wood in contact, things improved, but not to my total satisfaction.  At the end, I was pleased with the final result, but not pleased with my progress as an Intarsia artist.

You tell me in the poll below which flower you like the best.

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Take the poll and vote for a favorite in the comment section

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