27 December 2021

The Progress on Summertime Farm


The current PBN project, Summertime Farm, heads toward completion. I am, evidently, going to fill in the barn last of all.

The barn is full of detailed little spaces that will require much attention, and the weathered American flag design on it so so detailed in and of itself that it requires a separate callout on the instructional diagram. 

Should be satisfying. 

A History-laden Bookmark


This is a Christmas gift given me my the Brown Eyed Girl that will have meaning for a great long while.

Anyone who knows me knows my deep affection for Oregon, the place I was born in. You can always get me by showing my something deeply Oregon, and this is Oregon AF, as they say today.

A simple bookmark, gotten by my spouse at the David Douglas Holiday Bazaar, which she was able to hit after a pandemic year off:

The art was no doubt inspired by the work cited on the obverse ... this is an upcycled library card catalog card, you see:

This makes me think of Oregon history, its highs, its lows, its promise and its problematical sides. Numerous conflicting thoughts pertain, and this card as the bookmark of my diary will, I think, make me be more thoughtful about a great deal.

It represents a great deal about time and events that are complicated and ineffable at times. As such, it's a dear treasure already. 

26 December 2021

Unboxing The Bob Ross Master Paint Set


ART SUPPLY DEALER (slapping the side of the box): "You know, you can fit a lot of art and happy accidents in this bad boy!"

This is a Christmas gift whose impression will endure for me. The Brown Eyed Girl secured, for misbegotten me, the Bob Ross Master Paint Set. Now, I've always been ambivalent about oils and have found something of a home in acrylics, and still aspire to watercolors. But oils always have held a fascination, and, as millions of ASMR addicts around the world do, get my fill of Bob Ross half-hours when the opportunity presents itself. 

Although I always have promised myself if I get the materials I'd try a Ross Method painting. Well, that day has come, though not immediately-immediately. I'll explain presently.

The set came to me in a box like this, here. Ever wanted to see what's in one of these bad boys? Well, follow along as I take the first step on a journey into the world of happy accidents. The box:

16 PCS, the box design exults. The graphics along the bottom give you an idea of the general classes of things one'd expect to find inside, but, for the record the sixteen items are as follows;
  • 8 37ml tubes of Bob Ross landscape oil colors: titanium white, cadmium yellow, bright red, alizarin crimson, phthalo blue, sap green, Van Dyke brown, and midnight black
  • 1 100ml bottle of liquid white
  • 1 2" background brush (the world famous two inch brush)
  • 1 1" landscape brush
  • 1 #6 fan blender brush
  • 1 #2 script liner (the only tool for signing your painting, as we Ross fans know)
  • 1 #10 painting knife
  • 1 instruction book
  • 1 DVD 
Sixteen easy pieces. The DVD, for what it's worth, contains a 1-hour painting lesson from Bob, ostensibly doing the painting depicted on the box, Mountain Summit. The instructional book leads you through in the step-by-step Bob Ross style, emphasizing that Bob, in his video, will call for colors you do not have but the book hastens to inform you that the version presented in the book does not need the colors Bob employs and will work with what they've given you.

Removing the box top, we see approximately this:

Fourteen of the sixteen items in the set are visible immediately, two of them, the DVD and the instructional book, are beneath the clear plastic tray. The empty space on the right hand side, shaped similarly to the space that holds the bottle of Liquid White, made me think that maybe an item was omitted in some way from the package, but comparing the items inside to the list on the back of the box confirmed that nothing was missing. Presumably this design allows them to pack a number of different configurations without having to stock a bunch of different inserts. A bit confusing for the observant customer, but no big deal really.

Seeing all those Bob Ross colors makes me feel good.

In the photo above, the brushes provided. From left: #10 painting knife, the world-famous 2-inch brush, the #6 Fan blender, the 1-inch brush, the #2 script liner. All the basic instruments of construction.

The observant will recognize that there are a couple of things I don't have displayed here: a palette and, as important as that and more, a canvas. We shall be purchasing a canvas in due course. I have, apparently against this very occurrence, saved an official Bob Ross acrylic plastic palette in all its oversized glory, provided (how else?) via the aegis of the legendary I've Been Framed-Art Supply Center. And easels? Around here, we got easels.

So, I get myself a canvas and make sure I have some odorless thinner, and I'm as good as ready to go here. 

But you know, speaking as a long time art supply collector, it's nice just to have them. But also I have long wanted to try out a Bob painting. And here's my chance. More as the situation develops.

07 December 2021

Looking outside from inside the new Guilder Cafe at Powell's


This last weekend was the closest we had to a pre-pandemic weekend in over two years.

1st weekend day: killed time at the Midland Library; 2nd weekend day; hung out at Powell's, and had coffee.

We experienced, for the first time, the Powell's Coffee Room under its new holder-in-fief; Guilder Cafe. I already assayed the approach in this episode; well, as one may or may not know, it's open and you can finally go to Powells and sit in with your books or share a coffee with someone. 

Guilder Cafe (the sworn enemy of Florin, it will be remembered) is a whole 'nother world from what World Cup was.

The seating area is smaller and as differently-arranged as it is stylish. Gone are the big-lumber long tables in favor of a single long table in the middle about two-thirds as long as the old ones. Steel stools replace the old chairs. While you can sit and look out toward the street on the Burnside side, the similar seating along 11th Avenue is gone in favor of seating looking in and square tables which can be moved.

These tables do not wobble as the old ones did, so there's that.

The lighting is cooler (though not gloomy) and much more nuanced. And, in the northwest corner of the space, where there used to be a couple more aisles of book shelves, there is now this:

... a sort of 'bleacher' arrangement, steps up the sides and twelve large cushions to sit on. In front of this, a rather tasteful conversation-pit arrangement.

The coffee menu is high in quality and limited in offerings. You can have lattes, cold-brews, Americanos and the rest, but there are no flavored syrups. The menu (including the food fare) is here.  The only sweetenings available are simple syrup and stevia. You'll also be paying more (my Americano was $3.25, my wife's au lait was similar. This is in line with Guilder's ethos which aims to support small business (namely, in this case, Guilder) and the farmers who grow the coffee we love so much along with our books.

Hours currently are until 8 PM, which, on this Monday, felt a great deal like 10:00 PM did back in the day. 

Also, Arnold Drake the paper flower guy was there. So there is that. We shared some warmth as he left for the day; one member of the erstwhile regulars' club to another. It was worth the waiting for that. 

I won't lie; like a whole lot of us who've fretted about Powell's during the pandemic, I have dreamt of this happening again. At least it's happening in some way. If the increased pricing is a little off-putting then at least it pays off in a high-quality locally-roasted cup that's doing some good in the world (and letting us, in a very real way, support local business; it's a convenient way to walk that talk), and if the decreased seating area is a bit discouraging, at least it's spacious and allows for the maximum social distancing in such a space.

So, for me, it's a mixed bag, but it's a new world we have come to terms with. Whole new planet, really. I think most Powell's customers will find Guilder a good fit.