31 January 2011

last page of journal

I sketched this mug of tea before church started yesterday . . . . this time using a 'black grape' colored pencil. Non-erasable like ink, it makes adding a few shadows so easy and it does not smudge when I'm adding a few sermon notes.

This finishes up sketches in the Visual Journal. I'll probably just stick to my little ink-only sketchbook for a few weeks before starting another watercolor journal.

I have one hand-bound and ready, but I'd like to embellish the cover a bit first. Currently it's a very plain gray paper with a neutral bookcloth spine.

Maybe I should add some kind of protective finish as well. Journals covered in plain scrapbook paper seem to wear out too fast. Anyone have any ideas on how to do that?

29 January 2011

75 day challenge, # 5

Another wonky continuous line drawing . . . . these are really rather fun because perfectionism is not expected. This crate is actually wider than depicted. And, yes, Bearcat was inside with only one paw sticking out.

I had been wanting to take our Maine Coon, Beorn Bearcat, in for a check-up for several months. Soon after we adopted him (a retired breeder), we found out that our other cat, Dali, had inherited a herpes virus and there was no cure. Bear was already exposed.

When our Wheaten Scottie, Maxwell, stayed in Texas to become our granddaughter's dog, so did his crate. The same crate I used to transport Bear to the vet. He doesn't fit in our cat carrier --- he never did! He hates car rides and the only way to transport is to use a crate.

Finally I got another crate just for Bear. It's been sitting on the floor with the door open and he loves going inside for a quick nap. Or to hide (he thinks we can't see him). Works fine until he knows there's a car ride coming. He cries if I drive over 20 miles an hour. But once at the vet's, he's happy again. In fact, he would like to take the place over.

Dr. Beth says he's doing fine; no signs of a herpes outbreak. Just a tad bit overweight . . . Really? He's ONLY 21 lbs!

26 January 2011

ever get a song stuck in your head?

Driving home from grocery shopping, "Wild Mountain Thyme" got stuck in my head. I found myself designing a small herb garden with "bloomin' heather" at the center, surrounded by wild mountain thyme . . . . or normal culinary thyme. And the herbs we most like to cook with.

How I long for a real & private yard to grow herbs and let a puppy run free! Our apartment building is on a busy corner where passersby feel totally welcome to steal anything I set out (yeah, even the plants). Worse than that, they feel totally in their rights to destroy.

25 January 2011

first sketch of challenge

I chose to work in the smaller book first. The paper is very thin so I am limited in which pens to use; here I used a Pigma Micron 01.

Had to laugh at the circular knitting needle's tip becoming transparent . . .

24 January 2011

a new challenge

Since before Christmas, I have allowed too many distractions to deter my daily sketching. Determined to get back into the habit, I read of a 75 day sketch challenge offered by Brenda Swenson, using only ink.

Though I have sketched "graphite free" from time to time, it still intimidates me. How I love leaning heavily on the crutch of a pencil, whether it is erased later or not! As Brenda says, working directly in ink improves drawing and observation skills as well as building confidence.

I happened to have these two sketchbooks on my shelf that would not take watercolor well. So I have decided to take up the challenge with them --- one ink-only sketch a day. Good time to do some continuous contour line drawings. Just for fun.

The larger sketchbook was a gift from a sister-in-law and comes with a really cool pencil made of a rough twig. Since this challenge is ink only, I won't use the pencil for now, but it will be fun for later use . . . maybe when sketching in nature! When it warms up outside. (LOL -- I can be such a baby!)

I'll still be keeping my normal sketch journals; this is just an added boost in creativity. Hopefully it will return me to the daily habit I love.

21 January 2011

remembering Arizona

While looking for a suitable box to mail birthday gifts to grandchildren, I came across a couple of souvenirs.

In 1972, Bill and I "technically" eloped. He was in the Navy at the time, stationed in San Diego, and I lived in Kansas. When we planned to get married his mom in Mesa, AZ sent me a plane ticket to meet Bill in Arizona.

There were problems with my parents at the time and no money to pay for even a small wedding. So it was a blessing to have someone step in to help us. My best friend and her parents even planned their camping trip so she could be there with me. But I still call it an elopement.

This brass roadrunner and tiny pot remind me of how much I came to love Arizona. And Bill's mom.

17 January 2011


My new Scottish terrier puppy was born Saturday night at the breeder's in Oklahoma, to Machara and Dallas. This was Machara's first litter and Ceilidh her first baby.

Her name, Ceilidh (pronounced "KAY-lee"), is the name for traditional Scottish gatherings with music, dance, and a bit of storytelling.

I won't meet her for another 7 or 8 weeks, but I'm getting regular updates and photos.

Ceilidh's first photo --- she's the one with "Vicky" printed above her.
I will soon finish filling this Strathmore WC sketchbook --- I've been experimenting with scraps of papers I used to bind a couple of new journals ready to use. By mostly sketching puppies, of course!

This sketch of my first Scottie, Fiona, was from a 1992 photo --- it is hard to believe she was ever tiny enough to fit inside her small toy basket!

12 January 2011

an interview for Artist's Journal Workshop

Cathy 'Kate' Johnson has a new book coming out this spring, on keeping an illustrated journal --- she asked 27 artists to contribute to this book, and I was thrilled to be one of them. Read more about how the book came about here.

Having gathered more materials than the book could contain, Kate set up a special blog where the subject and artists can be presented in more depth, as well as new articles on how to keep a journal, favorite tools, binding our own journals, etc. In the next several weeks, she will be posting interviews with artists from the book --- her interview with me was posted yesterday.

The new blog has already become a source of great information in so many areas, with posts written by many contributing artists. Be sure to check it out!

08 January 2011


. . . to go with last night's supper of turkey noodle soup. I wish I could say I baked it myself, but it was bought at Target.

Quite a while back, I first heard of homemade artisan bread, using an easy to mix dough kept in the refrigerator --- You just pinch off what you need each day. I bought the book and a baking stone, promising Bill loads of fresh baked breads.

And there I stalled . . . . I still haven't read the book or seasoned the baking stone. But I did buy some artisan bread when I bought groceries. Does that count?

07 January 2011

bits of my Thursday

A hair trim, sewing on Jayna's gift, regular household tasks . . . . and a bit of reading.

With my new puppy's birth approaching, I've been reading up on raising puppies --- including "Marley and Me" for what NOT to do! My last Scottie was 7 months old before I met him, being a rescue from a puppy mill. It has been 20 years since I started with a puppy.

Updates keep coming from the breeder; my puppy's mother is due to whelp next week.

06 January 2011

sketchbook as a planning tool

I really do NOT like to quilt. But the tea set we are giving one of our granddaughters for her birthday needs a picnic cloth to go with it.

It seemed easier to think this through after first working it out in my sketchbook. And as I sewed the squares together, I had to keep comparing them to the sketch to make sure they were put together correctly.

Now on to do the border, filler, back / edging, and quilt the layers together. Did I say how much I don't like to quilt?

last of the Christmas tree

The rest of the decorations were eaten.

It was Bill's idea to fill our small table-top tree with edible ornaments this year. Sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, candy canes, strings of popcorn, and small clementine oranges. All through our kids' visits, ornaments disappeared here and there . . . . as we planned.

The artificial tree was falling apart; after removing this last cookie, it was thrown away. Next year we will need something new --- a bigger one to hold all the hand-made ornaments our grandkids are making for us.

After sketching, this cookie was eaten as well. So ends Christmas 2010.

03 January 2011

unexpected Christmas purchase

So . . . . there has been a reason for my inactivity on-line, besides the normal Christmas busyness. My laptop has decided to not play nice anymore. It may be repairable but our local computer guy was closed for the holiday.

As Mikala and Jayna played Webkinz on my laptop, the screen went black. Later, it happened several times more . . . the fan is usually noisy but we didn't hear it. Not sure if it was running or not.

Jeff planned on buying a new laptop for college, so I tagged along with him and ended up with an inexpensive new laptop myself. Still busy loading things on it and learning how Windows 7 operates.

Today I installed my camera and finally uploaded some sketches to Flickr. I haven't tried installing my printer yet; it gave us fits when we tried putting it on Vista; not sure how it will feel about the new system.

Meanwhile, I loaded the bookkeeping program we use, so it's time to catch up on the church's books as well as ours, and balance accounts. Just in time to close out 2010's records and begin 2011.
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