30 March 2014

more drawing with Q.

Our new cabin came with a dishwasher, which I did not want. So after a trip to Ikea for more storage units to match the existing kitchen, we loaded up the dishwasher to take to our son Matt's yesterday.

Bill and Matt installed it in their kitchen, then we went to watch Quen at his Tae Kwon Do lesson. (If only we adults could bottle up that kid's energy!)

Then off for Chinese food --- Quen wanted me to sketch while waiting for our food, so I drew the condiments on the table as he watched me.

After eating, we shopped at Jerry's Artarama for some drawing pencils (I bought a bit more than that . . .), and a vintage shop where Bill and I found some chairs for our kitchen table and Misty bought a Pyrex mixing bowl.

I drew Quen's toy, "Cinder" in his sketchbook so he could paint it later
 Arriving back at their home, Quen then asked me to draw one of his fantasy figures in his own sketchbook so he could later paint it. Early this morning, Matt woke to find Q. already busy in his sketchbook. He loves his new drawing pencils and kneaded eraser!

He is eager to try his hand at oil-pastels next; unfortunately I don't have experience using them. But I'm sure his mom Misty will find a way for him to fully explore them some day. He is blessed with parents who encourage him to explore new things.

28 March 2014

Bill's new friend

Bill and I were sitting in the patio, drinking our morning cups of coffee / tea . . . . when all of a sudden this wee bird flew down from behind Bill and landed on his knee.

We were swinging slightly and kept on doing so yet the bird simply looked at us, then closed his eyes to rest. I quietly rose to go get my camera and he didn't seem to mind a bit.

I can't identify him from our central Texas bird guide.
The wee thing even allowed Bill to stroke his back.
He eventually hopped down on his own.     
I guess the sign at the corner of our property is correct . . . we are the local wild bird sanctuary and the birds know it!

27 March 2014

new drawing supplies

Having found the best pens to use on this handmade paper ___the Uni-ball Signo UM-151 gel ink pens___ I ordered a couple more colors of them. I already had brown-black so I ordered a black and a bordeaux black. Actually I got a couple of sizes in each color; they come in .28, .38, and .5 nibs.

While looking through Jet Pens' web site, I also found these two mechanical pencils. The long 2-pointed one is an Auto Point Turnpoint mechanical pencil --- it has a .7 graphite lead at one end and a .9 red lead at the other. I thought I would put a .9 2B graphite lead in the red end for wider, darker pencil lines.

The other mechanical pencil is in a real wood case and is very tiny! Fits easily inside my favorite watercolor palettes. Besides that, it's just cute!

Because this gel pen's line does not bleed through the paper, I am able to use the back of each page for notes and journaling. This facing page was used for notes during last night's Bible study.

25 March 2014

trying pencil drawing on handmade paper

I enrolled in Strathmore's free online workshops for 2014 but have not yet participated in class. When the current class began, we had not yet found an internet provider at our new home. making videos hard to watch.

Now we have internet but I do not have the Strathmore products used in class --- there are no art or hobby stores near our home and I forgot to order some online. But I decided to do the assignments in my new sketchbook.

This "Back to Basics" drawing class is taught by Earnest Ward, who is a wonderful teacher! I've been drawing quite a while now, but have learned several new tricks watching the videos.

The first week covered line drawing and shape, leaning to sight the subject for an accurate representation on paper. I drew a couple of strawberries we picked from our new garden bed, resting on the arm of a porch swing. Not too happy with how it turned out . . .

The second week's class was on tone and form --- This time, I drew the birdbath next to a crepe myrtle in our yard. I used a water-soluble pencil, using a waterbrush very lightly just on the birdbath. This time, the handmade paper in this sketchbook behaved, with no bleed through. The trunks of the crepe myrtle are still bare and are very light-colored; I used a Q-tip to soften some graphite behind them.

I wish I had drawn an onion instead for the 1st week's class.

24 March 2014

testing a new sketchbook

Time to begin a new sketchbook . . . I was given this beautiful handmade leather sketchbook for Christmas. The paper inside is also handmade and is slightly different than the handmade papers I have used in the past. So I've been testing different media on the first pages.
Any wet media I have tried bleeds through this fragile paper, and fountain pen lines "feather" quite a lot. I like how bright the watercolor looks, but it soaks in immediately and cannot be moved across the paper. Watercolor crayons and pencils behaved the same as soon as water was applied.

A pen that works extremely well is the Uni-ball Signo gel pen I found at Jet Pens  --- I think I will stick to pen drawings using these pens to fil this book. And maybe some pencill drawings as well.

18 March 2014

Quen's birthday weekend

We celebrated Quen's 7th birthday over the weekend at the lake . . . with intermittent rain and fog. Quen and I painted in our sketchbooks together, then ran into the tent when the rain got too heavy, then back out to paint some more. Not surprising that this turned out so gray.

Had lots of fun anyway, spending time with Matt & Misty (they and Quen camped out for the weekend in spite of the weather), playing, watching white pelicans, laughing, taking a little walk . . .  . Matt took some great photos:

Bill teasing me as Quen danced along the shore.

On Sunday, everyone met at our cabin for cake and homemade ice cream. Quen also received his birthday bear --- he put my black beret on so he could match his artist bear.

13 March 2014

bear-making . . . again

When our first grandchild turned 7, I made her a hand-made teddy bear with antique shoe-button eyes and real mohair fur. I used to make these to sell in the 1980s/1990s. So I made it a tradition by doing the same for each grandchild on their 7th birthday.

This year, it's Quen's turn. Because he loves wearing button-down shirts with real ties, and loves to sketch and paint, the style was obvious --- a wee artist bear. I only need to sew the ears on and he will be finished. And then sew a tiny sketchbook bound in leather for the bear (or Quen) to fill up with drawings. I used leftover bits of paper from binding regular sketchbooks for the pages, which will measure just under 2" when done.

I'm in more of a mood to sketch, so I took time to do so instead of finishing the bear yesterday.

12 March 2014

tweaking my pocket-sized palette

The palette shown in my previous post is an Expeditionary Palette, sold by artist Maria Coryell-Martin. The tiny metal pans are held in place by a magnetic liner -- easy to pop out and switch around.

But the flat mixing area means no juicy washes. So I removed 4 of the pans and replaced them with 2 larger empty pans for wet mixes. I tried out a few mixes in my sketchbook to decide which pigments I could do without.

For adding a bit of color to on-the-go sketches, this wee palette works very well, and fits in any pocket. Just add a waterbrush and paper towel . . . or the set reusable towel that came with it.

I am still having major internet problems since moving to the country. Not many options available; the AT&T "Hotspot" has proved to be terrible at picking up a signal. We were supposed to have Hughes Net installed at our cabin; still waiting on the guy to show up . . . . I'm currently sitting in a very strong, cold wind outside to post this. Only way to get a connection of any kind.

05 March 2014

granny-nanny week

hard drawing . . . and spelling . . . with a toddler helping

It's been a hectic week for me acting as granny-nanny for three of our grandchildren. Their parents are chaperoning high-school students on a mission trip to Alaska --- Fort Bend Christian Academy sends teams all over the globe as well as throughout Houston during Eagle Week each year.

My sketching activity has been limited as I keep up with a toddler, a pre-schooler, and a 2nd grader. Last night the 2nd grader, Jayna, was in a school program --- all 4 grandparents attended together to see her sing (including a solo) and act.

drawing small toys the boys give me

While she is in school, the boys keep me busy playing . . . and sometimes trying to sketch. One morning they painted some papers loaded with "paint", but don't seem to be patient enough (or hold still long enough?) to do any art with me yet. So we play with their toys instead.
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