Playa, September 17, 2013

Sept 17, Tuesday

I had an exciting morning. Went out with Rachel at 6:30 A.M. — this meant getting up at 5:30 because I’m a nervous nelly –  and I needed to heat up a cup of coffee so I could pretend to be human. We walked up to the bone yard, where Pepper looked for rats under piles of lumber, and Rachel and I checked out the boards for suitable painting ones.

BoneyardWhereWhiteDotWLThe “boneyard” is the little whitish dot to the left a bit lower than center. The dot (which I could see more clearly on a blown-up version of the photo) is actually the carefully stacked and tied boards rescued when Playa was built. Obviously this photo was taken from a ways away.

I wanted boards at least 12 inches wide, and indeed we found a number of cedar ones, very rough but the right width and depth (the 3rd dimension — 1/4, 1/2, .75 inches didn’t matter).  Rachel said she could sand them a bit and cut them into a good length.

I had settled on 24 inch length as being easiest to deal with. So we set aside most of the eight foot or longer 12-inchers that we found, and Rachel came up later in a truck and took them back to the shop. Then we went our separate ways to breakfast and more coffee. At about 8:30 (still A.M.) I went back to the shop where Rachel had already done a quick rough sanding of the long boards. I sanded a bit more, thinking they needed to be a bit smoother (although they never really got smooth enough to run your hand over with ease). Then, using the big shop saw (oh heaven, what tools!) she cut them into 2-foot lengths, leaving the worst ends  behind.

I now have 10 two-foot lengths of cedar boards to paint on. 12 x 240 Inches. That should almost make the 210 degree panorama.

StackedBoardCroppedwl The cedar boards, cut and stacked. This photo was taken back in Portland

It started to rain so we used the electric golf cart to haul the 10 cut boards to Cabin 10′s studio. Rachel found some old latex paint in the shop which I thought I’d use as a primer. But as I sanded, I started to wonder what it would be like to paint them without priming. You can paint with oils on wood without primer, although the raw wood tends to soak up the oil. So I tried the oil paint on couple of little waste pieces.  I liked the way the grain and knot holes and imperfections come through the paint. They can be covered over or left obvious, depending on the number of coats, whether primed, etc. But with Playa’s landscape, the grain lines seemed to me to be perfect. (I neglected to take photos of the trial runs, alas, but here’s some pictures of the raw grain.

BoardsTexturewlThe texture of the cedar boards. I think I’m being influenced by a previous life.

So, I’m ready to get up the hill and get started!

There is a bit of a problem at the moment, though. It’s raining like the blazes. It’s a hard, cold, blowing rain, not at all the genteel Portland wetness. This is the kind of rain that shivers your bone before you are three feet into it. And it comes from all directions, another difference from Portland’s straight down showers. I had to run back to the cabin from the shop and close all the windows.

RAinFramedbybalconyWLStorm over Winter Ridge, taken from my lower balcony.

I’m back in the commons right now, with my cup of tea, listening to rain hitting the roof and thinking how nice it is to have a place like this to come to on a cold wet rainy day. The 6:30 start was perfect; it didn’t rain until we began sanding in the shop; it would have been impossible to get at the boards in the rain — I’m too wimpy for cold soakings.

RainonPatioRain on the patio (or is it a “deck?”) of the Commons at Playa, taken from the window of the Great Room.

I will do some research while I’m sitting in the Commons. The boards apparently came from the old buildings that were on this property, and the library here has a lot of history about the place. So I’m hoping I’ll be able to suss out who owned the structures, etc., before Playa took over. That would add to the delight of them.

As you might be able to tell, I am enthusiastic about this project, which yesterday I was having real doubts about. It helps that Rachel is resourceful and very helpful. She’s also pretty no-nonsense, so we don’t tiptoe around each other much. That’s really good.

LibraryThe library at Playa. There are large bookcases out of sight to the left. The leaping stag in the window is to prevent the hummingbirds from flying into the windows. The library is open to the Great Room, where the fireplace, comfy chairs and couches are. The library alcove is across from the big windows that look out on the deck, the pond, and the playa.

Rachel is going into Paisley tomorrow to go the store and to the library and maybe to lunch with the neighbor, and says I am welcome to join her. So I’ll probably do that and get another six-pack of beer. I’m not out of beer yet, but if I’m going to have after-work visitors (Rachel has wandered by the cabin taking Pepper for a walk a couple of evenings and has come in when I invited her), I think I may need more. Surprisingly enough, I don’t seem to need anything else. Tuna fish and mac & cheese are sufficient — along with the green apples from the grounds.

I gave Snickers, the pig, my accumulated compost yesterday. It was beginning to get ripe. Snickers is Barbara’s pig, and apparently thrives on everything. There are three apple trees in the front area (that’s where I’ve been getting my green ones), and Barbara picks them and takes them home to Snickers. I sent Snickers the bad peas, too.

RainOverWinterRidgeNorthThis is a pretty awesome rain. I was noticing the north pond is getting lower and lower. They circulate water from an old well on the property, but of course it evaporates. The pumps put more in, but they don’t dare run the well dry because it basically can’t be reached to prime the pumps, so if it goes dry that’s the end of the life of the well.

No exciting wild life today — just a cat who belongs to the people down the road. It comes up to visit once in a while. Rachel has a cat she call “Gay Noir”. That cracked me up. It’s all black, which is appropriate. I saw one rainstorm coming from the north and west while I was eating breakfast but this storm seems to be a new one. It crept up on us while we were sanding. I had ear protectors on so I didn’t hear it when it started and now it’s all misted in — can’t see the far ridges at all.

So there’s all my exciting news. I will be spending the day in the studio and here in the Commons. My dorky desert hat is also, much to my appreciation, a good rain hat. It never saw rain before. And my much abused painting coat (the tent-like denim one) is pretty good in the rain too. So going back and forth to the cabin won’t soak me.

DorkyDesertHatandOtherWLMy elegant painting jacket, shirt (John Day mercantile, 2006, $7) and my dorky desert hat, now initiated into desert rain.



2 thoughts on “Playa, September 17, 2013

  1. The contrasts of the landscape at playa were astonishing. I was being presented with those scenes every moment of every day. I might have been there just at the right time — on the cusp of the turn of the seasons. But it was amazing. Thanks for the kind words. I try to keep up with your art adventures, which also bring me to new appreciations. And the landscapes you document with your camera. So I think we are exchanging joys.

  2. Reading this post was like watching an episode, your writing is so visually evocative. I do like your idea of a panorama of paintings – it strikes me as such a natural response to the breadth of your landscapes. I love the layers in your weather photo (the penultimate pic), and am struck by how the overwhelming grey in your Storm of Winter Ridge photo brings out the pinks, yellows, and greens below.

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