03 March 2015

strawberries . . . in winter?

Even knowing we now live in a different gardening zone, Bill and I still marvel at some of the discoveries we are making. Like roses continuing to bloom off and on  all summer, autumn, and half-way into winter. Or the strawberry plants we set out last spring blooming all of February and even starting to set fruit! The first one is turning red in spite of temperatures some nights near freezing.

02 March 2015

weekend sketches

While driving to Brenham, we always enjoy looking at the gorgeous Texas Longhorns raised around here. Awesome beasts!

This past weekend Bill saw one sitting in the pasture like a dog --- such a funny sight! So I drew one in a similar position later.

26 February 2015

for Kathleen

Often on Wednesday night at church, my young friend Kathleen will bring a toy, asking me to draw it. Last night she asked me to draw this stuffed dinosaur; at first I said no. I really didn't feel like drawing toys --- I brought my art journal / sketchbook* in case I wanted to jot down notes.

But Kathleen has a sweet persistence that is hard to deny. So here is her sketch . . . plus a couple of ladybugs from her little sister Evie. There was an "infestation" of these tiny 3-D ladybug stickers as Evie gave one to each person present. Mine and Bill's are now attached to the cover of my journal.

* I 've called my books sketchbooks for a long time now, but they are really more journals or diaries that are illustrated. Art journals seem like a better description.

24 February 2015

walking on rocks

The circle drive we live on is covered with rocks. Not the uniform whitish gravel roads we knew in Kansas, but very uneven rock of various size and color. 

So of course I had to sketch a few.

22 February 2015

virtual sketchcrawl: Texas Cotton Gin

Being unusually tired, I almost decided to skip this month's virtual sketchcrawl on Facebook. But Bill came home from a church workday with energy to burn. He told me to grab a sketchbook as he grabbed a book he's been reading and we took off for a drive, ending up in Burton, Texas.

We parked in the Texas Cotton Gin Museum parking lot where I had this view of the old gin. There's a better view on the other side with more building detail and lovely shades of rust on the tin siding, but the sun would have been right in my eyes, backlighting the building in shadow.

This cotton gin has been here since 1914  and now offers daily tours. During the annual festival, the 1925 Bessemer Type IV diesel oil engine runs again with demonstrations of all aspects of cotton   production.

Friday night / Saturday morning doodles

A last-minute notice led me to attend a women's retreat on Friday night at Texas Bible Institute. The event was over the weekend but the ladies from our church only went for Friday's evening service. A couple doodles among my notes, and later I added the mug that our pastor's wife gave each of us as souvenirs.

Saturday morning's mail brought my long-awaited De Atramentis document inks. Previously I had ordered the brown and dark blue from The Writing Desk in the UK, but they had sent bright blue by mistake. When notified of their error, the company not only sent me the dark blue --- they sent me a bottle of the black as well even though they are out of it! The lady told me they keep a couple bottles in reserve for emergency. I am loving this dark blue!!! 

20 February 2015

more ink monotone studies

I've been doing a few more sketches testing various ink colors with monotone washes, some water-soluble and some waterproof with a matching watercolor.

I retried the De Atramentis brown, this time with a burnt sienna & ultramarine watercolor mix. This is much closer to the ink's color than the burnt umber I tried previously. I thought the previous deer sketch looked a bit dull; now I've decided that it wasn't the color of paint, it was the extra niggly sketch lines. For this drawing technique, I think it looks "fresher" with limited ink lines, using the wash for depth instead.

18 February 2015

monotone ink with watercolor

I'm playing around with a monotone look even though my inks are waterproof . . . Not sure what watercolor is closest to De Atramentis brown.

The black Platinum Carbon Black ink works fine with my own mixed gray watercolor (burnt umber & ultramarine), but the burnt umber with the brown ink looks too dull.

I drew the deer from photos; they don't stick around our yard long enough for me to grab a sketchbook.

keeping a supply bag pre-packed

The only reason I drew this 2-page spread was to "think out loud", trying to decide what to keep in a sketch bag.

Up to now, I usually just grab some art supplies at the last moment before going out somewhere to sketch. But I am now trying to keep everything together before-hand, ready to go. Even water. . . . We'll see how long this lasts.

14 February 2015

favorite designs

Sometimes I use pages in my sketchbooks to gather designs I like. Bill and I both love those of the Mission / Arts & Crafts period --- That's the style he tends to favor when designing furniture.

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