20 September 2019

simple morning sketch


Just a quick sketch while meeting friends for breakfast today in Lyons, Texas. My tea mug was a bit more gray-blue but I wanted to use some phthalo turquoise in the mix. Just because.


19 September 2019

current favorite travel palettes


Autumn is about to arrive — I’ve even seen a few oak leaves turning color here at “the farm”, as our son-in-law calls the property in Hockley (probably due to heat stress). At our cabin south of Lake Somerville, the oaks tend to be evergreen in behavior.

This is the time of year that I like switching from bright watercolors to muted or granulating pigments, making my “lunar” palette a favorite one to grab (the Pocket Palette on the right). The lunar watercolors come from Daniel Smith; they also have a lunar earth that is like burnt sienna but I prefer transparent red oxide.

For those of you following my blog — yes, I tweaked my Demi Palette once more. (Are y’all laughin’ yet?) I was not using the smaller mixing pan so I added green apatite and white gouache. This is still my favorite palette to carry in my bag.

And when I really need brighter colors, there’s my Whiskey Painters palette. The Jadeite has become too expensive to buy, but I still have this half pan left. When it’s gone, perylene green will replace it. I normally like to include a raw sienna but quinacridone gold is close enough — this is some of the original formula, no longer available. The sap green is a leftover from when it contained the original quin. gold; when it is gone, green apatite will replace it.

I have cut down my number of travel palettes, honest I have! I gave several away to a college art teacher who keeps a “free” box of supplies for her students. I’ve started to be more disciplined in art supplies, keeping only what I really use. It’s been a struggle but I’m trying to be good! 😉

17 September 2019

last pages


Years ago I came across this quote from Beatrix Potter and jotted it down on a loose piece of paper. Since the first page of this journal had a quote about Miss Potter, I decided to add this scrap to the last pages. The quote reads:

“It is all the same — drawing, painting, modeling — the irresistible desire to copy any beautiful object which strikes the eye.
Why cannot one be content to look at it. I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever, and settles on the queerest things, worse than queer sometimes.
Last time, in the middle of September, I caught myself in the backyard making a careful and admiring copy of the swill bucket, and the laugh it gave me brought me ‘round.”
                                                      — Beatrix Potter

I’m sure the swill bucket in question must have been full of scraps and more colorful, but I drew our own swill bucket on the page. It came from Bill’s maternal grandmother’s farm and used to hold scraps to feed the chickens. We are currently using it with a big sponge to clean up very icy water that sometimes leaks from under the refrigerator in our daughter’s new farmhouse. Bill knows how to fix it (it’s coming from the auto-defrost in the freezer) but just hasn’t taken the time to do so yet.




We are well into our third month of trying to sell our log cabin, and only three potential buyers have looked at it. Frustrating and discouraging for us, since we can’t move forward with our plans to convert a small barn into a home until it sells. To encourage myself to keep hoping and trusting that God does have a good plan for us, I have jotted down several bits of encouragement in this journal, mostly from writer Wayne Jacobsen. The last page seemed to collect three of them at differing times.




And today I mended a pair of jeans — and so added a quick sketch of the thread, needle, and snips just to “honor” the simple occasion.

15 September 2019

for Michael


One day a wee garden gnome appeared in the landscaping around the farm’s swimming pool. He wears the colors of Kansas State University, of course. Right here in the middle of Texas.

14 September 2019

hung out to dry

I love laundry hanging on a line! Or in our case, swimming suits and towels. Our washer / dryer is still at the cabin in Brenham while we are spending more time at the “farm” in Hockley.

It has been frustrating for us not to see progress on selling our cabin. I read or listen to encouraging messages and write pertinent quotes on the pages of my sketchbook to remind me that God is in control and He is working out the details.

13 September 2019

a neighborhood in our front pasture

We had no mosquitoes at the cabin because the boards of dragonflies swooped in like a cloud and gobbled them up.

At our new place, I think this community bird house in the front pasture must be the reason we don’t have much of a mosquito problem. I have not identified any purple martins yet, but I also haven’t been plagued with itchy skeeter bites . . . so they must be active!

There are several of these houses up and down the country lane. Ours is near a gigantic old oak tree dripping with Spanish moss.

I thought it sort of fit the quote from Fred Rogers, but after adding watercolor, the words are hard to read clearly.

10 September 2019

Stabilo pens and prickly things


Recently Brenda Swenson posted on Facebook about the fun of sketching with Stabilo point 88 water-soluble pens — you can find Brenda’s blog post about sketching with Stabilo pens here. I was at Michael’s craft store to get some yarn and they had a big display by the register of these pens, so I picked up two of them.

The sienna (color #75) is just a bit too orangey for me, but I really like the brown (#45)! Similar in behavior to the Elegant Writer calligraphy pen I’ve played around with, you can wash out a bit of shadow from your sketch, then let it dry. When watercolor is later added, the ink lines stay put.

The two prickly things I sketched were the remains of a pine cone that a squirrel left on our patio after snacking, and a magnolia seed pod after it opened up and let some seeds fall.


04 September 2019

final tweak . . . I think


I couldn’t help it. My previous color chart just wasn’t quite right.

So I switched out the perylene scarlet for pyrrol scarlet — it seems to behave better in mixes. And then went ahead and purchased a brighter turquoise than the cobalt turquoise light that I already had — I chose phthalo turquoise because it’s two components both mix well.

I replaced the blue apatite with indigo. Actually, I mixed my own indigo — Daniel Smith’s indigo is made of indanthrone blue and lamp black; I mixed a bit of indanthrone blue with the lunar black I already had, stirring them right in the pan with a toothpick. I think next time I will use a bit more blue and less of the black.

When I did this chart yesterday, I was fighting to keep my brush and the paints wet enough — it’s been very hot and dry here lately. So the mixing swatches aren’t as smooth as I hoped for but they give me an idea of what colors I’ll get.

03 September 2019

a change of trees


We are in the process of moving from gently rolling hills of pastures and live oaks . . .



. . . to an area where trees make their presence known, the loblolly and other tall pines.





02 September 2019

playing . . .


Yesterday in discipleship class and church, I just played around with water-soluble inks — an Elegant Writer pen and my Kaweco Liliput pen with a brown ink cartridge. And a water brush, of course. A fun way to do a wash without paint.



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