30 May 2013

some old favorites

Sometimes a sketch just works. Without planning, it just gracefully becomes more than I first envisioned. This 2011 fountain sketch from Excelsior Springs' Hall of Waters brings me joy whenever I see it, not only because I was happy with the results, but also because it brings up so many memories of sketching with my sketchcrawl buddy, Kate.

Not liking the recent changes, I am gradually closing my Flickr account --- Why continue using a product that gives me a headache? I'm actually glad the changes have pushed me into closing the account. It fits the "discardia" I've been doing lately (simplifying everything in my life, getting rid of whatever is not needed), greatly simplifying my posting sketches on-line. It's even pushing me to finally start posting things on Facebook, where so many artist friends have moved their posts to.

Most of my sketches on this blog have been linked back to my Flickr site. Meaning: delete my Flickr and the pictures disappear. So I am slowly reloading each picture directly to this blog. In the process, I am rediscovering sketches I had forgotten about . . . and having a fun time doing so!
These sketches of my Scottie, Ceilidh, when she was a new puppy made me literally laugh out loud! At 2 1/2 years old, she is just as bouncy, silly, and mischievous as shown in these sketches.

And sketches of our children and grandchildren always bring smiles and memories.The upper bit is Quen having a chat with his dad, Matt. Below is Jayna right after donating her long hair to Locks of Love. First time she had short hair since babyhood.

29 May 2013

unexpected purchase

I have bought many backpacks over the years for our four kids, but I have never owned one myself.
Until now.

While doing a bit of other shopping, I found this soft, buttery-leather backpack and thought it would be very handy as a carry-on when flying, as well as a tote for sketchcrawls where I might need to carry more than a few art supplies.

27 May 2013

how we spent our Sunday

Yesterday marked 41 years since Bill and I were married in Apache Junction, Arizona. It was sort of an elopement, with me flying in from Wichita, KS and Bill coming in from San Diego, CA where he served in the Navy (His mom lived in Mesa at the time).

Each home we purchased after leaving the Navy had red roses, though sometimes they were the neighbor's roses spilling over our fence. And each year since, Billy has brought me a rose on our anniversary.

These are David Austin roses I planted when we bought this small 1920 apartment building. They have come near dying in drought, but keep coming back stronger than ever.
We spent the day going to church, where I doodled a bit while writing notes, and later at home watching old World War II movies on TV. Lots of John Wayne movies, since it was also his birthday.

beginning a new journal

As always, the first page of my new journal includes my current watercolor palette in some form. This time, I chose a medium-size Moleskine watercolor sketchbook that was purchased very cheap when Border's bookstore went out of business. It's a bit smaller than the Stillman & Birn sketchbooks I have waiting to use, or my own handbound journals. But I will be doing a bit of traveling and smaller fits better.

I often record quotes in my journals, to be able to remember them. This one from my sketch buddy, Kate, seems to fit the space and purpose.

We went shopping Saturday for a new grill, our old one being more rust than metal. The one on sale was a bit too small so we did not buy it, but I did find this tiny turquoise pendant with a clip to attach to any necklace. Now maybe I'll need to thread some turquoise chips to hang it from.

I have also been thinking I would sew something like this sketching kit I saw on Jessie C. Chapman's Flickr site about 10 months ago. Drawing it in my sketchbook helps me think the pattern out. Jessie's kit originally held make-up brushes but works perfectly for a portable kit holding just the essential tools. If I sew it out of an absorbent dishcloth, I can also clean my brushes on it.

25 May 2013

updated color choices

Recently, in the "spirit of discardia", I have even reduced the number of watercolors I keep on-hand, cutting my studio colors down to 24. Some of these were stumbled on through other artists' experiments, some are from the original 12 I was introduced to in 2005, and one or two were even accidents that decided to stay. That quinacridone violet was sent to me by mistake and the company told me to just keep it. I found it makes a wonderful shadow-violet when mixed with burnt umber!

I have Da Vinci's cobalt turquoise, but wanted to test it against Winsor & Newton's cobalt turquoise light that Liz Steel likes before adding one of them to my chart. Unfortunately, I can't buy it in this area and ordered it on-line --- not here yet.

I don't use buff titanium or lunar blue much . . . but sometimes I find only they will do. (Lunar blue is wonderful for single-color sketches!) The sap green is purely for convenience, being a mixture of phthalo green and quinacridone gold, but this brand is one of the cleanest versions I've found.

Normally I stick with transparent colors rather than more opaque choices, but some colors like cerulean blue and potter's pink just can't be matched. I prefer single-pigment colors, leading to much less "mud" in mixes (Not that I don't still make a bit of mud now and then!). I sometimes miss cadmium red --- it makes a wonderfully textured marble gray when mixed with cerulean blue. But it just doesn't play well with other colors.

The codes underneath are for transparency, whether they stain or granulate, and the brand. DS = Daniel Smith, W & N = Winsor & Newton, AJ = American Journey, and Schm = Schmincke.

UPDATE: The cobalt turquoise light arrived and I am definitely switching to it! More transparent and makes lovely mixed greens.

24 May 2013

last journal pages

I've been getting ready to fly to Houston soon. Being a visual person, drawing what to pack helps me think . . . . and maybe see whether I need the larger suitcase or not. I don't like checking bags in cargo, preferring to travel light with a carry-on bag. But I might be there a full month, depending on when Bill can get away from work to drive down later and pick me up.

Am I trying to take too much? Light-weight skirts are more comfortable in hot weather than jeans, but can I get by with less without getting sick of wearing the same thing over and over? Maybe one less pair of sandals as well. Then there's the "extras": sketching supplies, books and things to take to Kristen or Mikala, a Kindle and iPod for reading and music. I already decided I don't need that windbreaker.

These are the final pages of this sketch-journal (The last spread of recent journals has become a place to gather miscellaneous quotes to remember). Now I'm wondering which journal to grab next. I have several new Stillman & Birn books to try, plus an unused Fabriano Venezia and medium-sized WC Moleskine. And there is a stack of cut and folded folios ready to bind myself --- don't really have time for that. Maybe the Moleskine since it takes up less room?

23 May 2013

springtime might just decide to stay awhile

Or so it seems. A bit cool this morning, but it's been a couple of weeks since we had a temperature below freezing. The heater is turned off and the windows open. And I finally planted some tomatoes, surrounded by marigolds to ward off bugs.

Meanwhile, the powers-that-be over at Flickr have TOTALLY ruined the sight! Up till now, I have always posted sketches to Flickr, then linked those to this page . . . so when pictures are clicked on, the viewer is taken to my Flickr site. I thought of Flickr as my number one site.
Until now.

Unless they undo the horrible changes, I will no longer use my Flickr site, and this blog will become my only on-line site . . . . plus the group blogs I am a correspondent to, of course. (Darn them, they had to go and do this right after I paid for another year of Flickr Pro. I want a refund!!!)

19 May 2013

anniversary trip to Kansas City & Excelsior Springs

We drove to Missouri on Friday, celebrating our 41st anniversary a bit early (Bill is on-call the actual date). First a stop at the Kansas City Plaza for some cheese and a quick lunch-snack at this Irish Pub. LOVED the ceiling lights made from old ale bottles and a bit of iron!

Next stop, Excelsior Springs, at The Elms hotel. We have sketched at this historic hotel many times . . . but had never actually stayed there. So Bill decided we should do so. The 1920 structure was recently remodeled . . . . I do not agree with many of the new owners' choices, being a bit more modern than the old Arts &; Crafts style building should have. But it was comfortable. I LOVE that there are still so many original tile floors throughout the building, like these marble tiles in the bathroom.

This is the 3rd building built on the site; the original (1888) and 2nd hotels were lost to fire. There is a lovely wooded area behind the hotel, with a large gazebo and a path leading down to a river. So many views to sketch! but we opted to relax on the back porch and draw what we could see from there. (Our regular sketch crawl was Saturday. Not many could make it, being graduation weekend, but those of us who did had lots of fun and laughs.)

 Ilov the rich color of the local limestone the building is made of. A bit less yellow than the limestone found at home in Kansas, west of the Flint Hills. I have been looking for Taylor's of Harrogate Earl Grey loose-leaf tea for a long time, after Liz Steel mentioned that it is her favorite brand of Earl Gray. Hard to find around here, but the cheese shop had some!

16 May 2013

waiting for Bill to be shot . . .

. . . a steroid shot in the spine, that is --- similar to what I had in December and January, though his condition is a bit more complicated than mine was.

Once again, we found that the local hospital's MRI department had misread an MRI. In my case, they missed a small tear-shaped facet cyst pressing against a nerve. In Bill's case, an MRI taken nearly 2 years ago supposedly showed nothing, and he was given pain pills --- which he can't take at work or on-call, so he's had to live with the pain. But when a Wichita spinal surgeon looked at the same MRI, he could easily see a very large facet mass practically cutting off Bill's nerves entirely. There is also some arthritis and more involved medical stuff I don't quite understand, but with several there are several treatment options, none involving surgery.

While praying and expecting Bill to have full relief from back & leg pain, I am also thanking the Lord that I went through my own trouble and pain. If I hadn't had this experience, along with a friend's recommendation to seek a second opinion, I would not have questioned Bill's experience. But I did begin to wonder, and asked our primary care doctor to get him an appointment with my spinal doctor. We had confirmation that the Lord was in this when we got an appointment in less than 2 weeks; normally it takes 2 months to get in.

This woman was patiently waiting to see the doctor also and held still for a long time, making it easy for me to sketch her. Plenty of time, too. This anesthesiologist's practice is not run as efficiently as the spine center where I had my shots. Our spinal surgeon gave me the shots, but Bill's required an anesthesiologist instead, due to the more extensive involvement. In fact, the doctor was amazed that he was still walking at all.

13 May 2013

Grandma W's rocking chair

This child's rocker belonged to Bill's grandmother, for his uncle and dad when they were small. It was passed down to the uncle, being the elder brother . . . . but there were no grandchildren on that side of the family. So Bill's cousin brought the rocker to us, to pass on down to our grandchildren.

Generations of small children have rocked in this chair. We especially remember our daughter, Kristen, sitting in it dressed as a scarecrow for Halloween.

~ Noodler's red-black ink and watercolor ~

11 May 2013

Happy Mother's Day, everyone!

This box of chocolate-covered strawberries greeted me at the door yesterday. I'll miss out on phone calls from our four kids, as our phone is not working and a repairman won't come until Monday. (Oddly, we still have internet) __ But my thoughts will be with each of them.

08 May 2013

a robin's egg

Many of my journal pages are kept private, where I write down things I wish to remember. But I decided to post this because I liked how this little watercolor turned out ___ a tiny robin's egg found on the sidewalk while walking my Scottie.

07 May 2013

back to the dr. -- this time, for Bill

After a couple of years of unrelieved back pain, I encouraged Bill to see my spinal doctor for a second opinion. Taking his MRI from 1 1/2 yrs. ago with us, we found out that ___ just as in my own case ___ the local hospital simply cannot read an MRI correctly! In my case, they totally missed a facet cyst on my spine, clearly shown to be pushing against a nerve. In Bill's case, there is a large protrusion to the right of the base of his spine, probably from a past injury. And the local MRI dept. said that they saw nothing unusual!

While Bill was off getting x-rays, I thought I had time to do a bit of sketching . . . . but Dr. L. came to get me, wanting to show me Bill's old MRI and what he found. He'll get a more current MRI, then proceed to one of several possible treatments, none of which involve surgery. Thank God for more intelligent doctors!

04 May 2013

drive through the Flint Hills

Last Sunday, we drove to Matfield Green, where friends are rehabbing an old house. Arriving early, I took time to draw this tiny house that provides their temporary living space. A springtime drive through this western edge of the Kansas Flint Hills is normally beautiful, but this seemingly endless winter has made it less so. None of the trees show any new buds yet, and cattle are out in pastures of dead grass. Who know what they find to eat out there.

This building used to be located at the couple's old house, used as an interior designer workshop by the wife. I once helped her with some sewing here, with it's huge work table, 2 sewing machines, and lots of bolts of fabric stored overhead. Now it has been transformed into a charming little home.

The tiny palette sketch is of my newest toy:

Recently, I found this cute little palette and just had to get one --- Yes, I am a palette junkie! With the addition of a waterbrush, it makes a great minimal kit to carry in a purse or pocket. It's sold by artist Maria Coryell-Martin, who travels to frigid polar areas, painting amazing works of art. The bottom of the case is lined with a thin magnet, which holds the metal pans in place.

Maria's web site is here, and this palette is found here. She has also put together a convenient Art Tool Kit, containing this palette, waterbrush, pen, and other tools in a ring-binder of watercolor paper and art tips.

03 May 2013

birthday card for Dave

I usually paint a card for my big brother's birthday having a hunting or fishing theme --- he loves both activities --- but this year I went a different direction. He turns 60 this year and is now a grandfather. So I sketched our own grandfather's pocketwatch . . . . and some sticks of his favorite chewing gum. As children, we would ask Grandpa to stand on his head for us; he always had a pack of gum in his pocket, which fell out on the floor. We would grab it and run!
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