26 February 2015

for Kathleen

Often on Wednesday night at church, my young friend Kathleen will bring a toy, asking me to draw it. Last night she asked me to draw this stuffed dinosaur; at first I said no. I really didn't feel like drawing toys --- I brought my art journal / sketchbook* in case I wanted to jot down notes.

But Kathleen has a sweet persistence that is hard to deny. So here is her sketch . . . plus a couple of ladybugs from her little sister Evie. There was an "infestation" of these tiny 3-D ladybug stickers as Evie gave one to each person present. Mine and Bill's are now attached to the cover of my journal.

* I 've called my books sketchbooks for a long time now, but they are really more journals or diaries that are illustrated. Art journals seem like a better description.

24 February 2015

walking on rocks

The circle drive we live on is covered with rocks. Not the uniform whitish gravel roads we knew in Kansas, but very uneven rock of various size and color. 

So of course I had to sketch a few.

22 February 2015

virtual sketchcrawl: Texas Cotton Gin

Being unusually tired, I almost decided to skip this month's virtual sketchcrawl on Facebook. But Bill came home from a church workday with energy to burn. He told me to grab a sketchbook as he grabbed a book he's been reading and we took off for a drive, ending up in Burton, Texas.

We parked in the Texas Cotton Gin Museum parking lot where I had this view of the old gin. There's a better view on the other side with more building detail and lovely shades of rust on the tin siding, but the sun would have been right in my eyes, backlighting the building in shadow.

This cotton gin has been here since 1914  and now offers daily tours. During the annual festival, the 1925 Bessemer Type IV diesel oil engine runs again with demonstrations of all aspects of cotton   production.

Friday night / Saturday morning doodles

A last-minute notice led me to attend a women's retreat on Friday night at Texas Bible Institute. The event was over the weekend but the ladies from our church only went for Friday's evening service. A couple doodles among my notes, and later I added the mug that our pastor's wife gave each of us as souvenirs.

Saturday morning's mail brought my long-awaited De Atramentis document inks. Previously I had ordered the brown and dark blue from The Writing Desk in the UK, but they had sent bright blue by mistake. When notified of their error, the company not only sent me the dark blue --- they sent me a bottle of the black as well even though they are out of it! The lady told me they keep a couple bottles in reserve for emergency. I am loving this dark blue!!! 

20 February 2015

more ink monotone studies

I've been doing a few more sketches testing various ink colors with monotone washes, some water-soluble and some waterproof with a matching watercolor.

I retried the De Atramentis brown, this time with a burnt sienna & ultramarine watercolor mix. This is much closer to the ink's color than the burnt umber I tried previously. I thought the previous deer sketch looked a bit dull; now I've decided that it wasn't the color of paint, it was the extra niggly sketch lines. For this drawing technique, I think it looks "fresher" with limited ink lines, using the wash for depth instead.

18 February 2015

monotone ink with watercolor

I'm playing around with a monotone look even though my inks are waterproof . . . Not sure what watercolor is closest to De Atramentis brown.

The black Platinum Carbon Black ink works fine with my own mixed gray watercolor (burnt umber & ultramarine), but the burnt umber with the brown ink looks too dull.

I drew the deer from photos; they don't stick around our yard long enough for me to grab a sketchbook.

keeping a supply bag pre-packed

The only reason I drew this 2-page spread was to "think out loud", trying to decide what to keep in a sketch bag.

Up to now, I usually just grab some art supplies at the last moment before going out somewhere to sketch. But I am now trying to keep everything together before-hand, ready to go. Even water. . . . We'll see how long this lasts.

14 February 2015

favorite designs

Sometimes I use pages in my sketchbooks to gather designs I like. Bill and I both love those of the Mission / Arts & Crafts period --- That's the style he tends to favor when designing furniture.

11 February 2015

random combination pages

Last night I was bored so I drew the first thing near me ___ this travel palette and accessories ___ in a mostly continuous line and watercolor.

Today I added some devotional notes, then drew the Art Deco door from Washington County's courthouse (using a photo on my iPod). 

Nothing about these two pages was planned, yet somehow it works. Maybe tomorrow I will have more focus . . .

10 February 2015

Saturday in Somerville and Brenham

On Saturday I had two chances for a bit of urban sketching on the spot, both unexpected. I guess that's why I carry my sketchbook with me always.

In the morning a few of us ladies from church got together in Somerville for a bit of Bible study --- While taking notes, I wish I had been a bit more courageous and sketched the ladies instead of my kolache and tea. But I'm still a bit shy drawing our new friends, especially since they now know that I am drawing.

Then Bill took me out for an impromptu steak dinner ___ beating the Valentine crowd, he says ___ at the Longhorn Saloon & Steakhouse in downtown Brenham. The building was a saddle shop in the 1800's and has been beautifully restored. Dominating the room is a gorgeous solid wood bar, much longer than it appears in the sketch but this is what I saw from our table.

07 February 2015

fountain pen fussing

Since high school, I have loved writing with fountain pens --- In the past 10 years I have built quite a collection of them. A few have flexible or calligraphic nibs, but I always go back to the Lamy Safari and Joy pens (different color inks in each one). They don't require fussing!!

Bill gave me this beautiful flex-nib pen with cow horn handle in December . . . and I quickly got it completely blocked. After much work cleaning and flushing, it's writing again but I have yet to "break it in" to my own style of handwriting / drawing. I think the ink cartridges that came with it were too old and that clogged the feed. The converter does not quite fit but I'm now using it with Noodler's Lexington Gray ink.

I ordered some of the highly sought-after De Atramentis document inks from The Writing Desk in the UK since the only American supplier is always sold out. I LOVE this brand of ink! But I ordered brown and DARK blue; they sent bright blue by mistake. I would add black to darken it but they have no black in stock. I have tried contacting the company about the wrong ink being sent but so far no reply.

Oh well . . . I still love playing with my fountain pens!

05 February 2015

church sketching & notes

I take my sketchbook with me to church mainly to jot down notes --- after all, it's a  diary. But often some of the children bring me things to draw. Sunday it was Kathleen's unicorn pony; I didn't have time to draw it before the service began so I took a photo, promising them a sketch later.

Last night I didn't plan on sketching due to a headache, but halfway through the headache was gone so I tried to draw Bill's foot . . . as it kept bobbing up and down. (I add watercolor later at home)

03 February 2015

Brenham alley guard

One day last week we drove to Brenham just to take a walk. There is no safe border on the farm road next to our home to walk and we were bored of walking the gravel drive in our housing area. So we went to Brenham's historic downtown area to walk.

This statue of "Belle" stands at an alleyway passage leading to Toubin Park, a tiny yet lovely garden park between buildings that honors firefighters. There, visitors can see one of the original cisterns built under the downtown area to supply firefighters with water. 

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