25 November 2015

bowl of blessings

Every November our church has what is called Bowl of Blessings where everyone brings a dish that is eaten from a bowl such as soups or chili. But before we are allowed to eat, every person present must tell the others something they are thankful for. Even the tiniest child (who usually mumbles a short word or two). One of the things we are constantly thankful for is finding such a wonderful church family to share with.

I sketched these table decorations at this year's celebration this past Sunday.

22 November 2015

virtual sketchcrawl, 21 Nov.

Having lots to do on Saturday, which was  Artist's Journal Workshop's virtual sketchcrawl, I stayed close to home. Between stripping and documenting our worn-down mattress for warranty replacement, laundry, baking a pie for church, getting ready for Thanksgiving, and computer bookkeeping, I stepped out into our yard to draw these mushrooms. They are actually more orange than shown here; for some reason the orange watercolor shades don't photograph true to color. 

This is only half of our "crop" of these gorgeous fungi --- I love how they look more like large fluted-edge flowers!

21 November 2015

another random leaf

After a full day in College Station this past week (we actually went there and back again twice in one day!), I picked up this pretty-but-torn leaf in the road and just had to paint it.

We drove to this town roughly 30 miles away to meet with a Scott & White medical insurance representative. Our current Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas is forcing everyone to go to an HMO plan . . . which would be okay except they don't recognize our doctors or any of the fine nearby hospitals. They would force us to drive 1 1/2 to 2 hours away for the nearest allowable hospital!

After signing up for the new insurance plan (about $300 less per month than we currently pay, though we now pay a bit more in prescriptions), we had several errands to run. There are stores in College Station that are not in our small town of Brenham, such as Target, Kohl's, and Petsmart where I picked up an updated dog tag for Ceilidh. She now lives with our son, Jeff, but they don't have a tag machine in his small town either.

After buying groceries and returning home, we returned to College Station to celebrate a dear friend's birthday at Pei Wei. Then ate too much when we decided to go out for pie and coffee (tea for me) at Cracker Barrel. A busy but fun day!

20 November 2015

last Friday's road trip

Last week a group of us drove to Lakewood Church in Houston to attend Joyce Meyer's conference. Traffic was horrible but we had a great time anyway. Thank God Ms. B.J. knew how to get there and where to park! I roughly sketched some things in my journal in pencil along with jotting down some notes --- then took the rest of the week to clean the pencil mess up and add a bit of color.

Afterwards we couldn't drive home the way we came due to Highway 290 being closed after 10:00 pm for ongoing construction. We were also hungry! Debbie showed us an alternate route to Cypress but by then nearly every place to eat was closing and those still open were crowded. Finally ate at an IHOP, which was closing soon. A very long night! Arrived home around 2:00 am. Fun adventure though!

19 November 2015

a new beginning

I've worked a few pages into a new art journal in the past week but haven't finished some of the sketches yet. Meanwhile, this is the book --- handbound of Fabriano Artistico 140# cold press paper inside (plus a few toned pages of Mi-teintes), covered with handmade papyrus I found at Jerry's Artarama in Austin, the spine made of simple bookcloth I made from cotton fabric.

BTW, that book "bracelet" bookmark looked so beautiful against the papyrus, I decided to use it to hold the book closed in my bag.

And as usual, I began the new book with a palette sketch. Or rather, three palettes since they were all on the table in front of me. The inside facings are leftover Mi-teintes paper; watercolor looks more like gouache on this paper but I only used a bit of white gouache on the palette tins.

16 November 2015

the end of the journal

During the long dry summer, we let our small garden die off. There was a burn ban throughout this area so we never bothered to clear out the dead plants and new weeds that popped up.

Now Autumn rains have been plenteous, the burn ban has been lifted, and we gathered the dead stuff for burning . . . and found these three large tomatoes! Oddly, they were the best tasting of the whole year. Made a great pot of chili!

Months ago I wrote out the words to my favorite hymn on the final page of this leather-wrapped journal, thinking that I would later add some illuminated decoration on the border. But now I think I'll just leave it as-is. Maybe I'll come back to it someday.

15 November 2015

a sunrise, redone

This is a re-do from a photo of a previously painted sunrise that didn't work out. I'm still not very happy with it . . . But every time I try, I'm learning a bit more.

I tried using two brands of masking fluid here. The one from Daniel Smith was a bit globby going on, dried patchy, and tore the paper in places when removed. In a few smaller places, I tried a new Molotow masking pen. This one really works well, though it looks a bit weird being blue.

14 November 2015

frivolous foolin' around

After recent events in France, this post seems too frivolous. But I am trying to post each of the remaining sketches from my leather-wrapped journal before moving on to the new one. After jotting down some artist quotes I wished to remember, I just scribbled down the palettes and brushes laying before me.

I began working in a new journal yesterday (a square case-bound book covered with papyrus), but the sketches were done in messy pencil at Joyce Meyer's Houston conference. I need to clean up my notes and sketches before posting them.

13 November 2015

a few more leaves

A few of us ladies from church met at Ms. Billig's house this past week in order to clean it for her. And in her driveway, I found some red leaves --- not a colorful red as the maples in Kansas but red enough to make me wish to paint them!

12 November 2015

Veterans Day in Pflugerville

Our grandson Quen invited Bill to take part in his school's Veterans Day program. We thought it would be something like we've been to in the past, such as special concerts where at one point they ask all veterans to stand and everyone applauds.

Wrong! All veterans attending where grabbed before entering the auditorium, then they all entered together, each with their own branch of service, and sat in special seats on the stage. There was one vet present who had served in World War II as well as several active service men and women. 

After the special speakers and music, there was a reception in the foyer, then we went to Quen's third grade classroom, where Bill talked to the kids about going through boot camp and school, then serving on a subtender, repairing submarines. The kids had some hilarious responses to some of Bill's questions! Such as the difference between a ship (the subtender) and a boat (what they called the fast attack subs): boats move by oars and ships need wind in their sails. Bill grinned and told them he's not quite __that__ old!
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