31 January 2016

another challenge . . .

Just for fun on Friday, we took a drive . . . and ended up exploring the Waller Rustic Furniture store.

Great place to shop . . . if you are a cattle baron or hit it big in oil. Expensive! But some really lovely pieces of wood with turquoise inlays, leather, and horn.

I drew two tables for the next EDM challenge.

29 January 2016

revisit to Just Like Heaven

Recently we again ate at a favorite local sandwich-soup-salad shop, this time sitting somewhere new for me to sketch. Must Be Heaven has lots of interesting antiques and collectibles as decoration. But this area I chose to draw is right where customers line up to order their food. I took some quick photos . . . just before a large high school soccer team blocked my view. Then drew this later from the photos.

28 January 2016

garden planning . . . or undoing

My illustrated journals are really a "one place for everything" gathering place. Notes, memories, testing art supplies, snippets of daily life -- all find their way into my books. And by posting everything on this blog (and remembering to add labels!), I can always find something later on.

We moved into our cabin during a drought; now we have seen the effects of flooding rains and scorching summer heat. So some changes need to be made to the planting beds that were here when we moved in.

Along the walk leading to our front door was a flower bed that I turned into a culinary herb bed. But the heavy downpours of rain continually washed the sandy soil onto our patio, leaving drifts of sand dunes and drowning the herb plants. Bill plans to redo the drainage system ___ the French drains were not installed correctly ___ but we also are letting this bed go back to grassy sod to stop the erosion.

On the other side of the patio is a flower bed where former owners had zinnias. They only lived here five years, all during the drought, so the flowers thrived. But during heavy rains, this bed becomes a wet swamp. So we are going to lay in some decorative rock here and set some containers of herbs. We can always move the pots away from the heaviest rain as needed.

The existing lantana that was in the rose bed have been moved to the south of the cabin where they are doing much better in full sun. So I am considering doing a new herb bed here. The patio cover shades it part of the day but it seems to get a good amount of sun as well. And if I include plants that attract hummingbirds, our constant stream of hummers will be happy as well.

I jotted down more garden notes on the next couple of pages. We have a separate raised vegetable garden near the woodshop but are still trying to figure out which tomatoes grow best here. So I listed some varieties a central Texas gardening book recommends. All names we are not familiar with. I wonder if some are actually the same varieties we grew in Kansas but under different names? Bill likes to grow ingredients for homemade salsa.

We also need to replace a photinia shrub that died; a dwarf holly would add green color all year while hiding the AC unit. And our birds might enjoy the berries.

27 January 2016

something strange . . .

The next Everyday Matters prompt on the drawing challenge list is to draw something strange.

We had to take our car in for some expensive repairs this past week. Greeting us at the repair shop's gate was this muffler man.

The strange thing would be his wearing heavy socks as mittens. It was a lovely sunshiny day with temperatures over 70°!

25 January 2016

drawing practice . . .

I'm continuing to draw the next Everyday Matters challenges just to practice. Like any skill, if you don't use it, you lose it. It is much easier to capture an image when I want to if I have been keeping up with daily drawing.

The above images have one thing in common: none of them can be drawn from life because we don't have any of them in our home. We no longer eat bread so no toast. I don't particularly like the color orange so nothing in our house is orange and I'm fresh out of real oranges. And we don't buy bottles water. So I drew all of these from online photos.

Continuing the drawing practice, I just drew what I could see in front of my at church yesterday. And no, this looks nothing like our pastor --- blame it on his moving around too much. A mighty lion who can not be contained in one spot. (The quote at the bottom of the page has nothing to do with the sermon; I just read it a few days ago and jotted it down in my journal.)

24 January 2016

breakfast with friends

Bill and our pastor enjoy getting together for coffee some mornings. Recently they invited us wives to join them . . . and I began sketching some of the decorations on a nearby cupboard. The waitress seemed to think it was an amazing thing, this drawing in a journal. I told her that simply learning to sign your own name is a form of drawing . . . do it often and you get better at it. Drawing is like that.

This current sketchbook journal is my 52nd one since beginning in May of 2007. I've had a bit of practice by now.

23 January 2016

a couple more EDM challenges

Continuing to do Everyday Matters challenges as we wait to drive to Arkansas. The trip's scheduling has been changed several times . . . the latest due to our friends' house buyers rescheduling, not the fact that our friends are dealing with various levels of dementia. (Note to self: don't trust info coming from a person with memory issues!)

I sketched this night scene (EDM #292) from a random photo found online.

EDM #294 is to draw something that makes me happy. Great timing, as I just received a new pen and some nibs in the mail -- I love testing new art supplies!

I saw Ronnie Tucker's YouTube video on making a Flexi Fountain Pen from a cheap JinHao $3 pen. So I ordered this one and a box of flex nibs.

Unfortunately, this is not the model pen shown in the video and the nib doesn't quite fit. In the comments section, someone said the pen in the video is model X750 (also cheap; I just ordered it as well).

Meanwhile, I am amazed at how smooth the original nib in this Lamy knock-off pen writes! It even has a bit of flex -- enough to make pale lines as well as bold ones. And the pen is cheap enough that I can let our grandkids use it! They are always wanting to use my more expensive fountain pens but I don't let them because a pen's nib becomes adjusted to one person's usage. Letting others use it changes the nib's ability to work as smoothly.

22 January 2016

EDM #293 - something made of glass

Going a bit out of order on the Everyday Matters challenges as this is the last toned paper of my current journal and I wanted to try to draw the items against the oyster-colored paper. These items remain on our book shelf after other Christmas decorations were put away.

The card was designed and printed by Macy, daughter of friends of ours, and I love it! The wee glass angel was harder to capture than I thought it would be, a gift from another friend.

20 January 2016

EDM challenge # 291

We have had multiple distractions of late, the worst one being a planned trip to Arkansas to help friends move to Kansas. They were there for both of us when we were teenagers; unfortunately both are dealing with a degree of dementia. The process of moving them closer to their daughter has been a nightmare! Now that their house has finally sold and they have finally been convinced that they are buying a house in Kansas, the time of the actual move has been changed multiple times. So our other plans keep changing as well . . .

Anyway, with all this stuff up in the air, it is easier for me to go back to drawing a few more of the Everyday Matters challenges than to go out to find something to draw. The next one on the list is to draw an illustration for the cover of a favorite book; there was a similar challenge that I chose my favorite book, The Lord of the Rings, so this time I did a cover for Outlander. I always thought there should be standing stones on the cover.

18 January 2016

a sweet splurge, sketching breakfast

Last week we had lots of errands to run in Brenham with getting the car inspected and our new registration, dropping off used books at The Book Nook (and buying a couple more, of course), picking up some groceries and switching to the pharmacy at HEB (of course it would help if I had remembered to bring our prescription info -- duh!) . . . and we took time for breakfast at the new Czech bakery. Not the healthiest choice, given that neither of us are eating much bread these days, but so yummy!

14 January 2016

a barn-raising in Round Top, TX

The weather around here has been a bit gloomy lately, lots of clouds and a bit of rain. So when Tuesday turned out to be full of sunshine we went for a drive. Ended up in Round Top, TX which was pretty well closed, it being a Tuesday. This tiny town is a major attraction for antiquers and interior decorators --- shops are normally open from Thursday or Friday through the weekend to accommodate the out-of-town shopping traffic. Twice a year they host a couple of weeks of antique and collectible shopping with campers, tents, and RV's covering several square miles.

We just went for the view anyway although if Royer's Pie Shop had been open I might have enjoyed a piece. Driving around Henkel Square, we found a new barn being built. So Bill parked the truck nearby and I sketched. This will probably not be used as a barn but as another shop. Workers were also working on setting up a windmill near the building.

12 January 2016

Grandma Williamson's girlhood china

The next Everyday Matters drawing challenge on the list is to draw a teapot. Rather than draw my daily use teapot or kettle, I chose to draw Bill's grandmother's toy china. The teapot looks a bit more like a coffee server in shape, but I'm calling it a teapot anyway. These mis-matched bits of hand-painted china rimmed with gold leaf were probably old when Grandma received them to play with as a young girl. She grew up to have only sons, followed by mostly sons in the next generation. Which probably explains why these are in such good shape.

10 January 2016

random sketching

Sometimes there is some specific subject I simply have to try to draw . . . . and other times I just draw what is in front of me.

Here, I drew myself drawing my sketchbook, skirt, and boot before church this morning. Then added a few notes.

Last night there was nothing interesting to watch on television (there seldom is), and I wasn't quite ready to settle down to reading. So I drew this bookshelf.

Bill made it around 48 years ago during his sophomore year of high school. And it is still the sturdiest bookcase we own.

The rose is freshly cut from outside --- think of that! Roses in January! The old-fashioned smell fills our tiny cabin. The wee Scottie is a leftover decoration from Christmas.

08 January 2016

more EDM challenges . . .

. . . and the last in this particular sketchbook, begun in 2007. I don't like leaving sketchbooks unfinished --- this was one of two dedicated to the Everyday Matters drawing challenges. I have not finished the list yet but the rest will be in my regular journal as I get to it. Items on the list are good for days I want to draw but don't know what.

And, yes, my "draw something colorful" is a palette . . . What else could it be?

On Christmas Day we made some clove-studded oranges with three grandchildren. I just wish I could have captured the orange's texture and "glow". Not sure how to do that.

We never use this waffle iron --- Bill prefers pancakes over waffles, and we are both trying to avoid most wheat products right now. (He asked me if I was going to draw the dust.)

07 January 2016

more EDM challenges

For "draw something shiny" I tried something more challenging: the subtle shine of sea shells done with gouache which can look a bit dull in its opaqueness. Not sure if it worked.

Since I drew our nearest downtown less than three weeks ago, I didn't really want to do it again. I seldom enjoy drawing the same thing more than once (OK, except for art supplies maybe?). So I fudged a bit and printed a copy of the previous sketch into this sketchbook. Greatly reduced in size since my current journal is much larger.

And what loves the sun greater than a cat? Especially my Bearcat in the winter. After all, it's down in the 50's here! A very damp 50's. (no sympathy from those experiencing real winter weather, right?)

And finally, draw a shirt . . . so I drew two shirts seen in church last night.

I posted these photos the easy way, using my iPad, which means they don't enlarge if clicked on in Blogger. I still haven't figured out a fix for that. But when I post journal pages with more text, I will go back to using a real camera and computer so they can be enlarged for those who like that.

05 January 2016

revisiting old challenges

I began keeping sketchbooks in May of 2007, after reading lurking a long time  on artists' websites (especially Cathy Johnson's!) and reading "Everyday Matters" by Danny Gregory. Tentatively I began in pencil (erasing was a safety net) doing the Everyday Matters challenge list.

I am now in sketchbook #52 but somehow never got around to finishing that challenge list . . . So I've decided to complete the 2nd sketchbook where I left off, then finish the list in my current book.

I drew "what keeps me warm" before church Sunday --- amazing how warm these ceramic heaters are!

And the next on the list? Something I've been putting off: finishing the challenges of course!

I'm about to run out of room on this wall shelf that Bill made to hold my sketchbooks. It's on a wall in my cabin loft, where my "studio" is.

03 January 2016

playing with gouache

I've reached another signature of toned paper in my current journal, so I'm playing around with gouache. This quick sketch is from a photo of western Scotland that I found online. I'm sorry that I did not make note of the photographer's name. But then, it doesn't really match the photo much --- certainly not as beautiful as the real life view!
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