31 August 2015

early morning eye appointment & Blue Bell

This morning I had an early appointment to have the pressure in my eyes rechecked. Two weeks ago, it was running a bit high for my normal levels so Dr. Horton added an additional eye drop prescription. Good news: it is working to bring the pressure down.

I sketched the obligatory office potted plant while waiting to see her. Overheard two ladies discussing a message one of them received on her phone that HEB (local grocery store) had run out of Blue Bell already . . . at 8:30 in the morning!

Today is the first day the locally-based ice cream company has been allowed to sell their product following  a total shut-down of several months, during which they totally dismantled and cleaned all equipment in their creameries. There had been an unknown source of contamination found in a small number of product.

Following my appointment, I went to HEB to make sure, as Bill was expecting me to bring some home. Turns out it was just a rumor and they had plenty --- being handed out personally by the company's head executives who were thanking everyone for supporting them through their crisis.

29 August 2015

driving home

I love the beautiful sunsets we see when driving home from Houston . . . or even when turning onto our farm-to-market road when heading home from Somerville. (The colors in this sketch seem much more intense in person than in this photo.)

27 August 2015


I drew Evie during church last night as she was concentrating on filling in answers in a workbook.

Today I added a quick reference sketch of some tweaks to my purse palette. I wanted some quick greens available for away-from-home sketching.

24 August 2015

puzzle repair

When our granddaughter Mikala redecorated her bedroom, she chose three large puzzles to put together, glue and frame to hang on the wall. The favorite of these took a bit longer to put together, a job hindered by two cats who loved claiming the game table for themselves.

Before completing this beautiful scene of faires in a forest, two pieces were lost. The company would normally replace those pieces but the puzzle has been discontinued. So we figured out a fix: Mikala had used Paperclay before; after gluing the puzzle together, she filled the holes with this and let it dry. Then I coated it with Daniel Smith's watercolor ground. While waiting for it to cure, I played around with watercolor and gouache colors to match. I drew the above supplies while waiting for the watercolor ground to cure on some sample pieces of Paperclay. I will practice on these before doing the actual puzzle.

Deciding that gouache works the best, I will paint the two areas to blend in with the scene. After it's dry, they will finish the surface with Modge Podge, then frame and hang.

23 August 2015

lichen and rain lilies

After the devastating flooding rains of May through June in central Texas, we have been experiencing a very dry, extremely hot summer. Roses that survived the flooding were gobbled up by wildlife whose normal feeding areas were underwater. (The lake is still mostly closed, though the dam road is finally above water and one boat dock is open.) My herb bed did not survive the shock of flooding followed by extreme heat.

But this past week we enjoyed a welcome steady downpour of rain -- 1 1/2" locally. This morning I noticed rain lilies popped up everywhere so after church I gathered some, stuck them in my paint water bucket, and sketched them.

20 August 2015

sketching in church

Although I have "captive models" to sketch at church while listening to the message, I seldom do so. These are people we have grown to love dearly and I never seem to capture their essence. 

19 August 2015

a day of frustration

Yesterday was a Very Long day! First an early morning dental appointment, prepping for a bridge. Nearly two hours. But our dentist's assistant is a good friend; conversation kept it a nearly-pleasant experience (and sketching the Cerec thingy). After sketching this, I glanced at the quote from Sunday morning on the opposite page . . . a bit of synchronicity, considering those shots in my mouth.

Directly from the dentist, we embarked on a 10 hour drive to Arkansas. We were going to an appointment with our dear friend, George, to hear the results of his neurological tests. Just past halfway, about 60 miles outside of Little Rock, the doctor's office phoned saying they are postponing the appointment; it seems the secretary __forgot__ to order two of the tests we were going to hear the results of! And there is typically a 6-week wait, minimum, to get into this guy! 

We turned around and drove home, arriving past midnight. Such is the "quality" of healthcare in Mountain Home, AR. It's now been FIVE MONTHS since George's problems began,

17 August 2015

sketch crawl with Quentin

On Saturday we drove to Round Top, planning on taking Quentin to Royer's Cafe for lunch and some sketching. We arrived around 10:00 only to find out that the cafe doesn't open until 11:00. So we found a shady tree to sit under to sketch while we wait. Except that I discovered that I had brought two sketchbooks and a travel palette . . . but had taken my pens out of the bag and forgot to replace them! We had one water rush and one pencil between us (I added ink later at home).

Quentin prefers working with abstract designs so he used the water rush while I drew this historic log cabin. Flowers bloomed all around the town square, as did the butterflies.

We returned to the cafe at 11:00 . . . and 11:30 . . . and 12:00. They never did open. So we went to Royer's Pie Haven nearby and ate pie for lunch! The empty container in my sketch is all that's left of Quen's key lime pie. And yeah, the pie is too yummy to take time drawing it!

13 August 2015

under our wee loft stairs

Our log cabin's loft stairs are more ladder than stairs --- tends to make me a bit apprehensive when our youngest grandsons scurry up and down like monkeys. Underneath, the previous owners built shelves for TV and other media equipment; we prefer a smaller TV and lots of books so Bill added an additional shelf. Cuts down on the size of TV that fits, which is fine with us.

11 August 2015

waiting for my hot dog

Today we took our grandson Quen to the Southern Flyer 50s style diner. Quen was disappointed that these table-side juke boxes were not really hooked up. But the large free-standing juke box still works and was cranking out 50s tunes.

The diner is located out of town, at the Brenham Airport --- Many customers fly their private planes in just for lunch.

10 August 2015

sketching at church

For the past three days Texas had "tax-free days" for back-to-school shopping. Since I had a money coupon and a 30% off at Kohl's, I bought these sandals from Naturalizer . . . only $13.40! Very comfortable. So I drew them before church with my large sketchbook and bag.

I took the large sketchbook to show the kids at church my recent dinosaur sketches, but I drew this in a tiny purse-sized sketchbook. The cover was from a used Moleskine-like book that a daughter-in-law gave me. I gutted it and refilled with small scraps of various watercolor and Bristol papers. The papers didn't quite fit heighth-wise and the gluing job wasn't very neatly lined up, but I like having a smaller "just in case" sketchbook in my bag. Especially since my new regular sketchbook is larger than the bag.

08 August 2015

day at the museum

Our granddaughter, Mikala, is home from her summer travels but not yet back in school. So we went to Houston this week to take her to the natural history museum. None of us had been there for several years ___ I think the last time I was there was to see a traveling exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Most of the displays were totally new; in fact the whole exhibit hall has been reorganized.

The huge paleontology section is Big and Exciting with the creatures acting out scenes of action and terror. A bit like going to Disneyland without the animatronics. But most of the bones are cast from discoveries, not actual bone. I miss the older exhibit where they clearly showed by color which were actual bones and which were cast replicas. The older exhibit also had a complete plesiosaur ___ the actual remains! ___ now sadly gone.

One of my favorite watercolor artists is Karl Bodmer, and one of my favorites of his work was of a tree full of Carolina parakeets painted around 1830. I found an actual taxidermy specimen of one of these American parakeets; sadly they became extinct just a few years after Bodmer painted them.

02 August 2015

new sketchbook, new palette sketch

This art journal was bound last year using Kilimanjaro paper from Cheap Joe's and a scrap of leather from an upholstery shop --- they let me have the leather scrap free! It's soft and pliable, wrapping around the text block. 

This time, I sewed the paper signatures directly to the leather, one at a time, using hand-dyed silk threads. Which means the middle two-page spreads of each signature will have colorful silk thread running down the middle, but I like how the colored threads look on the outside spine.

01 August 2015

an Arkansas rock, the end of another sketchbook

I brought this large rock home from a recent trip to Arkansas, loving the variety of colors and textures. While drawing it last night, I kept seeing visions in my mind of the Grand Canyon which I saw in person 29 years ago.

And now I'm finished with this tiny accordion-fold sketchbook. Not sure where to put it on the shelf though --- The first side was filled in Dec. 2014 and the second side in July 2015. I store my sketchbooks chronologically on the shelf, 
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