18 April 2014

Texas wildflowers

Texans make a very big deal out of their wildflowers. Families take yearly photos of their children sitting among the huge patches of  Texas Bluebonnets each spring.

My current sketchbook is "ink only" due to the handmade paper but wildflowers require color! So I grabbed this wee coptic-stitch sketchbook off my shelf -- it was made mostly with leftover Nideggen paper. About 3" square, I've been painting some of the spring wildflowers in it.

as usual, the first pages show a palette -- this one in a vintage Prang box  

the Texas dandelion may actually be a Carolina false dandelion
the dewberry is tiny; the engelmann daisy is actually pretty large
not sure what the very tiny red-violet flowers are
This sketchbook also has a few pages made from leftover strips of Fabriano Tiziano, which I am using for some random sketching when this is the only sketchbook at hand.

I drew this Texas star during a homeowner's association board meeting. We attended the meeting to submit plans for Bill's new woodshop. It's pretty certain to be approved.

The fish sculpture below was also drawn during the meeting.

Following the meeting, we attended the Bluebonnet Festival in Chappell Hill. Then out to eat at Los Cabos, where this decorative lizard was climbing the wall near our table.

recent random sketching

Recently I have been sketching but not posting. We've been busy driving around, exploring our new territory and visiting some of our kids.

This sketch is of our log cabin's stair into the loft . . . more like a slanted ladder, open between the half-log steps. Our Scottie won't even attempt to climb it, which pleases the cat who thinks the loft belongs to him.

Following are a few more sketches from my current sketchbook containing a soft handmade paper.

I drew my purse drawn in church, while jotting down a few notes on the left. On the two following pages I had tested some plain wax-based colored pencils, which bled through the thin paper.

another church sketch with sermon notes
I lack confidence in drawing landscapes in ink, so I borrowed a book by Claudia Nice, "Drawing & Painting Trees in the Landscape", on my Kindle. I loosely copied of one of her drawings in the book, trying to get a feel for the process.

Yesterday I attempted to draw Mikala's new kitten in a rare moment when he wasn't moving. His name is Pumpkin, MacKenzie, or P. Mac . . . depending on who is calling him. He is a reddish gold with white face and legs. Sadly, Mikala's beloved kitten Oreo, adopted last year, died of a heart attack.

07 April 2014

small tree identified

While taking a stroll through the Antique Rose Emporium's garden last week, we were able to identify 3 of the small trees in our new yard.

These colorful trees are 'Warren Red' Possum Haw, a tree growing to 20-25 feet, a deciduous version of holly. Song birds are supposed to love the berries.

When we arrived in January, they were fully leafed out in green; then the tips began to turn red and twiggy sprigs popped out. Now those sprigs have opened up into white flower bouquets. Sweet!

(The wee tree seen under the left branches is our baby fig tree.)

sketching at church again

The plan was that as soon as we were settled in Texas, we would visit various churches in the area before choosing one.

Yet we keep returning to the first _and only_ one we have been to. This week, the pastor's wife, B.J., told us that once we have come twice we are no longer visitors; we are family.

So it looks as though Jubilee Christian Center is our new church home. Yesterday, I drew this eagle sculpture that was sitting on the floor while waiting for the service to begin.

01 April 2014

"new" old chairs

When we moved from Kansas to this small cabin in Texas, one of the things we had to give away was an old dining table and 6 chairs that had been in the family since Bill's grandparents bought it at a farm auction when they first got married in the 1920s --- the table is from the 1850s and comes with an oak crate holding 4 expansion leaves! They paid $6.

Having no room for it now, we gave the set to our youngest son who has been wanting it for a very long time. Now we are using my grandmother's old kitchen work table instead; with 2 drop-leaves, it easily fits next to this window. But I had no chairs for it.

While visiting in Pflugerville / Austin over the weekend, we found these ice cream parlor chairs at a vintage furniture store. The leather cushions are the same cream color that the table is painted, and they don't take up a lot of space. Perfect fit!

As I was finishing up this sketch, Bearcat jumped on the window sill so I quickly scribbled him in.

30 March 2014

more drawing with Q.

Our new cabin came with a dishwasher, which I did not want. So after a trip to Ikea for more storage units to match the existing kitchen, we loaded up the dishwasher to take to our son Matt's yesterday.

Bill and Matt installed it in their kitchen, then we went to watch Quen at his Tae Kwon Do lesson. (If only we adults could bottle up that kid's energy!)

Then off for Chinese food --- Quen wanted me to sketch while waiting for our food, so I drew the condiments on the table as he watched me.

After eating, we shopped at Jerry's Artarama for some drawing pencils (I bought a bit more than that . . .), and a vintage shop where Bill and I found some chairs for our kitchen table and Misty bought a Pyrex mixing bowl.

I drew Quen's toy, "Cinder" in his sketchbook so he could paint it later
 Arriving back at their home, Quen then asked me to draw one of his fantasy figures in his own sketchbook so he could later paint it. Early this morning, Matt woke to find Q. already busy in his sketchbook. He loves his new drawing pencils and kneaded eraser!

He is eager to try his hand at oil-pastels next; unfortunately I don't have experience using them. But I'm sure his mom Misty will find a way for him to fully explore them some day. He is blessed with parents who encourage him to explore new things.

28 March 2014

Bill's new friend

Bill and I were sitting in the patio, drinking our morning cups of coffee / tea . . . . when all of a sudden this wee bird flew down from behind Bill and landed on his knee.

We were swinging slightly and kept on doing so yet the bird simply looked at us, then closed his eyes to rest. I quietly rose to go get my camera and he didn't seem to mind a bit.

I can't identify him from our central Texas bird guide.
The wee thing even allowed Bill to stroke his back.
He eventually hopped down on his own.     
I guess the sign at the corner of our property is correct . . . we are the local wild bird sanctuary and the birds know it!

27 March 2014

new drawing supplies

Having found the best pens to use on this handmade paper ___the Uni-ball Signo UM-151 gel ink pens___ I ordered a couple more colors of them. I already had brown-black so I ordered a black and a bordeaux black. Actually I got a couple of sizes in each color; they come in .28, .38, and .5 nibs.

While looking through Jet Pens' web site, I also found these two mechanical pencils. The long 2-pointed one is an Auto Point Turnpoint mechanical pencil --- it has a .7 graphite lead at one end and a .9 red lead at the other. I thought I would put a .9 2B graphite lead in the red end for wider, darker pencil lines.

The other mechanical pencil is in a real wood case and is very tiny! Fits easily inside my favorite watercolor palettes. Besides that, it's just cute!

Because this gel pen's line does not bleed through the paper, I am able to use the back of each page for notes and journaling. This facing page was used for notes during last night's Bible study.

25 March 2014

trying pencil drawing on handmade paper

I enrolled in Strathmore's free online workshops for 2014 but have not yet participated in class. When the current class began, we had not yet found an internet provider at our new home. making videos hard to watch.

Now we have internet but I do not have the Strathmore products used in class --- there are no art or hobby stores near our home and I forgot to order some online. But I decided to do the assignments in my new sketchbook.

This "Back to Basics" drawing class is taught by Earnest Ward, who is a wonderful teacher! I've been drawing quite a while now, but have learned several new tricks watching the videos.

The first week covered line drawing and shape, leaning to sight the subject for an accurate representation on paper. I drew a couple of strawberries we picked from our new garden bed, resting on the arm of a porch swing. Not too happy with how it turned out . . .

The second week's class was on tone and form --- This time, I drew the birdbath next to a crepe myrtle in our yard. I used a water-soluble pencil, using a waterbrush very lightly just on the birdbath. This time, the handmade paper in this sketchbook behaved, with no bleed through. The trunks of the crepe myrtle are still bare and are very light-colored; I used a Q-tip to soften some graphite behind them.

I wish I had drawn an onion instead for the 1st week's class.

24 March 2014

testing a new sketchbook

Time to begin a new sketchbook . . . I was given this beautiful handmade leather sketchbook for Christmas. The paper inside is also handmade and is slightly different than the handmade papers I have used in the past. So I've been testing different media on the first pages.
Any wet media I have tried bleeds through this fragile paper, and fountain pen lines "feather" quite a lot. I like how bright the watercolor looks, but it soaks in immediately and cannot be moved across the paper. Watercolor crayons and pencils behaved the same as soon as water was applied.

A pen that works extremely well is the Uni-ball Signo gel pen I found at Jet Pens  --- I think I will stick to pen drawings using these pens to fil this book. And maybe some pencill drawings as well.

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