20 November 2014

random bits this week

Sketching whatever presents itself, from Sunday through Wednesday. Bill loved the inclusion of the pine cone he picked up on our walk and hung on our tree.

Our family is celebrating Christmas early since some of our kids will be at their in-laws on the actual day. So I need to decorate a bit . . .

16 November 2014

Native American Championship PowWow, Houston

Yesterday I met up with some of the Urban Sketchers Texas group at Trader's Village in Houston, where the Native American Championship PowWow was taking place.

It was great meeting Judith, Anita, and Brian; I've been missing sketch-time with others since moving here.

The first 2-page spread was done on sight, though it was VERY damp and chilly! I had lightly drawn a bit of the second page with a blue-gray pencil but didn't finish it up until later at home.

The upper left butterfly was from the day before, a dead Gulf Fritillary found on our walk. Didn't survive this unusual cold snap.

15 November 2014

a visit to Nacogdoches

On our drive home from Arkansas last week, we stopped in Nacogdoches to visit our youngest son. He is currently a student at Stephen F. Austin University, studying geology.

I especially love the old stone fort, built around the same era as the one in Fort Scott, KS that I played in as a child. 

Jeff walked our Scottie, Ceilidh, all over as he showed us where his classes are. He asked if he could keep her; he's been missing having a pet.

He showed us this sculpture of a crow atop a pump jack; the crow is made of old tires. He and a friend first came upon it walking in the dark --- quite startling!

13 November 2014

found on our walk

I miss the brilliant hues of our Kansas maple leaves but those falling around our new home have interesting forms. And the ball moss is sprouting!

11 November 2014

visiting friends, part 2

We took the long way driving home from Kansas to Texas. We had returned to Kansas in order to pick up a rack for Bill's woodshop that had not fit in the moving van last January . . . and visit a few friends and family in El Dorado.

On the return trip we went by way of Arkansas to check on our dear friends, George and Shirley. When Bill and I were still in high school and in need of someone who would simply care and listen, this dear couple was always there for us. In fact, I met Bill through their son Steve who I was dating at the time --- the best thing Steve ever did for me was to introduce me to his best friend, Bill. Except for when Steve took me to church, where I first met the Lord Jesus.

Anyway, George and Shirley remain our adoptive parents to this day. Spending time with them was very special. They live in a heavily wooded area near Norfolk Lake. I wanted to paint some of the view from their back yard but failed to capture its beauty . . . so I used the pages as background to some journaling.

The sketch on the right side is their current dog, Maggie. There were always dogs at their home, each with memorable personalities. Maggie and our Scottie, Ceilidh, had lots of fun romping in the yard and fighting over toys.

On the left, a huge pine cone that fell from a tree right as Ceilidh and I were walking under it, with such force it seemed to be thrown right at us. We had stopped at a roadside park to let the dog run a bit. No other pine cones fell and none others were on the ground.

03 November 2014

visiting friends

When Bill and I were teens (a long time ago) and in need of a listening and caring ear, our friends George & Shirley were there for us. They were parents to Bill's high school buddy Steve, who introduced me to Bill.

They retired to the Arkansas Ozarks many years ago.  After a quick drive back to Kansas last week to pick up some shop equipment that missed the moving van, we took the long way home to visit them. Good thing we were in the truck . . . George, a fellow wood craftsman, gave Bill a bunch of cedar and a band saw. Two pieces of the cedar are rough-cut with the bark still on the edges --- hopefully one will be made into a bench to sit in front of our cabin.

02 November 2014

replacement palette

The lid of my old Bijou box won't shut tightly anymore, so I replaced it with this Whiskey Palette. I miss having 4 mixing areas in the lid.

To have room for permanent orange and buff titanium, I left out my usual warm red. But I can get nearly the same by warming the permanent rose with a bit of the orange or some quinacridone gold.

I can also get close to a phthalo blue by mixing the cerulean blue chromium with a bit of ultramarine --- with less powerful staining.

For mixed gray, I add equal amounts of ultramarine and burnt umber in the pan, stirring together with a toothpick. Much more interesting than payne's gray or black watercolor and convenient!

01 November 2014

some Autumn oaks

We took a quick trip back to Kansas this past week to get a wood rack that missed getting on the moving van last February, then drove on to Arkansas to see some dear friends there before returning to Texas. 

At a roadside park south of Mansfield, Missouri we let the dog get some walk-time in __she's always glad to get out of the truck__ and I gathered some of the leaves and acorns to sketch.

There was very little color in the parts of the Ozarks we drove through --- most trees were losing leaves without much color-change. The only bright was red sumac. But I did find at least one reddishe leaf . . . and exaggerated the color a bit in the sketch.

Not many acorns found but lots of empty caps.

24 October 2014

the sadder side of a bird sanctuary

Final pages in my small Stillman & Birn Alpha sketchbook --- and the sadder part of living in a "bird sanctuary". This bird must have flown into our front window, as they sometimes do, a bit too hard. I found the skeleton hidden behind a plant stand on our patio.

While taking this photo, I stumbled on an easy way to hold down a page that wants to fly up: just twist a rubber band around the two corners! I keep a rubber band around the sketchbook when it's in my bag, also using it when drawing in the wind.

The lyrics on the right side were jotted down several months ago --- it's my favorite song we sing in church and I wanted to remember the words.

23 October 2014

Austin's Celtic Festival

We went with son Matt and his family to the Celtic festival in Austin last Saturday. Very sunny and hot, but the music was awesome! 

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