25 June 2022

another Wimsey book

Still reading the Lord Peter Wimsey mystery series written by Dorothy Sayers in the 1920-1930s . . . I sketched this while reading the 11th book, probably Sayer’s best mystery though critics of the day debated the implausibility of the murder “weapon”. Now I’m nearly halfway through book #12 — fun, witty stories!

24 June 2022

CMYK palette play

A new toy arrived in the mail several weeks ago from Art Toolkit, but I didn't get around to playing with it right away. While I have previously put together a similar CMYK palette using my regular paints, I was curious about the handmade pigments from Greenleaf & Blueberry -- I bought this limited edition set as a way to try them out. And my normal way to try paints out is to make a mixing grid.

The paints have a lovely transparency and pick up easily with a brush. I'm not fond of strong staining pigments like phthalo's but this phthalo cyan is a dream to work with! Overall these are much brighter than my normal palettes but there is not much granulation, something I love. I definitely need to play with them more, next time mixing 3 pigments together for earthy and skin colors.

20 June 2022


When I wrote the heading “Common Milkweed”, I was meaning common as in “ordinary”, not type. Then, while trying to find out if there is a specific name to this variety, I found that there is a specific variety known as Common. I really don’t know what specific variety this milkweed is at all — I just found it a fascinating form to sketch!

For the seed floss bits spilling out of the center bit, I tried white gouache, a white Gelly Roll pen, and a water-based white Sharpie — none of them made as sharp of a white line as I was envisioning.

16 June 2022

my current palette

For anyone curious about other sketchers’ palettes, this is a chart that I recently made of the current watercolors in my supply drawer. I seldom carry all of them with me.

Many are convenience colors that I just happen to like; for these, I added a side swatch trying to mix that color from my other selections. Quinacridone Rose is interchangeable with Quinacridone Red — I have a tube of each and can’t decide which I prefer. When the Piemontite is used up, I’ll probably replace it with Quinacridone Burnt Scarlet.

On the reverse side, I made notes of each paint’s pigment code and properties. All are from Daniel Smith except Potter’s Pink, Cobalt Turquoise Light, and Perylene Green — these are from Winsor & Newton.

13 June 2022

recent wildflowers and reading

I am still caught up with trying to read the complete Lord Peter Wimsey books written by Dorothy L. Sayers in the 1920-1930s. Normally a quick reader, I have been checking them out as ebooks from a Houston library and am constantly having to wait for another reader to turn the next one in (I prefer to read things in order).

Anyway, because of my voracious reading habit, I have been neglecting my sketchbook pages, just sketching a bit here and there of these wildflowers recently found on a friend's acreage. Finally finished this page last night -- that Monarda is extremely complex!

Since I am enjoying these clever mysteries so much, I looked into buying the complete set of 15 but I just can't wrap my head around spending $25 on EBOOKS!! (the lowest price I have found). A book that can be held in the hand can be passed on to others, but an ebook stops with the original purchaser. I found a complete used set for sale as Mass Market paperbacks but I am not willing to spend $125!

Still trying to decide . . .

26 May 2022

a quiet celebration

Last week’s camping trip, with our kids and grandkids spending Saturday with us, was to celebrate Bill’s and my 50th wedding anniversary. But today is actually our real anniversary — so we went on a date, just the two of us. We had barbecue at Tejas Chocolate in Tomball, then bought some of their hand-crafted chocolates (which we are saving to try tomorrow — we are full! Giving me time to sketch them in my 2” ZigZag sketchbook).

25 May 2022

eye pressure check

After an adjustment in my daily eye drops (for glaucoma), I had an appointment this morning to check my eye pressures. Nothing interesting to draw in the waiting room so I drew my eye drops in my ZigZag watercolor book. (Turquoise is hard to mix with this limited palette!)

I was taking the drops with turquoise and yellow caps; my doctor wanted to switch the yellow-capped one to a combination of the yellow and the purple-capped solutions — but it cost over $400 and insurance refused to pay. So she just added the purple capped drops as a separate Rx — only $5! Just inconvenient to now have to take 3 separate drops instead of 2. At least my pressures are down.

22 May 2022

San Felipe de Austin

We took time out from camping to visit the nearby San Felipe de Austin’s history museum with a “Villa de Austin” recreation of some of the town’s buildings. The actual township’s location is across the highway where archeological digs are ongoing. This town was designed and established by Steven F. Austin in 1823-1824 and served as his colonial capital when Texas was still part of Mexico. Townspeople destroyed the town themselves as General Santa Anna advanced on those fighting for Texas independence.

Drawn with a Kaweco Liliput fountain pen loaded with J. Herbin Lie de The ink which blurs a bit when watercolor is added, causing an “antique” look.

20 May 2022

camp site

The wind is picking up here in the woods, and the camp sites are beginning to fill up for the coming weekend. The above site is presently empty but has a reserved sign. We normally prefer not camping over weekends due to heavier crowds, but this time our kids and grandkids are coming for a family get-together tomorrow. We tried to keep our 50th wedding anniversary low-key but it has become a party after all.

19 May 2022

walking in the woods

While walking around the woods here at Stephen F. Austin State Park, we found wild blackberries and several white tailed deer. We hadn’t seen any deer in the piney woods forests we have camped in previously, not even the smaller mule deer. This doe calmly nursed her fawn while keeping a wary eye out for the silly humans with camera phones.

The RV / travel trailer camp sites are drive-through (no backing into the space!) and set far enough from each other that each site feels private. The grass is kept mown in a semi-circle at each site (there are venomous snakes here) but left to grow tall between sites under the trees. Gives a feeling of being all by ourselves as we relax under the awning looking off into the forest. And watching lightning bugs! We haven’t seen them since leaving Kansas.
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