22 November 2017

no more paper for Bardie!

Bardie loves paper. 

Playing soccer with wadded-up balls of paper, burrowing into packing paper in boxes. Even patting my sketchbook paper as I draw. 

But then he stopped eating. Even his favorite, a canned seafood blend from Earthborn. Apparently, he had eaten strips he had torn from the brown packing paper in the latest order from Chewy.com that is now messing with his intestines. 

Now under a vet's care, he'll be fine --- I'm replacing his paper toys with ping pong balls!

This is also the final page of my beloved sketchbook handbound by Cathy 'Kate' Johnson. Below are the miscellaneous scribblings from the inside covers. Verses, quotes, playing with palette choices . . . even deciding on Bardie's name.

20 November 2017

mushrooms edging a tree stump

On the oak tree side of our yard, there are several tree stumps cut at ground level. These original trees were cut to make room for building the cabin and thinned a bit to make it more "yard-like". Around the edge of this particular stump some beautiful, luminous mushrooms have popped up this past week.

18 November 2017

a really big leaf

Three of our grandkids came to spend a couple of days with us. Needville High School was sending their volleyball team to the state competition up north of Dallas; so many teachers planned on going (including our son, Jason) that they just closed all the town's schools Friday rather than trying to find all those substitutes.

Today the kids and I took a walk . . . and found this Really Big oak leaf, a full 11" long! Rather bug-chewed and crumbly, but fun to sketch anyway.

And we just heard: the Needville team are the new state champions!

13 November 2017

saying goodbye . . .

Since moving here nearly 4 years ago, Bill has formed a close friendship with our elderly neighbor, John. He lost his beloved wife, Bobbie, just a couple of months after we had settled here. His own elderly aunt and uncle once owned the cabin that is now our home.

John is now dying. His son and daughter-in-law have been very thankful for Bill's help as they go through the process of saying goodbye. I sketched this card to give them from us; Bill and John have spent many hours visiting on this side patio of John's.

11 November 2017

a braiding team

Yesterday afternoon, we drove to Troy, TX to watch our young friend Macy play basketball. Before her team played, I saw these team members "tag team" a hair-braiding session. Macy didn't get much play time, having recently recovered from a concussion she received at a volleyball practice, but her team won!

09 November 2017

results . . . or not

Yesterday, I sketched this while waiting in the neurosurgeon's office at Scott & White in Temple, Texas. After extensive new tests, this second neurosurgeon found no indication for further surgery to correct Bill's damaged nerve. Pain management was suggested; we already went that route and it did not help at all. The nerve may possibly heal over time, it may not. Bill's feeling pretty down at the moment.

We are trusting the Lord to have better answers.

06 November 2017

a few leaves and Internet woes

A young girl at church, Kathleen, heard that I miss colorful autumn leaves so she brought me a few leaves from her yard. Not as brilliant as our Autumn Joy maple tree produced but fun to sketch.

Having internet problems . . . Currently, I can only post entries at church with their free wifi. Not a lot of selection around here but I'm asking around in hopes of finding a new service. I can't really think of opening an Etsy shop to sell prints or notecards online until this is resolved. Also looking into buying a signal booster for my phone to solve my not having a signal on a regular basis.

30 October 2017

sketching Saturday's meeting

Our local homeowner's association held the annual meeting on Saturday -- I sketched the water well system that is the center of the current battle. We are a small housing group in the country, far from any water lines (also far from decent internet connections or clear cell phone signals, but that may be all the lovely trees), and we share this private well.

In theory, our yearly dues go to pay for upkeep on the wells and maintain the roads. 

In reality: in the past 2 years, board members have freely spent the money on whatever notion they had in mind at the moment WITHOUT bringing these items before the community for a vote, and have depleted much of what was set aside for the wells. 

Now, with an expensive evaluation by an engineering firm, we learn of multiple violations in our system and the fact that any replacement will require bringing the whole thing up to code --- a very expensive process. Or we can do nothing and chance the state coming in and shutting the wells down. Leaving us without water.

Yet, the board president and vice-president did nothing at this meeting except whine about themselves . . . Bill, who has served in a minor position on the board, was trying to lead an open discussion with all the residents about the problems and searching for answers together, drawing on ALL residents' thoughts and suggestions. While being interrupted by the president's pity party.

A frustrating day to say the least!

28 October 2017

Jeremiah's new baggage

My wee mohair bear, Jeremiah, now has his own art tool kit . . . complete with a hand-sewn leather-covered journal with decorative end papers. All kept together in his own suitcase -- designed and crafted by artist Andrea Joseph and sold in her Etsy shop. The perfect little journal was made by Holly Serjeant of Scrivener's Books, Buxton, Derbyshire, UK.

Andrea's attention to detail is amazing! She even includes 2 mini ink cartridges with instructions on filling the tiny cork-stoppered glass bottle. The "pen" is a sharpened stick. The case is lined with "scraps" of some of her ink sketches. I no longer see these in her shop -- they possibly were a limited production. With the packing, she included encouragement to fill the sketchbook with drawings and post them online. So far, I'm still thinking about it . . .

24 October 2017

finally! I found another one . . .

The upper vintage Prang watercolor box is one I've had for years. I love it's being metal yet so much lighter in weight than modern metal watercolor boxes. And a full-sized brush fits inside, depending on how many pans of paint I put inside.

A couple of years ago, I foolishly took my Prang box to the beach --- we were camping right at the gulf shore on Mustang Island. Lots of wind and sand! My poor box was sand-blasted inside and out as I sketched and painted! 

The paints were able to be cleaned up without too much loss but the inside finish of the box was ruined. I tried sanding it down and spraying with an enamel paint, but the surface still fought my mixing paints on it.

Now and then, I would check on eBay but these boxes have caught on in popularity; average prices were $25 and higher for boxes in poor shape with rusty areas. I was willing to settle for a box from the 1950's though I do love this Art Deco version with it's wee Old Faithful geyser, as long as the inside was in good shape,

And finally I found this one for only $10! I didn't know the Prang company had a primaries version. I removed the tray and set my own pans in place -- this time, using pans with a magnet on the bottom to hold them in place easily. 

And here it is, filled with an earthy granulating palette for autumn. (Granulation without all that sandy grit furnished by the Gulf of Mexico!)

23 October 2017

a bit of church sketching

Just some random sketches and thoughts  . . .
Both days, I was using a Noodler's Creaper fountain pen. One is filled with a custom "sepia" mixed from leftover Noodler's Polar Black and Polar Brown inks. The other is a custom dark gray mixed from Noodler's Lexington Gray and a bit of leftover Polar Black.

21 October 2017

the sale that wasn't

Last Saturday there was an Octoberfest event in Burton, Texas. Diane, owner of Heritage Sunday House bed & breakfast and the antique store next door, asked to include prints and notecards of my sketches in her special sale. The chamber of commerce hosted the event . . . and even they didn't show up! A few people came out for the walk-run and a few dachshunds and their owners for a weenie-dog race. But not one person came our way, even with food set out for them.

I just had to laugh about the whole thing, though I am sorry for all the hard work that Diane put into it -- incredibly frustrating for her! My sketches are now displayed for sale in her shop. Diane's encouragement has nudged me to learn about the process of having prints and notecards made, and now I may go forward in opening an Etsy shop. 

Prints I had made are not always true in color to the originals and some shadows disappeared. (Many of these are a bit out of focus, as they were very quick snapshots.)





These are the first series of notecards I did. I'm thinking several of the above prints would also make nice notecards. Once I figure out how to sell them online . . .

15 October 2017

the colors of autumn

Our oak trees do not wear the glorious yellows, golds, oranges, reds, and purples of the maples and other trees back in Kansas. Those leaves that turn in the autumn simply turn brown; some oak trees around here are actually evergreen (who knew?) and stay a rich green year-round.

If I can't enjoy the colors of autumn outside, I can at least change my watercolor palettes to reflect the season --- Here are my cleaned-up and refilled palettes, full of earthy, granulating pigments. And, typical of me, I made changes after sketching these pages! The earth-red is Jane Blunder's favorite, Indian red: a gorgeous shade but very opaque. I wondered if Daniel Smith's Primatek "garnet genuine" might be a good granulating red while still being more transparent. It arrived yesterday, so I switched out the Indian reds for garnet.

Then, since burnt sienna and transparent red oxide are so close in color, I took the sienna out of my pocket palette and added a cobalt blue. I have been greatly influenced by Jane Blunder's blog and her amazing studies of pigments and what they will do.

Another change: Apple has finally updated their products to where I can no longer post photos to my blog using other devices. The problem is that Blogger refuses to upgrade their apps to the newer Apple systems. I can still post using my ancient iPad 3, but it's camera is not as good as that on my phone. So here I am, posting on my computer instead . . . and realizing how rusty my typing skills have become since relying on iPad, iPod, and iPhone!

14 October 2017

sharing a Zydeco Dancer

Following Bill's spinal tap - CT scan at College Station's Scott & White hospital, we went on a search for a Cajun lunch. There was a Cajun restaurant in Wichita, KS that had really awesome food -- I especially loved their tomato bisque! 

The food we ate at this "Razzoo's" on University Avenue was just average, and they had no bisque. But we shared this very yummy cheesecake dessert that was totally worth the stop here. The strawberries tasted absolutely perfect!

08 October 2017

trouble maker

Last night, I sketched a real trouble-maker. It's been a full year since Bill sought medical help for a reoccurring pain in his right arm. Two surgeries, two rounds of physical therapy, two tries with pain management's steroid injections (the second one actually made it much worse) . . . 

Now we are seeking yet another neurosurgeon's opinion, this time in Temple, TX. New tests on Wednesday, including one where they shocked his nerves, then repeatedly poked him with a needle. And tomorrow he gets a spinal tap injecting dye before another CT scan.

Our trust is in God's healing, as no one else seems to be able to "fix" this.

Temperatures on Wednesday were in the 90s. The technician doing an X-ray on Bill asked if the t-shirt under his shirt was short-sleeve. Bill answered, "No, it's thermal!" Which caused the funniest look on the tech's face! But cold causes an excruciating burning pain in his arm . . . and everywhere is air-conditioned colder than needed.

01 October 2017

a bit of pattern

Hurricane Harvey left our bedroom carpet ruined when freak side-ways blowing rain blew into a couple of vertical gaps between logs --- gaps ironically caused by a very hot, dry summer. In the storm's aftermath, the logs swelled to their customary tightness.

Bill hated that Berber carpet; we decided that stone floors would be more in keeping with a log cabin. We have also been remodeling the bathroom, so we decided to extend the stone in that room as well. The tile guy and his crew came on Monday and we had to sleep elsewhere, the only toilet having been pulled in ready for the new floor. It took three days to bring in the stone, lay it out, grout, and seal it.

Meanwhile, our friends graciously allowed us to stay in their vacant double-wide trailer home. Bardie Mac loved exploring the new space! One morning, I sketched this bit of detail from the footboard of the bed. The library slip was already taped in place on this two-page spread --- I found several of these slips in some used books I read over the summer so I saved them for notes in my journal.

Our new floor is actual pieces of rock, cut into rectangular tiles. The edge texturing reminds me of the seams in a patchwork quilt. Bardie, having a very dense fur coat, loves lying with his belly against the cool tiles.

While picking up last minute remodeling supplies, we decided to replace the light bulbs in our bedroom ceiling fan fixture. The old ones took their own sweet time to warm up to a bright light. We found an LED bulb made by Philips called "Scene Switch". It is one bulb with three color settings: soft white, daylight, and a "warm glow"; the daylight setting works perfectly for taking true-to-life photos to post!

One more bit of pattern . . . A work still in progress, our new shower walls are tiles but they look like old barn wood!

26 September 2017

a hiding Kat

This quick sketch is from Sunday, though I didn't take time to add color until this morning. Sunday evening was our "snack & yack" / movie night at church --- Kathleen (aka "Kat") saw me with my phone camera aimed at her and hid. I had the flash turned off so she thinks I did not take the picture!

This morning Bardie Mac and I are hanging out at our friends' double-wide trailer in the country. The tile guy is putting in a new stone tile floor in our cabin's bedroom and bathroom --- meaning there is no usable bathroom at the moment. And Bardie, being a very curious cat indeed, wanted to be in the middle of the work going on. Our old carpeted floor was ruined during the recent hurricane; we thought a stone floor fits a log cabin better than fancy Berber carpet.

No wi-fi here so I'm using my phone as a hot spot, seeing if it will work to post this from my old iPad 3.

24 September 2017

Autumn allergies . . .

The pastures of Wolf Creek Ranch across the farm road from our cabin are a glorious deep gold, surrounded by deep green oaks. Incredibly lovely to look at . . . and everything to sneeze at! The golden flowers are ragweed. Time for tissues and decongestants.

This two-page spread sort of evolved over a couple weeks as I focused more on sketches for next month's sale. I only added a bit here and there in my journal, mostly neglecting it. I'm hoping to get back to it on a regular basis now.

20 September 2017

Sammy cat, chickens, and friends

These four sketches are for the first set of notecards I sent to the printer's. The Turkish Van kitty is Sammy and yes, that _is_ his outside water dish, sitting on a picnic table! Brewster the rooster used to live at the Heritage Sunday House bed & breakfast --- he loved the innkeeper dearly but didn't like her guests so he's no longer there. The chickens and peacocks _are_ there for guests to enjoy.

2 more to become note cards

I think these two sketches, to be printed into note cards, complete my order for the printer. The sale event isn't until October 14, but I want to allow the printer plenty of time. I may do a few small additional watercolors to be sold as originals, but for now I can get back to normal journal sketching . . . I have neglected my journal these past few weeks.

17 September 2017

a spool coat rack and boots

These are two of the designs I'm using for note cards, to sell at an upcoming event in Burton, TX. Both images greeted us last May as we entered the Heritage Sunday House bed & breakfast; I knew when I saw those colorful boots all lined up that I would someday sketch them!

I also sketched the inn's resident cat Sammie, his peacock pals, the chickens Diane keeps, and Brewster, her old rooster. Brewster no longer lives at the inn, because he loved Diane but disliked her guests, but she sent me a photo of him. All of these were sketched to be printed into note cards but I forgot to take a photo of them --- I left them with the printer.

We tried a printing company in Bryan, TX (on a friend's recommendation) but they didn't get back with me for an estimate. So I looked on line and found Kwik Kopy, a small family-run business in Brenham. They seem to want to work with me . . . and their little shop also sells homemade fudge! Can't go wrong with that, right?

14 September 2017

chasing bubbles

Our pastor mentioned bubbles in a recent sermon . . . . so I thought I would try sketching some. Not as easy as I thought it would be.

05 September 2017

happy in my pen addiction . . .

. . . wonky sketch and all!

I read the quote from Brenda Swenson and wished to jot it down in my journal. Then I grabbed a fountain pen and started to draw some of my pens in mostly continuous line. Very wonky and not as loosely exciting as Brenda's drawing of some of her pens that was posted with the quote on Facebook --- It always amuses me that even when in trying to follow another artist's style, our own personal style always wins through.

02 September 2017

bluebonnet and rocking chairs

Two more sketches for the sale . . . . This being Texas, a bluebonnet is required, right? The inviting rocking chairs are located on the porch of Heritage Sunday House bed and breakfast in Burton, TX. The framed quote hanging behind the chairs sort of describes the innkeeper, Diane. Such an awesome, talented woman!

29 August 2017

a few more random pages

While the east coast of Texas prepared for the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey, Bill and I went to get our hair cut. I sketched the above as Rosie cut Bill's hair. The shop we go to is named "The Best Lil Hair House in Texas".

Later that evening, we ate out with friends at a Chinese restaurant in College Station, where I tried sketching the orange 'bird of paradise' garnish on my plate. The 'wings' had drooped a little. Now, after the storm has passed, the 30-minute drive to College Station would probably take 1 1/2 hours due to flooded roads and bridges washed out.

In the aftermath of the storm, our yard is full of very rubbery-feeling mushrooms and bright rain lilies. We did end up with some damage: where the log ends butted together on the north wall there had been some separation due to an extended dry summer, leaving paper thin gaps in places. Storm winds at one point blew torrential rains sideways . . . right into our bedroom wall. After repeatedly using a wet-vac and fans, we have decided that the Berber carpet is a total loss (we didn't like it anyway) and we will need to pull it up, bleach the subfloor to stop mold, and put in a new floor. Pretty minor stuff in light of the millions of flood victims in Houston and the coastal towns south.

27 August 2017

a few more for the sale

This sketch of the Burton Cotton Gin is a re-do of one I did in a sketchbook a couple of years ago. We had driven to Burton to check out the museum, which was closed, so I sketched the gin from the parking lot. I 'm working on a set of sketches to sell at a special event in Burton in October.

Another historic building in Burton is this train depot, though it is no longer located near the train tracks. All small town depots in our area are painted in this same deep warm yellow and orangey-brown color. This is from the end of the rectangular building.

These other items were from the bed & breakfast we stayed at in Burton, or the antique shop next door. I especially loved this metal cat on the front porch of the inn! One ear is folded; a few days after our stay here, we drove to McKinney, TX to pick up my new Scottish Fold kitten.

When I saw this doll, I had to sketch her --- she reminds me of one my grandmother once said I would someday inherit. When Grandma died, her older sister, not knowing she wished me to have it, took it home to Missouri. A few years later, Aunt Lucile developed dementia and we have no idea where the doll disappeared to.
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