03 May 2016

last night at Bible study

Ms. BJ is teaching our current Bible study each Monday night, but unfortunately was called out-of-town yesterday on a private family matter. So Bill volunteered to teach in her place. I have missed his teaching -- he is good at encouraging good discussions while keeping us all on topic.

This sketch is a corner of the remodeled room where we are meeting, drawn before the others arrived. The original, rough bricks look very cool next to those cedar cupboard doors to the right that lead to old store-front display windows. Bill was the main force behind this remodel of a vintage downtown building as well.

02 May 2016

an etegami card for a friend

Our pastor's wife, Ms. BJ, builds these amazing diaper cakes made up of baby diapers, receiving blankets, clothing, and accessories for baby showers. Since knowing her, I have seen an airplane, a motorcycle, a bicycle-built-for-two, and two giraffes --- if she sees it, she can build it!

Today is her birthday so I sketched this card for her.

an old spring house

This old spring house built into the side of a hill is on a property in Independence, Texas once owned by Sam Houston. Right across the farm road from Old Baylor's women's college. I love how the bluebonnet and paintbrush wildflowers bloom around it every spring.

29 April 2016

white 'bluebonnets'!

Just behind our tents on the knoll where we made camp, we found white bluebonnets among the regular blue!

28 April 2016

camping at Lake Somerville

Last Friday through Sunday, we had a family gathering at Lake Somerville, camping in this small southeast corner of the lake. I can't remember another time when ALL of our four grown children, three in-law children, and five grandchildren were together in one place at the same time!

Most of the best camping sites are still closed for repair following last year's damaging floods, but we had what we thought would be a lovely spot under large old-growth oak trees. After nightfall, we discovered that a) there is lots of night fishing going on, b) one of the few open boat ramps is right next to our site, and c) there are some very rude boaters who love to blast their ugly rock music at 2:00 am. Thankfully, that was only the first night. On the second night we were forced to listen to one boat's country music for one loud song at sundown, then they turned it down.

The lake is a bit flooded this year as well; it rose several inches over the days we were there. Camping sites across from our tents (shown in the above sketch) are partly underwater, as is the area to the upper left. More rains were in the forecast but thankfully it held off until Sunday after we left.

I've been a bit slow in getting these sketchbook journal pages posted -- lots of clean-up and errands to get done after returning home. But we had a wonderful time with our awesome kids and grandkids, plus Mikala's friend Bree who came to share the fun with her. Bill and I decided we want to adopt Bree as another grandkid!

21 April 2016

some random sketches from today

Due to recent floods in the Houston area, schools have been closed, so our granddaughter Mikala came for a short visit. While she was whipping Bill in a fierce game of Uno, I drew some antique serving spoons with the four brown ink samples I've been playing with.

At the same time, I decided it could fit the next Everyday Matters drawing challenge that I haven't yet finished, "draw something bright". At least they were bright and shiny at one time.

I definitely won't be getting any more of the burnt sienna ink -- it's more orange than brown. Still undecided on the other three.

Later we left for College Station --- we are planning a family camping trip at the lake and needed a new weatherproof tarp to place under our tent. The old one got torn up covering Bill's metal lathe driving home from Arkansas, and the ground will probably be damp and muddy from recent rains. We also needed to return Mikala for a volleyball practice.

Waiting to turn off the local farm road, we saw a 2016 Mini Cooper Clubman like the one pictured in front of us. The new style of brake lights looked like bloodshot eyes glaring back at us! I googled some photos to learn more about this model, and found that the front looks a bit like eyes as well.

a bit of volleyball

Last Saturday, we drove to Houston for one of Mikala's many volleyball tournaments. Unfortunately for her team, several team members were not present. They won the first game but lost the next two. I took a few photos, from which I later sketched these in my journal as a memory of the day.

19 April 2016

a wee green froggy

The next few pages in my sketchbook journal have been totally random and unfocused. Some quotes from books I've recently read, a silhouette of one of the many herons flying overhead recently . . . and then there's this wee green frog who had decided to live inside the chest where we store charcoal next to our smoker-grill outside. He is actually quite shiny but I painted him in gouache and did not quite capture the shine.

It's been a while since I played with gouache, so I tested the colors in this small palette, decided to cut down to 12 colors whenever the current bits of paint are used up. On the left side, I tried different mixes to find out which to keep and which to get rid of. As much as I love dark blue indigo, it can be replicated by mixing ultramarine with a brown. Helio turquoise is similar to phthalo blue in how it mixes, making it a good cool blue, but cerulean seems best for skies. Gamboge seems a bit too garish to me -- I prefer a more subtle warm yellow like the yellow ochre. Another option might be titanium gold ochre, which I did not have in this palette.

The palette came from Wet Paint years ago, no longer available. In the center, I placed four metal paint pans from Expeditionary Art and a half-pan of white. When the colors are used up, I will eliminate the colors I'm weeding out and use this space to hold a bit of a sponge.

18 April 2016

Sunday's pre-church praise time

There was a biker's rally at Somerville Lake this past weekend; our pastor was set to lead a devotional time there before church. But with all the recent rains, a group of visitors came to our church building instead -- this is a sketch of Tim leading a time of worship through song.

I drew it with one of the water-soluble brown inks I've been playing with, wanting a monotone effect after some of the ink is bled out with a waterbrush. However, in this particular sketch, I wish I had not added the water -- I liked it better before, with simple ink lines.

The new samples of other water-soluble brown inks arrived so I loaded up three more pens yesterday. All have a very subtle 'bleed' effect when watercolor is added (the Lie de The didn't seem to bleed at all!) so it's just a matter of choosing the color I like the best.

Though I want something similar to burnt sienna watercolor (mine is from Daniel Smith), the ink by that name is too red. I'll be playing around with the other three inks for awhile before deciding which one to purchase in a full-sized bottle.

14 April 2016

yesterday's sketches in the country

Yesterday I went with Bill as he continued working on a small remodel project for our pastor and his wife. They live in an RV on some land out in the country; they are building an "outhouse" that will be a full-sized bathroom and a separate laundry room -- much roomier than the cubbyholes in the RV!

At one time, Pastor Gary and Ms. B.J. were known as B.J. and the Bear; This wooden bear carved from a tree stump sits in front of the patio. And the tiny bear sign hangs on the new outhouse.

I wandered around the area a bit, sketching wildflowers. Last time I was here, the large field east of their land was filled with an ocean of yellow -- the wildflowers that are either Butterweed or Texas Ragwort, I'm not sure which it is. But heavy rains Tuesday night beat down much of the foliage. Even the tiny flower of the Texas Bull-nettle was beaten up, though it still looked pretty against the deep green leaves. Extremely prickly though! I looked but did not touch. Early morning moisture still beaded up on the Woolly Plantain stalks -- looked like beads of glass, which I could not capture in a sketch.
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