26 August 2013

recent sketching

waiting room, KS Spine Hospital

More waiting room sketching on Friday as Bill underwent the "long-term" pain relief procedure, where they go in and "microwave" the offending nerves. Supposed to give a year free from pain before the nerves grow back. . . . . So why is he still hurting so much 3 days later?

Then I did a bit of random sketching at church yesterday while noting down bits and bobs.

23 August 2013

sewing again!

Though I sewed most of my own clothes during junior high and high school, I stopped sewing regularly many years ago, when our children thought home-sewn was dumb. The last clothes I made was an Alice-in-Wonderland dress & apron for a granddaughter last year.

Now I'm sewing a costume for myself, planning it out in my journal. In November, we are attending the Texas Renaissance Festival (never been to one before!) and I have decided to dress up for it, though in a very simple peasant style. The "blouse" would actually be the upper part of a long shift, but I've divided it up to a blouse and underskirt of the same fabric. This way, I can also wear the blouse later with jeans.

My mother will sew the bodice for me. She is a much better seamstress and I don't want to mess with the stays or boning or whatever it's called. Billy gave me a tartan stole for my birthday; we will be going to the Scottish weekend of the festival, so I'll pin that over one shoulder. Not sure if I'll mess with the kertch or not. Our son-in-law will be wearing his new kilt purchased in Scotland in June -- can't wait to see that!

22 August 2013

secret to quicker sketching

Normally, I am a very slow sketcher --- slow at choosing a subject and slow at determining how to place it on a sketchbook page. Usually penciling in the basics (or more) before ink, then inking in just the most important lines, erasing the pencil lines, and finally adding watercolor washes. Overall, a very slow process!

Lately I have been trying to streamline my process. I've been carrying a pen, one small plastic pill box, a waterbrush, and reusable cloth. I'm getting braver at drawing directly in ink, though sometimes I'll use a blue-gray watercolor pencil which does not require erasing. But the best thing I've found to speed things up has been to cut down to only 2 watercolors: ultramarine blue and burnt umber. The above sketch was painted using only these (except the tiny diagram of optional color). When drawing on-site, I add just the warm and cool shadows. Later at home, I can add a bit of color if I wish. This really lightens my bag as well as taking away distracting options that slow me down.

If I think I'll have time to add color on-site, the second pill box holds 3 half-pans of basic color: quinacridone red or rose, a cool yellow, phthalo blue, goethite brown umber, and quinacridone burnt orange. All my recent sketches have been using these, and I am actually getting better . . . more confident in drawing as well as faster. Maybe I'll get more than one thing drawn at the next sketchcrawl.

21 August 2013

Mikala has gone home . . .

. . . but not before I sketched her new mate, MacKenzie. Her parents brought this wee fuzzy friend home from Scotland. (plaid letters: fun!)

I doubt that her other best friend, Oreo the cat, has let her out of his sight since she arrived back in Texas. She has been away from home a lot this summer, with church camp and time in Kansas. But school begins Monday. . . . Sorry, Oreo!

14 August 2013

mining salt under the Kansas prairie

It's always good to know the way UP and OUT.
On Saturday, we took our granddaughter Mikala, visiting from Texas, exploring the underground of Hutchinson, Kansas. One of the world's largest salt deposits was discovered there in 1887 (though I'm sure that Native Americans knew of it much earlier), spanning across Kansas, Oklahoma, the pan-handle of Texas, and into New Mexico. Still actively mined today, they also have a museum and visitors' center in one of the older sections of the mine.

We let Mikala ride in the front with Bill (sometimes she gets a bit queasy in cars). I sat in back, sketching her bucky pillow (filled with buckwheat hulls), and the two of them as they teased and laughed with each other.

Mikala looked cute in her hard hat.
Lots of hands-on exhibits showed how the salt deposits formed (when an ancient ocean covered this land), the variety of salt found here, and unusual formations such as fluid inclusions (pockets of ancient sea water trapped inside particularly pure specimens). Hard hats were required to be worn by all, as well as our being issued emergency breathing apparatus in case of fire . . . . even though salt can not burn.

Lots of discarded mining equipment was scattered about --- workers were told "what goes in the mine, stays in the mine", the company owners not wanting to tie up man-hours and equipment for hauling it out. Piles of lunch wrappers and other rubbish from previous generations of miners are now museum artifacts. At the end of the "dark ride" through the tunnels, we were able to choose some bits of salt as souvenirs. Mikala found the prettiest red salt sample, as well as a pure bit with a fluid inclusion inside -- we didn't discover the water bubble until later at home, holding it up to the light.

sketching at church, 11 August

just a bit of sketching and sermon note-taking . . .

03 August 2013

Wichita Spine Hospital

Yesterday Bill had a repeat procedure at the spine hospital, to ease severe back pain. Both the doctor and the nurses agree that this will only provide short-term relief --- the effects of the first one lasted just a bit over one month. Unfortunately, our insurance company will not pay for the correct procedure that they are sure will provide long-term relief until he has undergone this particular type of injection twice. Stupid insurance companies once again think they know more than medical personnel.

The newly built hospital is all curves, chrome, and glass -- I wanted to catch the sunlight's patterns in this sketch. Level of care here is top quality -- he was treated very well by all.
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