28 May 2015

a few more wild flowers

Yesterday we took a drive along the eastern shore of Lake Somerville . . . at least as far as one can drive before reaching water. Texas flood conditions continue with many lakes beyond capacity and overflowing. This lake is closed for at least the next two months --- water is well over campsites with their electric hookups and boat ramps. Many hidden obstacles out there to run a boat into.

We were able to drive to the overlook next to the spillway to take a look. Even the wildflowers are stressed from too much rain, though I found a few to draw anyway.

27 May 2015

bookbinding inspiration

Reading through comments on a recent post by my dear friend Kate (aka Cathy Johnson), I remembered a pack of sample watercolor papers purchased several years ago from Legion Paper. Kate mentioned binding a journal of a similar sampler pack.

Nearing the end of this journal, I've been considering buying more paper to bind a few more. But why not use what I have? First I cut the Bockingford tinted samples in half to make a smaller purse-size journal. Then I used most of the other sample sheets as-is, folding once to form signatures.

I checked in the old steamer trunk that holds my bookbinding materials for cover boards, planning on binding both of these with an open spine & Coptic stitch. But I found these two book covers, bug-chewed text blogs removed, that were rescued from a discard pile at a library sale years ago. Totally unexpected, BOTH of them fit the signatures I just made! The only adjustment needed was to remove two papers from the larger set, since the original book was rather thin. With the title "Near to Nature's Heart", the small book may be dedicated to nature sketches.

After cutting and folding new signatures, I leave them under this weight (an antique iron from Bill's grandmother) a few days before sewing. It helps the paper hold it's new shape.

26 May 2015

latest book read

When I'm not using my free time for sketching, I am reading. A lot of reading. Books were my best friends growing up and I've never stopped.

Recently I was given a gift certificate ebooks for my Kindle --- one of the books purchased is Susanna Kearsley's new book, A Desperate Fortune, and I loved it!

23 May 2015

virtual sketchcrawl, May 2015

Today is "virtual sketchcrawl day" for those participating on Facebook and Urban Sketchers Midwest. I had considered going somewhere interesting to sketch, but we are busy getting ready for a family get-together on Monday. Bill is smoking a brisket early (in case of rain . . . which we seem to be having daily), and we have been cleaning patios. Also cleaning his shop, where we will set up all the food. Our one-bedroom cabin is just too tiny for 4 kids, 3 in-law kids, 5 grandkids, 1 or 2 dogs, our cat, and two or three additional friends we've invited.

So sketchcrawl is at home today, a sketch of our smoker at the back door with Bill's woodshop beyond. A bit wonky but fun to draw.

Corpus Christi skyline

This is Corpus Christi as seen from the Texas State Aquarium. An artificial barrier has been built along the sea wall with mangroves and other plants, much under water from recent heavy rains. Waves wash over this barrier, sometimes trapping fish and other sea life. Usually there are plenty of seabirds taking advantage of easy fishing, but this was a particularly stormy day.

21 May 2015

Texas State Aquarium

Last Friday we visited the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. Sadly, nearly 400 fish were killed last month during routine maintenance due to mislabeled chemicals, but there were still some amazing creatures to see. 

Sketching on site wasn't going to work --- there were noisy excited children bobbing in and out everywhere, on school field trips. So I took a few photos to sketch from later. The sea turtle was my favorite!

20 May 2015

a bit more from Ingleside on the Bay

We were able to watch some beautiful herons as they enjoyed the gulf region as well. And the gulls were just comical!

The Bed & Breakfast we stayed at also rents out this wee shack on the sea wall -- we want to stay there next time! It used to be used by the shrimp boat's crew for storing gear, but has been turned into a very charming cottage.

19 May 2015

watching the ships pass by

While staying at Ingleside on the Bay, we spent a lot of time relaxing out on one of the decks, watching the sea birds, boats, and ships. And two REALLY BIG structures being moved towards Aransas Pass and out into the Gulf.

18 May 2015

shells, shells everywhere

There were lovely sea shells everywhere we turned, some at least 12" across. Shells on tables, in baskets, on railings, sitting on top of posts in the parking area . . . . Literally everywhere! Upon returning from eating out one day, I grabbed these three from one of the decks to sketch. 

17 May 2015

sitting on the side of the bay

Much of our time at the Gulf, we sat out on one of the decks or gazebos relaxing, watching ships and boats of all varieties moving through the ship channel. 

Here I sketched the view between ship traffic. BTW, the water is level in the sketch --- it's that bit of island with the bluffs across the water that make it look slanted. On the far right horizon is Mustang Island, where our kids camped on the beach in March.

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