Bringing in the Sheets

I know people,
ok, two people,who hang their laundry out all year long.
My laundress is not a fan of this.

In our next house there will be a washer and dryer.
I have promised.

For now, and for the last quarter of a decade,
that weekly chore has been done up to town,
next to the local pizza joint.

Herself is on a therapists basis with the owner,
and most of her best stories have originated
between the spin cycles.
The characters join her there,
making entrances and exits
worthy of the bard Himself,
with the odd parrot  or two
on the shoulders of the jester stage left.

So, when it came time to pose for this painting,I actually had to search the studio for the clothespin.
It’s Ted’s, and that elegant swan shaped clip at the end
is the perfect balance of classic style and Yankee ingenuity…
just like Ted.

I hung the line at sunrise,
between the greenhouse and the grape arbor
and waited.
The first rays of sunlight caught the top of the sheet
and I quickly called Pat over from the cabin to pose.
In the initial sketches, done a few weeks before,
the shirt was to be white,
so I figured I could fake that part or pose her again later.

We played around with the angles and then I sketched
and took some photos and went inside to work.
When she called to let me know that Herself was headed up to the laundromat
I walked outside to stretch my legs and whammo…
a whole new light was cascading across that sheet.
I made her run back and,
in very short order,
I had what would become the final composition.

You can see that the white shirt,
which was still crumpled in the unwashed laundry bag,
when the light changed for the better,
stayed hidden there…
and the striped shirt of the laundress
which seemed to echo the uniforms
of those hard scrubbing for-bearers…
remained.

I believe fundamentally
in paying homage
to the women
upon whose shoulders we rise
and to the makers
of clothespins.