29 July 2010

Thursday morning's walk

Instead of stopping to sketch something during my walk this morning, I ran into my Scottie-loving neighbor, Peggy. Or rather, I ran into her elderly golden lab, Jenny.

Knowing Jenny should not be running loose on the sidewalk, I walked that direction to make sure Peggy knew she was out. That led to a conversation, explaining why Maxwell was not with me and a visit with her two Scotties, Amber and Abbie.

So . . . just a quick sketch of my tomatoes before going inside. The two half-barrels are sitting in the same small bed the rose shrub is in. Apparently they like it there.

28 July 2010

shopping at Braum's

We used to have 5 grocery stores in this town; now we have only one (unless you count WalMart --- I don't).

The produce at Dillon's and WalMart are not acceptable. Both sell substandard items with no taste that spoil right away. And they both charge higher prices here than the same stores in Wichita. A Wichita news program even did a piece on this, testing it for themselves. Nothing changed.

Enter Braum's Ice Cream store: they now have a fresh market section that sells wonderful produce at low prices. They even had this extra virgin olive oil to cook the veggies in . . . I LOVE stir-fried fresh green beans!

25 July 2010

illustration palette trial

I found an on-line article about paints used for illustrating children's books --- which colors are closest to those used by printers. Several on the suggested list I already have; I tried mixing substitutions for those I don't.

I illustrated a children's book for daughter-in-law Misty early this year. Printing it is on hold while she works at getting a foundation set up that will pay the printing costs. (The book's purpose is to help children in abusive situations)

I have often wondered how the illustrations will look in print. These colors do seem much brighter than those I did. When our vet, Dr. Beth, gets time to write the little books she asked me to illustrate, I think I'll try this set. But first, I'll play around with them . . .

The recommended paints (all Daniel Smith) are:
rhodonite genuine
perinone orange
hansa yellow medium
permanent green light
amazonite genuine
manganese blue hue
ultramarine blue
imperial purple
quinacridone gold
quinacridone burnt orange

24 July 2010

new handbound journal

As I stood on the sidewalk sketching this flower shop - turned - house, the sweetest little tortoise-shell cat came to greet me, then sit and watch. But when another early morning walker came by, she was up and chasing after him.

I don't understand why the owners of two huge pear trees one block from this house just let the pears rot on the tree every year. They own a local health food store; one would think they would value fruit fresh off the tree. Neighborhood kids use the pears for ammunition . . . even when they get soft.

On the first page of every new sketch journal, I include my palette. Sometimes sketching an actual palette, sometimes just the colors I'm currently using. Always subject to change.

22 July 2010

early a.m. walk

I have started to walk early in the morning. VERY early, trying to avoid the excessive heat and insect bites. Strange without a dog walking with me (My Scottish terrier is now my granddaughter's dog -- when she asked, I couldn't say no). Not sure if I can make this a habit or not, but so far so good.

Instead of my dog, I take along a sketchbook. Most days I don't sketch anything; this neighborhood hasn't really inspired me much. But once in a while something catches my eye. Earlier this week, it was a water tower so high above the trees.

Today, I noticed Peggy's new mailbox. She has recently become a Scottie rescuer, providing foster homes to Scotties in need of new homes. Not sure if Peggy will succeed as a rescuer --- she has come to love Abbie and Amber so much, I doubt she will be able to give them up.

I'm missing my own Scottie; I may ask Peggy if she would like help walking hers.

21 July 2010

deadheading roses

The David Austin rose shrub I almost got rid of two years ago due to lack of flowers has come back stronger than ever. Fully loaded with blooms in May (or so I was told -- I was in Texas at the time), and now a whole new crop of roses coming on. Plus a couple of spent blooms like the one above. I think it took me seriously when I cut it back to just above the soil.

20 July 2010

my new stash

I just finished binding a few more artist sketchbooks. In good time, as I am on the last pages of the purchased Lama Li Journal used in the past few months.

These are made of a variety of papers I had on hand, plus a few purchased while I was in Texas. Watercolor papers are hard to find locally for journals. They must be either mail-ordered (a problem because most places require a 10 sheet minimum; it takes only 2 sheets to make one journal), or picked up while traveling. The only brand sold in Wichita is Arches, which does not fold well for binding.

The square multi-print book is made up of a combination of Stonehenge All Media paper, purchased in pad form, and Mi-Teintes toned paper. This particular pad of paper has the grain running across the pad, making it easy to fold each sheet to make up folios. Since I wanted this journal to be square, there was a leftover piece from each page which was used for the small red landscape journal.

Before beginning, I planned out the journals in my present journal. Later as I worked, I added a snip of the papers used for each one; hopefully this will be a good reminder for next time. The square red journal was made at a friend's request; I gave it to her before remembering to take a photo of it.

This time I tried a new way of sewing the folios together, using more of a running stitch with cloth tapes. But I've decided that I prefer using a coptic stitch. Seems to be much sturdier. I still glue a reinforcement bit of loosely woven cloth to the spine that takes the place of the cloth tapes.

The colored paper used to cover a couple of these is a handmade paper found at a blueprint - drafting supply shop in Wichita. The rest are using various scrap-booking papers. I would like to add some kind of embellishment or graphic work on the front of the others, but can't seem to come up with any creative ideas right now.

19 July 2010

Sunday's sketch

A misionary that our church helps support came to visit us on Sunday. Penny Dugan just returned from Durban, South Africa where she lives half of each year.

Penny is the director of New Jerusalem Missions, a ministry showing the love of Jesus to those affected by HIV / AIDS. She and fellow worker, Prince Jobe Sithole, have such amazing stories of bringing hope to so many.

Meanwhile, the ministry's home base is nearby in Newton, Kansas --- they are busy renovating an old hospital building to continue serving people locally, both those dealing with HIV / AIDS and the city-run homeless shelter.

Penny has such an amazing story of her own; we have been blessed to know her for many years. She took a personal tragedy that would have devastated so many in like circumstances and turned it into a ministry that reaches a multitude. Sometimes she writes of her African adventures on her blog. Amazing woman!

17 July 2010

new toys

I had a quiet birthday yesterday, working on covers for the journals I'm binding, playing on the laptop, and phone calls from kids. In the evening, Bill and I went out to eat in Wichita, then off to visit a bookstore.

Topped off by this late-evening sketch. Sometimes simple is wonderful.

09 July 2010

Bill's handiwork -- a Morris chair

My birthday gift is finally finished!

Actually my birthday isn't until next week, but Bill made my gift while I was in Houston this spring. It's a combination wedding anniversary / birthday gift and was supposed to be here when I came home. But there was a long waiting list at the upholstery shop; we were finally able to bring it home yesterday. The leather is a rich chocolate, not as dark as the photo looks.

And it is SO comfortable! We have always loved the furniture and house designs of the Arts & Crafts era, c. 1900 - 1920s. Bill first saw a vintage Morris chair at Expo in Houston over 10 years ago, saying he would someday like to build one. I found a pattern for it 8 1/2 years ago. And now he's had a great time making it --- he even learned how to take a photo with his phone to show the chair, without cushion, to our kids in Texas (and he learned how to lock the phone so I could not see it!).

I didn't have a pattern for the footstool; he designed it himself. He is amazingly talented! When we renovated this 1920 apartment building, he did extensive oak woodwork, adding many vintage-style built-ins as well. When we couldn't find the right style door for the closet (seen behind the chair), he simply built a new one!

That end table is one of his designs (with inlaid checkerboard on top), along with the frames on the wall. The first 2 paintings are by Cathy "Kate" Johnson; the next 2 are by a friend of ours, David Krenzer. The one you can't see is Bill's favorite, an oil painting of cows at a watering tank. Still a farm boy at heart.
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