30 November 2012

"dead" bay laurel tree

. . . or so I thought when I set it out on the porch months ago. Then one morning this week, I noticed a fresh green sprig popped up.

Is it trying to teach me something?

Thumper the slug

Also known as our Maine Coon, Beorn Bearcat. sometimes he sleeps all spread out, feet in the air, while twisting the rest of his body and paws so everything is tucked out of sight.

I find it curious that sometimes my Noodler's polar black ink is waterproof and sometimes it is not . . . . even when using the same paper and letting it have some drying time.

28 November 2012


I had an appointment with a doctor Tuesday to discuss the results of x-rays and MRI on my hip and back --- only to find out that the MRI department had imaged my hip but not my back, even though both were ordered. So a pointless appointment and once more being stuffed like a sausage in the tube . . .

I was determined not to sketch more waiting rooms, but drew this decoration as I waited out of sheer frustration. His goofy grin helped me calm down and even laugh about the mistake.

26 November 2012

some morning reading

This year is almost done, as is my reading through this devotional. I have copied bits from this book into my journal pages this past year. Somehow, the act of writing it out by hand helps me remember things better.

I bought the stretchy "book bracelet" at the same time that we bought one for our granddaughter who is an avid reader. Fun way to mark my place!

20 November 2012

a new beginning

I've started a new sketchbook, with cleaned up palette and re-filled watercolor pans . . .

This handbound journal contains mostly Fabriano Artistico 140# hot press paper, plus a sample of Canson Dual 140# (cold press on one side, rough on the other). In the binding process, I forgot to add end papers . . . and found that I actually prefer it this way, using the same watercolor paper for end paper as well.

Though I'm no longer limiting myself to 3 primaries + 2 neutrals, I have larger pans of them in this palette. But I dropped Payne's Grey, switching to Monte Amiata Natural Sienna as my second neutral --- mixed grays and blacks are so much more interesting.

19 November 2012

time for levity

Last spread of this journal . . . Looking back through its pages, I see way too many waiting rooms and medical stuff. Moving on!

Time for some laughter! I found these two books by Rhoda Janzen, the top one for only 99 cents! The author grew up Mennonite and writes with amazing humor while going through some very tough times. The titles are "Mennonite in a Little Black Dress" and "Does This Church Make Me Look Fat?"

A good way to end this sketchbook journal.

13 November 2012

one more sketch from the weekend

A parting cup of tea with Kate and Joseph at the Mercantile, then we headed to a farm south of Manhattan where Bill has been doing a remodel for his brother Dale and Dale's wife Gail.

Gail grew up on this farm, which goes back three generations. While going through her mother's things upstairs, she found an antique Scottie bank . . . and immediately thought I would like it.

12 November 2012

Excelsior Springs getaway

On Friday we drove to Missouri to attend Cathy 'Kate' Johnson's art show.

After checking in at a local bed and breakfast, we ate supper at Ventana's -- I have often sketched here during sketchcrawls but had never drawn the chef statue before. He holds a blackboard for menus and daily specials.

Arriving at the gallery, we learned the sad news that Ellen, who runs the gallery, had lost her husband in a car crash the day before. She insisted that the show go on, but it was a bit subdued in mood. I had planned to sketch at the show on this 2-page spread, but somehow it didn't feel right. Ellen's daughter had died unexpectedly just one month earlier. Very sad time.A tragic season for them.

(The black onyx earrings drawn on the lower right page were made by Kate; I have had my eye on them for quite a while and decided to go ahead and buy them.)

The following morning, we went driving with Kate and Joseph, ending up at Watkins Mill to sketch a bit in the museum. I had planned on drawing weaving tools or loom, but ended up drawing some items from a domestic display.

Sometimes the sketches I intend to draw just don't happen.

the Black Aberdeen

In one of the used books I recently bought, I found this quote from Rudyard Kipling. I have wanted a copy of his dog tales for a long time, both for the Black Aberdeen stories and the illustrations. "Aberdeen" is the old name for Scottish Terrier.

I had planned on drawing my living Scottie on this page but she wasn't cooperating. So I drew some small figurines -- the one on the bagpipes is a Christmas ornament.

06 November 2012

autumn joy

With this on-going drought, I wasn't sure there would be much variety in color for our Autumn Joy maple tree. But for the last few days, color has finally blossomed . . . . and will soon be blown away in this week's winds.   (Still working with the 3 primaries + 2 neutrals limited palette.)

04 November 2012

joy and sadness

This past spring, while Mikala was visiting us and her other grandparents in town, her cat back home in Houston died. Tigger was 14 1/2 years old with many health problems.

Our family has long loved Maine Coon cats -- and they were able to find a breeder with 2 for adoption at a reduced price. Mikala has been looking forward to this weekend a long time, when she would be able to bring her new babies home. Last month she was able to meet them -- I sketched this from a photo taken of them in her lap. The black & white is named Oreo and his brown tabby sister is named Hershey.

Sadly, Hershey has developed a hernia and won't be able to come home yet (if ever). She is too tiny to operate on; a vet tech is nursing her, hoping to add some weight so she can survive the operation.

Because Hershey is now living at the vet's for an unknown time period, the breeder has determined that she is not available for adoption --- but the vet tech taking care of her has already committed to becoming her "forever" home should she pull through, which at this point is unknown. The breeder is giving Mikala first pick for the next litter for Oreo's new playmate.

03 November 2012

National Fountain Pen Day, 2 November

Who knew?

Apparently Kate did. mentioning it on Facebook. So I drew my 3 favorites, filled with Noodler's inks: polar black, red & black, and polar brown. Not shown, a charcoal Lamy filled with Lexington Gray ink.

01 November 2012

bits of sketching this week

a yearly eye exam, a trip to the local used bookstore, and a physical therapy appt . . . .

This year's health challenges have just passed into ludicrous. I now have a cataract forming in my right eye. Possibly related to having been on steroids during treatment of both the vertigo and seborrhoic dermatitis? The doctor stressed that it was not the age-related type.

No one can possibly have this many health issues within a 6-month period. Impossible! Before this year, I never even had to go to the doctor. Yet the Lord is still in control: the vertigo is long gone, the dermatitis under control, the hair fall has stopped (it will be a while before regrowth is noticeable) --- So regarding the cataract? This too shall pass!

 (My new motto this year: KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON.)

I'm having physical therapy for a pulled hamstring muscle that hasn't healed. The look on the therapist's face when he saw me drawing the foot skeleton was priceless!  He thought it was in honor of the day (Halloween) but I was simply drawing what was in front on me -- one of several display models in the exam room.

mikala as alice

For my blog readers who knew I was asked to create a costume for our 9-yr old granddaughter, here is a photo taken of her yesterday morning. Mikala is VERY camera-shy; her daddy took this one on the sly, hiding around the corner in the dining room.

I had to sew the dress without being able to try it on her (she lives in Houston, I'm in Kansas) -- it's a bit big on her and it looks like her daddy couldn't tie a proper apron bow. But doesn't she make a beautiful "Alice"?

Her school does not have Halloween parties, but they had a "dress as your favorite book character" on the 31st, so she was all set, along with her toy Cheshire cat from Disneyworld.
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