27 January 2012

Jill's sandwich bag

At watercolor class last night, we covered some pretty basic stuff; it is a beginner's class, after all. (But I love hanging out with these people!)

So part of the time, I did a quick sketch of Jill's wee sketch kit. A two-sided purse holding all she needs, including 2 tiny sketchpads --- in the form of a peanut butter & jelly sandwich! The whole thing, filled, measures only 4 x 5 x 1 1/2 inches.

Oh --- and Jill carries this treasure in her everyday purse . . . which is in the shape of a big chicken!

26 January 2012

urban sketch - The Spice Merchant

I went here yesterday to buy some tea . . . . I ended up picking up a few more items, including a blueberry-filled chocolate bar from Germany. Yum!

This old Spanish-style building was built in 1909 to house the Mentholatum Company's headquarters and factory. (Mentholatum was invented in Wichita, KS in 1894.) Sometime later, after the company left Wichita, Louise Brooks, a former silent film star, ran a dance studio here.

Now it is home to The Spice Merchant, a gourmet coffee roaster --- even though I don't like drinking coffee, I always love the aromas when they are roasting! And it's a great place to find unique tea blends, spices, and cooking stuff.

23 January 2012

time to tweak . . . again

I know . . . Not another palette page! But this was an exercise in confidence in my own choices.

Last week, I began a small watercolor class taught by a friend in Wichita -- the same friend who first introduced me to watercolor in 2005. Knowing his basic palette, I took those colors with me to class. BTW, they are the same colors I first learned with. Following along in class, all I could manage to mix was MUD, as seen in the next photo.

19 January 2012

late-night sketching . . .

. . . instead of reading, which I had planned to do. I recently found these two used books about Lilias Trotter, an amazing woman born in the 1800s who had a passion for reaching Muslims for Christ.

She was also a gifted artist, a talent recognized by art critic John Ruskin, who wanted to mentor her, believing she had the potential to become one of the world's greatest painters. But her love for the people of Northern Africa meant more to her than becoming a professional artist.

I first learned of her through a wonderful book, Blossom in the Desert, which contains many of her sketches. All the years working as a missionary, she never stopped sketching and painting her surroundings, filling journal after journal with illustrations along side her experiences.

17 January 2012


I don't think I have ever tasted a fig (other than fig newtons) -- I've never seen fresh figs for sale around here. I received a newsletter in the mail that had a photo of them and I had to paint them.

Noodler's red-black ink and gouache on Niddigan paper in a sketchbook I bound.

13 January 2012

waiting room sketching

Bill hurt his back a couple of weeks ago. After several visits to two different chiropractors, there was still no relief --- so our doctor sent him in for an MRI.

His MRI took exactly three sketches, painting included. I'd rather measure waiting time in sketches than time. I was half-way into drawing the receptionist's face when the phone call ended and she turned around to talk to co-workers the rest of the time, her back to me.

This two-page spread was not planned well. The waiting area was long and narrow, a bit awkward for finding a scene to sketch. Most seats were along one wall, making it hard to sketch other people. In the upper right was a wall-mounted TV --- seems to be required in all waiting rooms, usually turned to FOX news.

And of course, every waiting room is required by law to have a peace lily in it, right?

09 January 2012

a bit of scribbling

Sometimes I don't feel like planning what to sketch. Sometimes I draw whatever is in front of me at the moment.

Last summer, Bill did some remodel work at our daughter's home in Houston. After a long frustrating time working with Formica, Bill and son-in-law Michael took a break and went to visit a local brewery.

Both enjoyed the tour immensely; it seemed to refresh them to finish the work at home. Over Christmas, Michael brought Bill some ales from the brewery. I like the image on the bottle -- and the outline of Texas on every cap.

This was drawn in Noodler's red-black ink, with a touch of watercolor, on Niddigan paper. The ink is not really waterproof, but didn't bleed much at all.

06 January 2012

urban sketch -- watercolor on Niddigan paper

After reading lots of comments here and on my blogs re: the Niddigan paper in my new journal, I found I could indeed paint on both sides without any bleed-through, and that watercolor works as well as gouache.

Yesterday was sunny with no wind (a rare thing in Kansas), so I sat out on the stoop in front of our porch, sketching what was in front of me. A rusty old vehicle. It was thought to be abandoned, but apparently someone still drives it once in a while.

Another challenge for the new year -- I've decided to go through an entire journal using only the palette(s) pictured on the first page(s). Haven't done that before (I'm a bit crazy). I'll try it with both this Niddigan journal and the WC Moleskine in my purse. Maybe become a bit more disciplined?

03 January 2012

new year, two new journals

My latest hand-bound journal is filled with Niddigan print paper, which works better with gouache or ink work than watercolor. The paper is very light-weight, with an interesting texture -- I'm not sure if I can paint on both sides of a sheet or not yet. I bought two full sheets, the normal amount used per sketchbook, but the paper is so much thinner than the watercolor paper I normally use I added some pages of toned Fabriano Tiziano paper.

I also started a watercolor Moleskine, bought very cheaply at Border's ending-business sale, for those times when I want to use watercolor. It fits in my purse easier. The paper makes watercolors look a bit dull, but it's just to play in.

The above is the first page of the Niddigan journal -- I always include a palette sketch on the first page of each new journal. It seems to make the journal less "new" and easier to pick up for simple sketches. This shows my updated gouache palette, with recently purchased colors. I especially love the cool red (quinacridone rose) from M. Graham, but it seems to stay sticky instead of drying in the pan. My other color choices were largely inspired by those of Roz Stendahl -- she does amazing gouache works in her artist journals!

 Using gouache is so different from watercolor, but I am determined to learn more about using it this year. I bought two teaching DVDs from talented artist Sandy Williams. I'm looking forward to learning from Sandy . . . just as soon as I shake this horrible head cold with it's blocked ears and headaches.

 UPDATE: Taking the advice of others, I went ahead and painted on the back of this page . . . works great! And watercolor seems to work fine also; the toned paper just adds an "antique" feel. Fun paper!

02 January 2012

last sketch of the year . . .

. . . and the last in this sketchbook. Time to choose a new sketchbook (or maybe two). I greeted the new year with a horrid head cold, so I haven't chosen yet.

I am secretary / treasurer of a small church, an unpaid position. But every year they gift me with a bonus check. This year, I had fun spending some of it on this book and a few tubes of paint.

I learned of Thomas Paquette's small gouache paintings through a post of Roz Stendahl's. One of my "goals" this new year is to learn to use gouache better; this book inspires me! I also bought some DVDs from Sandy Williams on painting botanicals and animals in gouache. So after I get over this cold, I'm going to have some fun!
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