23 June 2015


Waiting in the ER at a hospital in Mountain Home, Arkansas . . .  A dear friend is having some health issues, while his wife is beginning some form of dementia. We came to help so their daughter could take a much-deserved break --- they have treated both of us like they did their own kids since we were teenagers.

22 June 2015

a bit of lichen

With so much excess rain we not only see fewer mushrooms --- there seems to be less lichen and moss. Which seems curious to me. Fewer dragonflies, with their normal habitat under the flooded lake, but we are seeing a few of them return now. Which is lovely since they eat mosquitoes.

Yesterday was Virtual Sketchcrawl Day and I had planned on going out to sketch something "urban". But we were busy getting ready for another road trip so I only managed to draw this bit of lichen.

20 June 2015

on the road . . . again

We moved to Texas, following all four of our grown children, to avoid that long 10-hour drive. But it seems we still spend a lot of time driving.

Much shorter day trips to see our kids and grandkids, then home by nightfall --- and for that we are grateful! But now and then we still need to take those longer drives to visit or check on parents and older friends. On this journal spread I was trying to plan what to pack for a trip to Arkansas (a bit over 10 hours away). Then got bored and drew our bags.

19 June 2015

urban mish-mash

Our church, Jubilee Christian Center of Somerville, TX, is currently remodeling the building next door to us --- this is a view from the alley in back. We meet in an old downtown store-front building built in the late 1800s; adding the building next door gives us new office space and a separate room for Discipleship Study.

I love the mish-mash (is that even a word?) of textures and colors from past uses of this building. The slogan on our van used to read in full "Religious Free & Biker Friendly" --- That's what drew us to this church when we moved here. A long time ago we were done with just "playing church". It's all about a continuous, intimate relationship with the Lord, not religion. 

12 June 2015

heritage tomatoes

Because of the colder-than-average early spring followed by constant, flooding rains, much of our garden has suffered. My herbs are not happy, the strawberries washed out, and the non-blooming roses are possibly being eaten by deer. The wild animals even ate my Christmas cactus that bloomed profusely just two months ago!

But our vegetable patch is thriving! Delicious green beans, cucumbers and zuchini. We've made a couple of batches of salsa with smaller tomatoes and the peppers, and the heirloom tomatoes are huge and tasty.

11 June 2015


On these journal pages, I was just playing around. I had some stamp pads from years ago that were drying out --- so after spritzing lightly with water, I tested them on this page. Then added a tree silouette just for fun using a Pentel Pocket Brish pen.

Then this Pocket Art Toolkit cover arrived in the mail so I filled and drew it. It is from Maria Coryell Martin of Expeditionary Art, the same artist who came up with the magnetic Pocket Palette I use so much. She had this cover made especially to hold one of the kits she sells but she will sell the cover by itself for those who already have the palette, waterbrushes, etc. Very handy design and it fits easily in purse or pocket!

10 June 2015

Christ the Redeemer

This statue entitled "Christ the Redeemer" in Rio de Janeiro has long fascinated me. I love the clean Art Deco lines, and the size alone is amazing. Photos of it are featured in a praise & worship video often played at our church.

It measures 98 ft. high, not counting the 27 ft. pedestal, with arms stretching out to 92 ft. wide. Sculpted in soapstone over a concrete base, it took 9 years to  construct from 1922 to 1931. I would love to see it in person!

08 June 2015

mushrooms . . . or the lack thereof

Last year, when central Texas was still in a drought, we had all sorts of interesting mushrooms pop up in our yard. So many varieties! 

This year, with a large portion of Texas in flood stage with too much rain, all mushrooms seem to be missing. I drew these from photos I took last year.

Also missing are the dragonfly hordes who flew in, ate up all our mosquitoes, and flew on to new areas. I think they commonly breed in the vegetation along Lake Somerville, now under massive amounts of water. I miss them.

07 June 2015

baby oak leaves

While on a morning walk with Ceilidh this week, I noticed these very small leaves on a new branch of an oak tree. They were beginnjng to green up nicely, but first they had a burnt orange-red tinge . . . a hint of autumn color to come.

This small sketch is Noodler's red-black ink (water-soluble) and watercolor on blue Bockingford Tints 140 lb. watercolor paper.

05 June 2015

a sad bunny tale

More and more as I interact with wildlife in our new home in the woods, I think of Beatrix Potter's experiences with the creatures she came upon at Hill Top.

However not every story has a good ending. After six months extended stay with our youngest son who is in college, my Scottish terrier, Ceilidh, is back home. She loves playing in her little fenced yard and, being a terrier, loves to dig holes. So we thought nothing of her starting a new one first thing.

Unfortunately, she dug up a rabbit nest. Local wild rabbits, thinking the dog gone for good, nested in the center of Ceilidh's yard. She did not try to hurt the babies, only wishing them to play with her. But the parents abandoned the nest and the babies died. We had hoped they would return if we kept the dog away but they did not. These same rabbits often sit just outside of her fence, knowing she can't reach them.

04 June 2015

on to a new journal

With my previous post, my journal was filled and I have begun a new one. For this one, I cut sample sheets of Bockingford tinted papers in half, then bound them into an antique book cover. The end sheets are made from a sheet of Saunders Waterford --- I often skip using separate paper for end papers, choosing to use watercolor paper here as well since it is usually drawn on.

Inside the front cover, I glued the front illustration from the original book. The old book block was bug-chewed and crumbling but I wanted to save this bit. As usual, a palette on the first page: this one, a pocket palette made from a business card case filled with earthy, granulating paints. I will fill in personal contact info after posting this, in case the book is lost.

03 June 2015

some randomness & the end of the book

Deawing people is still a bit intimidating, yet sometimes I just need to draw while focusing intently on what I am hearing in church. I somehow listen better when my pen is moving. So another random sletch of my own foot.

And this is what the last page / inside cover of my journals often looks like: a mish-mash of color or ink testing, notes, and random information. Usually a penciled notation of what paper is in the book if it's handmade. 

02 June 2015

rain, rain, everywhere

It has actually stopped raining the past couple of days, after weeks upon weeks of rain every day. The drought in central Texas is definitely over, a flooded state in its place.

Our local lake was closed before Memorial Day and will remain so for at least the next two months. Camp sites with their electrical hookups, bath houses & facilities, picnic shelters, boat docks . . . all well under water. This sketch is from an overlook at the dam; the dam road is under, running along the left side of this sketch. Water rapids continue to rush out of the water gates; here water is just about to run over the emergency overflow.

Our own yard is a saturated, soppy sponge. Thank You, Lord, for providing the former and later rains --- Are we done yet?

01 June 2015

some random feathers

Last year we were amazed by the variety of birds visiting our yard. This year, not so many though we still have several pairs of cardinals. And silly crows . . . Yesterday one of the younger crows was playing games with a young fox squirrel under the largest fir tree. It was like seeing a Beatrix Potter story come to life before me.

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