It’s a funny time for Rocketfullofpie at the moment. I am sewing and sewing like the proverbial, or at any rate, diurnal shoemaker’s elf, and yet I have nothing to show you for it. Not a whisker nor a hair. The last 7 portraits (and the next 10 at least) were no sooner finished than packed up and sent out, and they have to be kept from the public gaze until after Christmas.
And all that giving and no getting is just exhausting – so I decided to play hooky at the end of last week, to make something for me and of mine (actually two somethings, but that’s another blog post). Yes, it’s my Jeffy, yet once more. And why not – for where else is such beauty and nobility found in one living creature? I think Byron puts it best:
One shade the more, one ray the less,
Had half impair’d the nameless grace
Which waves in every raven tress
Or softly lightens o’er [his] face,
Where thoughts serenely sweet express
How pure, how dear their dwelling-place
(and I hope he’ll forgive my changing the subject from woman to dog. It renders the lofty condescension of the poet’s tone less teeth-grinding I find.)
Pure, dear, and serenely sweet – hmmm, I think it would be rather annoying to be addressed as only that (luckily, as my husband would say, it is not likely to happen in my case), and yet, looking at Jeffy in this picture, it does seem apt for him. Those pure, dear thoughts writ large in his eyes are sweetly simple indeed: “Food, mmmmmm … food, mmmmmm … food, mmmmm….” Yes, there is certainly a purity in his monomaniacal pursuit of the edible.
My youngest son was wondering today what would happen if another species were to overtake humans in intelligence. We looked at Jeffy, who was sitting at the head of the table, staring significantly at a bowl of muesli, and wondered what would happen if that other species were dogs. I said we’d know if it had happened, because we’d find Jeffy at the computer, ordering one online grocery shop after another. Actually, thinking about it, this week’s food delivery was even more bizarre than usual. Maybe it has happened already. [And it is just about the only way I can account for the five cartons of cream cheese that arrived in one single delivery. Oh yes, five.]
Well, anyway, here is my dear sweet Jeffy in the making.
I think all these colours went in in the end – all bar the pure white. That one pretty much never comes out – it’s just too white.
Then come the eyes:
And last of all, the best bit, when the highlights go in.
That’s when the magic happens.
And all’s done:
I think I spoke once before of my favouring Cromwell, warts and all, over the better groomed lovelies at the Stuart court. Well, it occurs to me, looking at this final glamour shot of my Jeffy III, that that has come back to haunt me. It’s not exactly warts, but I could wish that the portrait had been a little better groomed, that I had seen, and removed, the stray threads that the picture had picked up from the chaos that is my work table. There they are, and there they will stay (damnit), and they’re all I can see now. Byron was right – that one thread the more has half impaired the nameless grace.
Hey ho – but there is one picture without, and here it is: