12 April 2024

Indian paintbrush and bluebonnets

This year the Texas bluebonnets have been a bit sparse, at least in our immediate area. But the Indian paintbrush have been abundant — even colors of coral and yellow have bloomed among the usual orange-red.

This photo was taken in the same area as the above were sketched from by my friend A. just one year ago:

09 April 2024

sketching wildflowers

This past Friday, a friend and I got together to sketch and chat. She lives on land currently covered with windflowers — I drew some bluebonnets, a primrose, and false dandelion in a glass yogurt container that were sitting in front of me. 

This crazy jumping spider kept coming near me so I added him (her?) to the page.

The local bluebonnets have been outdone by Indian paintbrush this year. Oceans of orange have overtaken the usual blue. A. and I both took photos (her iPhone camera is newer and much better than mine!) — I plan on trying to sketch a landscape of wildflowers later this week.

This is a photo I took looking towards a neighboring farm . . .

And this is a photo A. took recently. I absolutely love Texas wildflowers!

04 April 2024

a bit of lantana

Today we drove to south of Tomball to buy new lantana plants, which the hummingbirds and butterflies love. Afterwards, we ate at Goodson’s Cafe — their pot roast is wonderful! (and so is the pie ๐Ÿ˜‹)

On some of the walls are art items for sale. I liked how this Texas star seemed to be made of old car tags — then Bill looked at the small price tag hanging from it: “Made in China”. ๐Ÿ˜ณ 

02 April 2024

aloe vera, Texas sized

Two years ago, we bought a small aloe vera to place in this special terra cotta pot. Mikala, our granddaughter, had decorated the pot with shells from Galveston. When we lived in Kansas, I kept an aloe vera in it but it was an indoor plant.

Here in the warmer climate of Texas, we planned on putting it outdoors. On a whim, I planted it directly in the soil instead of the pot. When winter nights might get too cold we wrap the plant in a protective sheet and it seems to be surviving. In fact, it’s thriving with new patches of growth added each year. The pot would have been too small.

Today I planted a small succulent in the pot instead.

27 March 2024

two sketch kits

Today I cleaned out and reloaded my two sketch kits, both purchased years ago from Art Toolkit. The larger one was bought as a “second” during an annual spring cleaning sale but I cannot find any defect in it at all. For those curious, I’ve listed the contents below:

The small Pocket Kit holds my 2” sketchbook, a Demi Palette, a small spray bottle to refresh paint, small cut pieces of watercolor paper to test colors on, a travel waterbrush with medium brush tip, a size 03 Pigma Micron pen in sepia (with skinny masking tape around the upper barrel in case I wish to tape off a border), a thin line brush pen in muted green, a well-used Blackwing pencil, and a size 2 travel brush. The large pockets hold a 3.5 x 5” Traveler’s Notebook refill, a flat viewfinder, a folded paper towel, and a small clip to attach the palette to my sketchbook as I work. I have a silver Kaweco Liliput fountain pen with gray ink that I’d like to add to this kit but I’m having trouble with it’s ink feed.

The larger A5 Kit holds my current 5 x 7.5” sketchbook, a terry wrist band for wiping brushes, a paper towel, a 2.0 Molotow masking pen (this is a new tool for me), a stick eraser (to remove the masking fluid), a Kaweco Supra fountain pen with black ink, a mechanical pencil, a white Gelly Roll pen, two waterbrushes (one large tip, one small), two small clips, a Pocket Palette, some small cut pieces of watercolor paper, 2 Kaweco Liliput fountain pens (with brown and muted green inks), 2 travel brushes (a squirrel mop and a 1/4” dagger), and a small spray bottle.

All inks are De Atramentis Document or Noodler’s, chosen for their water resistance so watercolor can be painted over the ink lines. I don’t like carrying a purse — keys can clip to the zipper pull and my ID wallet is flat enough to slip into an inside pocket.

26 March 2024

tiny pink mushrooms

This morning as I walked the south pasture with my corgi, I came upon these pink mushrooms. I’ve never seen any pink or red ones before — so I sketched them in my tiny sketchbook.

The palette is a Baby Cactus Demi Palette, a limited edition from Art Toolkit.

17 March 2024

a touch of spring

These tiny yellow-to-coral wildflowers are popping up all over our yard and front pasture. The wee blossoms are only 1/2 to 3/4” diameter. I don’t know what they are called but they make me smile.

16 March 2024

a new toy

When I first began to use fountain pens for sketching, Lamy Safaris were my go-to choice — and I still love their dependability, as well as being able to match my ink color to the pen. (They still don’t have a decent brown for brown ink though!)

But in recent years, my favorite pens have been Kaweco Liliput fountain pens! Even though they are not flexible-nib pens, the more they are used the more flexible the nib becomes.

Several months ago I found this Kaweco Supra on JetPens.com and immediately placed it on my wish list. The nib is larger and with the barrel’s extension piece it can hold a regular international cartridge or an ink converter. (If the extension piece is removed, it is more the length of a Liliput which can only use international short cartridges.) To celebrate beating cancer, I decided to gift myself with the new pen with a larger M nib, especially for writing letters or drawing with a bolder line. German fountain pen nibs as a rule run larger than Japanese nibs.

For some reason, my white gel pen refused to write on the black ink label of the De Atramentis ink bottle in the sketch. Curious!๐Ÿคจ 

11 March 2024

a sketching pause while cleaning

Yesterday I cleaned up my art space in the back room. Or rather, I cleaned up this portion of the space: an oak taboret on wheels that Bill built for me years ago that sits next to my old desk. So of course I had to draw it in my journal. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Yes, that is a ceramic pet dish acting as a water container! With the addition of my corgi, we needed a larger water dish for pets so the old one joined my art supplies. I just need to remember to empty it so the cats don’t drink dirty paint water!

Several old wooden boxes hold various supplies — the oldest one on an underneath shelf is filled with ink bottles and cartridges. It came from my grandfather’s printing shop and once held metal typeset letters.

This back room in our wee barn-house is a combination studio, library, office, laundry room, and cats’ room (where they can eat without a corgi interfering with them!). I have lots more cleaning to do, especially the wall of built-in bookshelves.

After posting this, I went back to the Dorothy L. Sayers novel I am currently reading. This conversation between Lord Peter Wimsey and his friend Charles Parker of Scotland Yard caught my eye. It’s been years since 9th grade Latin class — I had to look that bit up!

In the context of Wimsey’s character, it made me laugh so I jotted it down.

By the way, that desk of mine has some family history as well. It was once covered with red paint and stood in my grandfather’s barber shop with a great antique cash register on top of it. I had it stripped back to wood and have used it ever since as a desk . . . or a table to hold my sewing machine.

08 March 2024

relaxing with color

Zero inspiration, zero motivation at the moment . . . (or am I just feeling lazy?). So I made a color chart of my favorite watercolors. A very relaxing thing to do.

I was also testing masking tape and masking fluid in this new sketchbook. The lines between the color swatches are made with a very skinny masking tape (I should’ve taped over the center binding threads — they drank up the paint!). The highlights on water-brush and paint palette are where I tried out a Molotow masking liquid marker. Both seem to work well on this paper. The masking fluid would not come up when rubbed with my finger but a white eraser worked fine.

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