30 June 2016

salsa and a bit of Scotland

Bill is having an abundant year in his small salsa garden -- as the larger tomatoes ripen, he blanches, peels, and cuts them up to pop in the freezer. Then, when there is enough, he makes the most yummy salsa! This year our granddaughter Mikala donated limes from her baby lime tree to add. Much of the finished product is given away to family and friends --- Pastor Gary is notorious for downing half a jar at one sitting!

Three years ago, our daughter and her husband went to Scotland with two other couples, renting a private house along Loch Ness together. While there, she bought me this Celtic knot pin with a Heather gem in the center, to pin my tartan shawl. But it is usually a bit warm here in central Texas for the shawl, so I also wear it on a chain. Heather gems are compressed stems of heather dyed, cut and polished into gorgeous 'gems' for jewelry.

I recently wore it to church . . . then decided to sketch it on the page where I jotted down notes.

24 June 2016


Before the service on Wednesday night, I began to sketch one of the young ladies of our church, but then the guy in front of me leaned that direction with his arm blocking my view. So I quit.

22 June 2016

recent sketches

I have been sketching at least every other day, but errand-running and grandkid distractions have kept me from posting anything.

Yesterday Bill brought in our first fig . . . in this our third summer here! Deer kept eating previous fruit from the peach and fig trees, eventually killing the peach tree. This is the first fruit that actually ripened.

We've never tasted figs before (other than Fig Newtons). Not sure what you do with them.

Maria Coryell-Martin has upgraded her popular pocket palette and I got one with a discount she offered to previous customers. Now there are side walls to keep juicier mixes from dripping off the side and paints in the lower corners are no longer blocked.

I filled this one with larger pans of a bright limited palette plus burnt sienna, then filled in the rest of the spaces with some convenience colors in smaller pans.

This sketch was from a recent trip to the Brenham Courthouse to pay truck tag & taxes. The lamp, like the building is Art Nouveau. I will eventually get around to adding some color . . .

The Dr. Seuss quote was jotted down on the page before I decided what to draw. I read it in a fiction book I finished recently and liked it.

I sketched a scene of the Pacific ocean from a photo taken by our son-in-law last year --- by mistake, I grabbed a pen with water-soluble ink. So when I added what was supposed to be light, bright watercolor, the black ink bled into it, making a mess of the whole thing. Oh, well . . .

17 June 2016

unknown fungi

After recent flooding rains, a new fungus has shown up, growing on the outer logs of our cabin.

And more is growing on the pavement next to the logs.

14 June 2016

a new "minimal kit"

For those rare times when I don't carry a larger sketch journal with me, there's a new mini-kit in my purse or pocket: a mini fountain pen and plain memo book. Actually, there is also a small waterbrush and tiny plastic container of white gouache in the bag, but you get the idea.

After seeing a few sketchers on Facebook doing ink drawings on brightly colored paper (Larry Marshall and Kate Powell come to mind), I thought I'd play along. These are from an American-based company that offers their answer to the Moleskine: Field Notes. This collection is named 'Sweet Tooth', being candy-colored. My favorite candy is chocolate, not SweetTarts, but the colors do make sketching fun. Another option is the 'Bright Idea' from Bright Ideas, a Coptic-stitched journal in rainbow colors.

I tested several fountain pens, a pencil, a white gel pen, and some watercolor and gouache on the first page. Nothing bleeds through to the other side of the page -- the paper is more like card stock. It can handle a bit of watercolor but I kept it on the dry side. The paper seemed to break down a bit on the cover's corner where I painted the tea mug. 

I think I'll stick to ink sketches and scribbles in these books, plus a random note or quote here and there. I began with the yellow to test bleed-through, but am looking forward to using the blue and red books. White gel pen doesn't show much on yellow (and the day's brightness seems to have washed out the yellow in places as I took the photos). I like the look of black and white ink on colored paper, using the paper's color as a mid-tone amidst the dark and light.

Or here is today's quick drawing using blue ink and a waterbrush as we waited in line for an annual vehicle inspection.

10 June 2016

Lego figures . . . taking over

Our home is being overrun by Lego figures. Courtesy of Josiah.

09 June 2016

loft studio

A few days ago I sketched my folding camp chair; now I drew it in its environment -- up in the loft of our tiny log cabin. That door on the right leads out onto a wee balcony.

08 June 2016

etegami postcards

Three of our grandchildren are visiting this week -- Jayna and Josiah joined me in painting Etegami postcards yesterday. Mine were using 3-layer Hongasen paper this time instead of the Gasen paper I used before. MUCH more "bleed" to this paper, which got out of control. Which is kind of the point of Etegami. I meant to leave more white areas in my fruit. I used Gansai paints while they shared their set of watercolors.

07 June 2016

and a few more EDM's

The next Everyday Matters challenge prompts . . . I think I'll leave the rest of the list for later. I find these are good to go through when I've skipped daily drawing for several days, just to get back into it. Sketching or painting is like most other activities: the more often and regularly you do it, the easier (and better) the skill becomes. Stop for a period of time, lines become a bit wonky and perspective gets crazy.

The tree above was over the center of our campsite during a recent trip to our lake (now closed again due to flooding). I took a photo of it as I was sitting under it. There was actually less leafing and more sky showing through but I got carried away. Wish I hadn't of!

This folding camp stool is what I used to carry on sketch crawls, with it's pockets to hold supplies and an easy carry strap. Now it stays in my "studio" at my art table. Maybe I'll sketch the studio space next.

04 June 2016

EDM # 302 & 303

Mikala is here today, so I tried to draw her hands as she played on her phone. The phone case is turquoise and pink, which decided the color accent on that page. Then I decided to do another EDM challenge . . . . Why in the world did I stick this throw-away ice pack in the freezer instead of tossing it in the trash? It came in a box of chocolate-covered strawberries.

03 June 2016

EDM challenge #301 - 'cute'

After a few non-sketching days, I'm getting back in the habit by returning to the Everyday Matters drawing challenges list. There are still several that I never did. I first began keeping sketchbooks in May of 2007, drawing each thing on this list. First in pencil, then ink, and finally adding a bit of color --- the list works great for building confidence!

02 June 2016

recent rainfall

We are experiencing flooding rains once more in central Texas, even more than last year's damaging floods. Last Thursday we received 19 inches in 24 hours! Bill had to empty the rain gauge several times to keep track. In the past month we have had 20 1/4"; yearly totals so far equals 37 3/4".

Our cabin once again stayed high and dry, but a mini-river came within 1" of our front door. We think it's time to buy flood insurance.

01 June 2016

an etegami kit

It's been a busy non-sketching few days around here -- family time and some other business to take care of. But I did put together a ready-to-grab kit for etegami, an old Japanese folk art of posted paintings with words. Included in the kit is Debbie Davidson's 'how to' book.

I decided to get a small set of gansai paints for this kit. This set comes in a cardboard box, so I included the lid from a mint tin for a paint mixing area, though mostly paint is applied directly to paper without mixing. Instead of a line-drawing brush and sumi ink, I'm using my Pentel pocketbrush pen. I don't have a hanko (a personal signature stamp or 'chop') so I've been drawing it on with a red pencil or pen.

This denim cover, copied from one found in a library book (I think by Claudia Nice), folds up into a neat package. I like being able to grab it and go. Quick little hand-painted postcards are so much more fun to send than purchased greeting cards!

And typical of me, I first tried out the paints when they arrived by a journal entry.
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