14 September 2021

a bit of shopping

I recently found a Facebook post from artist Leslie Fehling about the Sketchliner she designed for making text lines in her own sketchbook, sold at Cheap Joe’s art supplies. Previously, I’ve used this grid paper I made, placing underneath papers that are more see-through or using it as a ruler grid on top of thicker papers. I like lightly pencilling in lines that are later erased after text has been added.

As long as I was placing an order anyway, I added a tube of paint I was out of, a postcard-sized sample of Kilimanjaro watercolor paper, and a bottle of Noodler’s ink — which came with a free dip pen. The paper sample says it’s bright white but the Very White label sticker makes the actual paper look more of a cream paper.

I love sketching with “not black” neutral colored fountain pen inks — this El Lawrence is a very dark khaki color named for Lawrence of Arabia. Very subtle in sketches and matches my savanna Lamy Safari pen!

10 September 2021

earlier today . . .

My 6-month eye exam was this morning with a long wait-time. So I drew. I have glaucoma so eye pressures need to be checked regularly.

02 September 2021

sketching tiny . . .


I bought this wee Hahnemuhle Zigzag accordion watercolor book well over a year ago, sketched a Demi palette, waterbrush, and fountain pen on the first 2-page spread, filled the next 4 pages with wildflowers . . . . and then I just stopped using it.

It has been in my bag most of the time; I just had no motivation to draw in it.

Until today. Bill brought me our very first berry from a variety of bushes planted this year. Not sure if it’s one of the raspberries or an under-ripe blackberry but it definitely fit the page!

Even if I got the color wrong.

01 September 2021

revisiting old journals

I was introduced to Webkinz in 2009 when our oldest granddaughter, 6 years old at the time, gave me a White Terrier — the closest match she could make to my Wheaten Scottish Terrier, Maxwell. She wanted both of her grandmothers to play the online games with her. At the time, all of her grandparents lived in Kansas and she’s a Texas girl.

The above sketch recorded this surprise reverse-birthday-gift. I would have named this first pet after Max except for that pink bow — my dog was not a froufrou type! So I named her Annie Laurie after one of my favorite Scottish folk songs. I remember hearing Alex Beaton singing it in person at a Scottish Festival years ago.

A year later I was acting as “granny nanny” to Mikala, and of course we went shopping for more Webkinz! That’s her Peppermint Puppy in the sketch below, a gift from her other grandma.

This month, that same granddaughter started college . . . and I have returned to playing on Webkinz, this time with our 2 youngest grandsons, Josiah and Judah.


30 August 2021

weekend sketches

Yesterday morning we drove to Needville where 2 of our grandsons were baptized. I scribbled down some sermon notes in pencil, cleaning it up a bit later in ink. Afterwards, we ate out at a Mexican restaurant — one of the final points made had been on the meaning of verses 34-35 of Luke 14, so I sketched the salt shaker and bits around it. 

From the previous day, I cleaned up all my fountain pens, then refilled just these 3 Lamy Safari pens. I have fancier pens and a few that are more expensive — but I always return to Lamy pens for sheer dependability. The charcoal one is filled with De Atramentis Document Grey ink, the red one (with a “fude” nib I made from sticking a regular nib in Bill’s vise and gently bending it) has a “sepia” ink I mixed using Document Brown and Document Black, and the new terra color pen is filled with Document Brown.

I wish I had left this alone after painting in the pens. I grabbed blue and black crayons to color in the sketchbook but it looked better before.   😒

26 August 2021

last sketches from Ratcliff

One last journal entry from our time at Ratcliff Lake Recreation Area in Davy Crockett National Forest — I took my time deciding if I would add watercolor or not and if so, how much. Finally I decided to leave this mostly ink sketches.

This cool old log shelter was built by the C.C.C. in 1936 and is a very popular rental area for family gatherings. Sadly, our camp host told us that it will be torn down. The forestry department simply doesn’t have the necessary funds for repair and maintenance on it.

Next month, we’re heading out with our travel trailer to a western finger of Sam Houston National Forest on the northeast edge of Lake Conroe.

15 August 2021

through the trees

 This is one of my views, looking up above our heads. I love these tall trees❣️

14 August 2021

random camp sketches


I don’t like marshmallows as much as Bill but when you have a campfire you gotta toast marshmallows, right? I like them lightly golden; Bill incinerates his.

We were a bit further north than home and I found a leaf turned red, even though it is not yet autumn. The campsite address was Dogwood Lane so I’m guessing this is a dogwood leaf?

11 August 2021

extreme sunlight filtering through the piney woods

 After setting up camp with our travel trailer, Bill cooked our dinner as I sketched. We are surrounded by the piney woods yet the hot sun trickled through to light up the surrounding trees with bright yellow!

We only have one close neighbor in this camp site, and he’s the local campsite host. Mostly shady in spite of this sketch. No motor craft are allowed on the lake so it’s very quiet.

no straight roads in Texas


Coming from Kansas with its normal east-west / north-south road grid, both in city and country, Bill has always complained about Texas roads. None of them go east-west or north-south. None of them are straight, as if road crews thought “the curvier, the better!” Many in cities go in a complete circle. Then there are the names! One highway can have as many as 3 or 4 different names!

Somewhere in this inaccurate tangle of a map is the route we drove to Davy Crockett National Forest. We had considered camping in the Sam Houston National Forest but I didn’t like the likelihood of alligators there . . . . Only to find out there’s a current warning upon entering Davy Crockett to watch out for alligators. 😬

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