30 July 2016

the book finally arrived . . . times two?

For over a month I have been practically drooling when I saw others posting pictures of this new book, "Artist's Sketchbook" by Cathy Johnson (my dearest friend, Kate) as they received their copies in the mail. I was honored to be among the many artists invited to submit art for the book --- how cool to be included among so many wonderfully talented people! Apparently those receiving their books early had pre-ordered them. My own copy was free from the publisher for allowing them copyright to the images I submitted, and handled by a different department than sales.

Imagine my surprise when our mailman brought me not one but two copies! No note of explanation, just two books within this strangely glued-together package. The corner of one copy was a bit bent but no reason to reject it.

I expected to love the book, as I love Kate's previous book I participated in, "Artist's Journal Workshop". But I didn't know it would repeatedly bring me to tears. So many of Kate's images were done during sketchcrawls that I joined in; many other artists are my sketchcrawl buddies from when we lived close enough to attend the monthly get-togethers. How I miss those magical times! I was even there when Kate sketched Liz Steel's bear, Borromini, at an old Kansas City hotel. I remember talking with Liz in the parking lot about our shared faith long after the others had gone home, not wanting to leave.

Thank you, Kate. It is truly a magical book full of memories!

29 July 2016

fairy stones

Recently I read a little e-book called "The Cabin", by Smoky Zeidel. The story has a mysterious log cabin in the woods of Virginia, a bit of time-travel, and some wee fairy stones -- a twin-crystal mineral known as Staurolite.

I had never heard of these cross-shaped stones before. In the book, a legend is told of the elvish folk having told the fairies of the One they call the Christ having been crucified. The fairies wept and where their tears fell, tiny cross stones appeared. Eventually the fairies and elves diminished from the area until they had disappeared.

After writing a couple of my favorite quotes from the book into my journal, I wanted to draw a few of the stones on the page, so I looked them up on the internet.

25 July 2016

some fresh flowers

On Saturday we headed to Huntsville, Texas, where our granddaughter had been attending bassoon camp --- the kids were playing in a recital at the end of camp. We left home early, planning on a stop in College Station for a quick breakfast and a stop at Kohl's (I had a birthday money-off coupon that would expire soon). We ate at Chick-fil-A, where these fresh flowers were on our table and some lovely Christian praise music played in the background.

Back to Kohl's, which was supposed to open at 8:00 --- the doors were closed and there was a crowd of people standing around outside. Curious, it being 9:30. We left for another errand, then returned. Now at 10:00, doors still closed and the line a couple of blocks long. Don't know what kind of event they were having, but we didn't stick around to find out.

Which put us in Huntsville way too early so we looked for the nearest Kohl's about 30 miles south in Conroe. I found exactly what I was looking for (at half-price!), Bill found some needed shoes in his hard-to-find size, and the lady behind us in line insisted that we use her 30% off coupon. Nice! My friend Ginger would call that an anointed shopping day.

Then on to Sam Houston State University for an awesome bassoon & oboe concert, followed by lunch with our daughter and her family. Turned out to be a wonderful day . . . and we still have no idea what was going on at the College Station Kohl's.

21 July 2016

last night's sketch and a great book

Not feeling very inspired but needing to draw __something__, I drew my own foot as I jotted down a few notes at church last night. It may seem to some that we are at church a lot . . . but our little so-called "biker church" is more like a beloved family. We genuinely enjoy spending time together, laughing and crying, worshiping and praying.

Recently I received a book in the mail that is a new favorite: "Pen and Ink" by James Hobbs. Presently, it is only sold in the UK but I was able to buy a new copy through the secondary market on Amazon. The book is a blend of some fabulous art by 35 artists and techniques for various ways of working with this medium. 

Not only is there a special Artist Index to quickly find art by a particular artist as well as where to find them online, but there is also this great Visual Index! So easy to quickly find a certain image I'm looking for! And the book's size is so easy to hold and easy to take along with me --- I like looking through it while Bill is driving.

20 July 2016

brain freeze

A silly little sketch from last night, eating out with friends -- first 'Chinese' at Pei Wei, then dessert at Bahama Buck's. Toasted coconut shaved ice with chocolate creme = brain freeze!

18 July 2016

Somerville shadow

The buildings on my side of the Main Street through Somerville, TX cast pointy shadows towards two new businesses across the street: a small barbecue place and a snow cone shop. This is from near our church.

15 July 2016

while they are away in Greece . . .

Not much concentrated sketching time this week. Our eldest son Jason and his lovely wife Carrie are out of the country, leaving their three very active young children with us.

This past spring, Jason was informed that his contract with the private school he taught physics at for the past 15 years was not being renewed. There are many ongoing problems with the administration; teachers, students and parents alike were enraged that Jason was being let go. But the Lord showed that He was in control --- a week after getting this news, Jason was informed that he had been selected as one of only 20 science teachers from the United States to attend a science conference in Greece, all expenses paid. And very soon after, he was quickly hired by another school system closer to home --- no commute time via freeway! And they had the extra  money for Carrie to go to Greece with him; while he attends the daily sessions, she goes on long relaxing walks by the shore, takes photos, and sketches. Later, they see the ancient sites together.

Keeping up with Jayna, Josiah, and Judah is a bit distracting for me! Too busy with them to get much drawing done, but last night I just started sketching a few things from the shelves. The wee tea cup belonged to Bill's grandmother as a child; one of the metal Scotties is from our first Monopoly set. The Lego artist figure "paints" a Toulouse-lautrec poster on a box a friend once gave me. They stand in front of a few of the books I have by other artists.

13 July 2016

garden cleanup

On a recent sunny morning, before the summer heat rose, I cleaned up our rose bed a bit. My experimental planting of herbs among the roses was a wash-out . . . literally. Spring rains drowned the sages, bee balm and marjoram, and nearly killed the oregano, in spite of a new drainage system. I noted that herbs in terra cotta pots survived, even thriving. So I dug up the barely-alive oregano and placed the two plants in pots. Hopefully they will come back strong. The basil and bay laurel came through the flooding just fine, as did the mints in pots.

I also cut back the roses. Since the spring floods, wild animals had eaten all the leaves, their normal grazing areas being under water. Former owners of the property had strung tiny fairy lights just inside the patio roof, giving off just a wee bit of light. We sometimes leave these on instead of a porch light, giving light without excessive bugs. We discovered that if we leave these lights on all night, animals leave the rose leaves alone. So I cut back the bare stems, fertilized, and watered them (we are in a hot, dry period now). It seems to have worked; we are now getting some blooms with lots of healthy leaf growth.

Afterwards, I sketched my garden tool bag -- I liked the shadows! That crumpled bit of blue in the bag is a very large IKEA bag that I use to gather cuttings into. Makes it easy to carry them to our burn pit without getting nicked by the rose thorns.

12 July 2016

ink scribbles

We are participating in another evening Bible study with friends, continuing our focus on praying effectively. During last night's meeting I did random sketches with a Lamy Safari fountain pen loaded with a dark brown ink. My tea had a coffee undertone in taste due to the water being heated in the coffee maker after coffee. Tasted nasty! I love the smell of coffee but hate the taste.

11 July 2016

an unexpected surprise

I vaguely remembered my dear friend Kate (also known as Cathy Johnson) mentioning her having an article in an upcoming issue of Watercolor Artist magazine, but did not remember the details. On Friday night, I looked up the current issue online, then scrolled down to the "featured artists" list looking for Kate's name. 

And instead, found MY OWN NAME! . . . Wait, what? 

Not having any place locally where the magazine can be purchased, we had to wait until we could drive to College Station. Where we went to Barnes & Noble and began flipping through the pages --- Bill found my sketch first, one of seven artists sketching scenes or details in nature. 

The images (and possibly the text?) in the article are taken from Kate's new book, Artist's Sketchbook. I am one of over 20 artists whose work was included in the book. I signed a release for the publisher to use my submitted art in the book; in exchange, they agreed to send me a complimentary copy of the book. Sadly, I have yet to see it though many on Facebook are posting that they already have theirs.

09 July 2016

Bearcat moping

We "cat-sat" for our son, Jeff, during a recent trip he took with his college class. His cat, Mist, does not like other cats and never allowed our Bearcat to get close to her. That did not stopped Bear from hoping that he would eventually befriend her. He's a very friendly cat by nature.

When Jeff took Mist home, Bear moped in the loft for a day or two, making sure we could see him peeking over the loft edge. Didn't want to waste a good "pout", like it was all our fault for letting her get away.

Sketched with a mixed dark sepia ink (Noodler's polar black and polar brown inks) and white pencil on Mi-teintes toned paper in a hand-bound journal.

08 July 2016

Thursday morning coffee (and tea!) group

Bill meets with a few other guys nearly every Tuesday and Thursday morning for coffee. This Thursday, Ms. B.J. and I joined them. We decided to meet at an earlier time; unfortunately, the cafe hadn't opened quite yet, so we chatted and laughed together in the parking lot.

After opening, everyone else was served coffee in good time, but it seemed a challenge for them to find a mug of hot water for my tea (I carry my own tea bags with me because so many places offer none). Pastor Gary finally went to the kitchen door and brought me some hot water. So I did this quick sketch while joining in the conversation.

Taking photos of my sketchbook using an iPad or iPhone has such better color and clarity! Much less editing needed than when using my camera and computer. Just a bit of cropping to eliminate unnecessary background images and maybe straighten the alignment. My camera images require adjustments in lighting, color (for some reason, photos turn bluer than the actual sketch), cropping, and alignment.

But Blogger seems to prefer the camera, allowing those images to be clicked on for enlarging when viewed on a computer while iPad images cannot be enlarged. Perhaps that's because if they are in turn viewed on a pad, they can be enlarged by a finger span swipe?

07 July 2016

another flag & a wee froggy

Last night, comments during church led me to sketch one of the flags.

Then there's this rotting log next to our grill at home . . . A frog has moved in to the 'cave' formed underneath. Ceilidh loves to bark at him.

03 July 2016

happy birthday, America!

This morning we arrived at church to find Independence Day decorations in the front windows and inside. So I sketched a bit of one in a yellow "Sweet Tooth" Field Notes memo book using de Atramentis dark blue ink. Watercolor and white gouache added later at home. I decided to post this tonight instead of tomorrow; what originally started as inviting 3 people over for a cookout on the Fourth has grown to about 20 and I'll be too busy to post anything.
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