30 October 2016

our Texas-style water meter

Our log cabin is part of a small country community that shares a water well, and this is Bill's and my water meter. A big rock and plank of wood cover the access hole.

29 October 2016

our game day

I had a grandkid day with Jayna, Josiah, and Judah playing Legos, Wahoo, Yahtzee, and Webkinz after they spent last night with us. They went home this afternoon and I drew some of the games left on the footstool. 

Jason and Carrie came yesterday to celebrate Bill's birthday (a few days early -- his actual birthday is on Monday), with Jayna baking him a German chocolate bundt cake (very, very good!). Then today, Bill headed to San Antonio, helping a friend move his brother to a new apartment.

When we moved to Texas, Bill said this was the last move he'd make. But since then, he has helped move friends from Arkansas to Kansas, moved our son Jeff to a new apartment, moved son Jason's family to a new town, and now this friend's brother today. Never say never again!

28 October 2016

Inktober cup of tea

After early voting in Brenham this morning we planned on running a few errands, one of which was a visit to The Book Nook, our local used book store. But they open at 10:00-ish . . . emphasis on the "ish". So we walked around the downtown area, ending up at Park Street Bakery for coffee /tea. One of the few places that actually offers a selection of hot teas! Even though they are only from tea bags, not loose-leaf tea which has the best taste. Hey, I'm thankful just to get a hot cup of tea without the need to carry my own tea with me!

I began using the second of a set of three Field Notes memo books, which are easy to carry in pocket or bag. The cup and teapot were drawn with Noodler's Lexington gray, Platinum Carbon black, and Uniball Signo white gel inks, then I  added a bit of white gouache.

27 October 2016

today's inktober sketch

I jumped right in, drawing this odd-looking rock with black ink in a calligraphy pen and brush pens with Lexington gray and brown inks . . . then wished I had first plotted the shapes out with a pencil. Not very accurate, and the gray and brown inks went down a bit too dark. Afterwards, I added a bit of buff titanium watercolor and some white gel pen.

I found the rock among the river rocks at the edge of our patio --- it immediately brought to mind The Scream painting by Edvard Munch.

And this is the final sketch in this small Field Notes Memo Book. It came in a set of three; the others are a muted red and a turquoise blue.

La Carreta's, another view

This is along one outer wall of La Carreta's Mexican Cafe in Nacogdoches, TX. Bill took a photo of the old Pepsi sign so I could sketch it later. We both remember Pepsi being more popular than Coca Cola when we were kids, but now it's rare to see Pepsi being served around here. Of course, in central Texas it is all "coke" -- order a coke and the waitress will ask "what kind?" Apparently "coke" is synonymous with "soda" or "pop".

26 October 2016

Inktober, Monday and Tuesday

On Monday, Bill brought me a dead dragonfly he found on the ground to draw. One of the unexpected pleasures we have discovered since moving to central Texas has been the swarms of dragonflies that eat up the area mosquitos. And so many colors! Red, blue, green, and even black & white zebra-colored! They are amazing creatures and it's sad to find a dead one.

Tuesday we made an unexpected drive to Nacogdoches to help our son Jeff transfer some things to the person buying it from him. His car tires are not safe for out-of-town driving and the money for the items will help pay to fix that. He's busy with his new job but it takes time to catch up for the period of time when he was unemployed. And soon he will begin grad-school.

Our favorite Mexican restaurant in Nacogdoches is La Carreta -- an old water tower grain bin (Bill informed me of my error!) perched on the roof makes it easy to find. I planned on adding watercolor to the sketch but this particular brown ink melts a bit too much even after it dries. It is a Monteverde cartridge made to fit Lamy fountain pens. A beautiful brown, but not as useful for water-soluble ink & watercolor sketching as J. Herbin Lie de The brown ink.

24 October 2016

weekend sketches

Thanks to our friends Jonathan and Tay, who were unable to use their tickets, we went to the Celtic Thunder concert in Houston Saturday. Awesome music! While we waited in line, an elderly man in a kilt waited in front of us. I drew him and the group's name on this page but nothing else that night --- it was dark and I was enjoying the show. But afterwards, I added loose sketches of the guys from Internet photos. 

Then I drew this bit in church Sunday morning . . .

22 October 2016

Giddings courthouse

The historic Lee County courthouse in Giddings, TX has recently been restored. Whenever we've found ourselves in this town between Brenham and Austin, we have driven by to check the process. It really is a beautiful piece of architecture!

I drew this with a Sailor Fude de Mannen pen and the black ink cartridge that came with it; when it empties, I will fill the cartridge with water-resistant ink instead. I had this just as I wanted it and laid it open on a footstool to dry. Bearcat then came along and decided to taste the paper with his tongue, resulting in a smear. Weird cat!

21 October 2016

a bit of sweet tea

I planned to sketch outside Thursday while the grandkids were in school, but it was just too sticky-sweaty-humid-hot. Plus I have been fighting seasonal allergies, which make my throat sore from draining sinuses. So I brewed some peach tea, sweetened with Carrie's granulated honey, then poured it over ice. When I am at Jason and Carrie's, I usually use this large mug for tea -- the art is from silly "scary" cartoon movie I've never seen, but I like how large it is.

Often, I like to paint in the shadows before adding color washes. This was sketched with a Lamy Joy 1.1 calligraphy nib and Platinum Carbon black ink.

20 October 2016

hospitality fruit

I arrived at our son's home in Beasley . . . to an empty house. Carrie was at the library studying and Jason & the three kids were at church. They live in a very lovely, peaceful site on the edge of town --- a hay field is beyond their back yard! Later, Carrie challenged me to draw her pineapple. I'm not sure she realized how slowly I sketch, even for loose sketches. Eventually I let her cut it up.

19 October 2016

my bags are packed . . .

. . . and I'm ready to go. Actually, I have arrived. I tried earlier today to post this but ran into glitches all the way. For some weird reason, we have internet at home for browsing and doing things online; we just can't upload or download anything. So I tried posting this using the Blogger app on my phone; it allows me to type in two words but closes when I try typing in the next word . . . every time.

I'm only at our eldest son's home overnight, helping them taxi the kids to and from school tomorrow. They attend school in another town from where they live, in the same district that their dad teaches. But he will be elsewhere tomorrow and their mom has to leave much earlier, in the opposite direction, to get to her job in Houston. So I'm granny-nanny for the day.

Only one tote bag needed, of course. But the smaller bag contains art supplies -- if it doesn't rain, maybe I can get some sketching time in.

18 October 2016

cotton time

Inktober ink sketch: Between Lake Sumerville and College Station, we drive past lots of fields of cotton in many, many varieties. These are apparently testing fields owned by the university --- there is even a variety with purple foliage! I drew this with J. Herbin Lie de The and Monteverde brown inks. The brown ink comes in cartridges that fit Lamy fountain pens! Both inks are water-soluble, which I used for the "washes" in this sketch.

17 October 2016


I drew my shoe while jotting down a couple of notes at church. It was simply what was in my line of vision so why not? After church we went to H.E.B. for a few groceries --- I walked all over the store in these same shoes. We drove home and, as I stepped out of the truck, I stepped down onto the gravel . . . and walked off of my shoe! At least the bottom half --- the top half was still on my foot. 

an unexpected radiance

Yesterday morning at church, with the lights dimmed as we sang praise songs shown on an overhead screen, Bill called my attention to the pulpit. Made of cedar, there are mirror inserts with an eagle and the church name etched in the mirror's surface. The sun peeked through the closed window blinds just enough to light it up!

16 October 2016

Inktober continues . . .

Bill and I keep our vitamins (and his meds) in week-long containers. As I was refilling Bill's container, I thought I might as well sketch them. Sort of a continuous line drawing that wasn't always continuous.

Three years ago Bill's cardiologist said he'd be on drugs the rest of his life following his heart attack. The heart surgeon who operated disagreed, as does our current doctor: only a baby aspirin, plus vitamin B6 and hawthorn berry to control blood pressure. The only prescription shown here is a statin, which is questionable as to whether he actually needs it.

15 October 2016

fountain pens currently in use

I've cut down on the number of my fountain pens that are inked up at the moment. Thought I would draw them for Inktober, each drawn with itself in the current ink color, and add watercolor --- but three of them are water-soluble inks and would make a mess in watercolor, so I left it as an ink drawing.

The tall Lamy Joy once again has its 1.1 calligraphy nib, and I found that I could store the next larger size calligraphy nib inside its long barrel. So when I want bolder text (like the upper right headline) I can easily switch them with a bit of paper towel to keep the mess down.

The J. Herbin Lie de The ink is actually more of a warm golden brown; I was surprised that it looks like a rich, almost chocolate brown in the photo. But the early morning light on our patio is a bit blue this morning, which affects the color quality of my sketchbook.

14 October 2016

a church in Giddings, TX

We had some extra time after eating before going to see Macy play volleyball earlier this week, so we drove around exploring this small Texas town. Across from the recently restored courthouse we found an old Presbyterian church with a beautiful steeple shining in the bright sun. Literally shining, due to it being covered in galvanized tin!

Years ago, when we owned our own plumbing business, we used to go on "get-away-from-work" trips to various small Kansas towns. A game we used to play is "guess the denomination" of old churches by the architecture --- it was usually quite easy, as each group tended to choose similar styles of their own. Not so in Texas! We can never guess the denomination by the architecture here. We would have guessed Lutheran for this building; the Presbyterian buildings we grew up around were always built of stone.

Here's the two-page spread in my sketchbook.

13 October 2016

a simple bag

Sometimes simple is all that is needed.
A drawing of my bag, with my first Lamy pen peeking out of a front pocket, sketched with another Lamy with a 1.1 calligraphy nib and Platinum Carbon Black ink (which went down VERY WET on the paper of this Field Notes memo book!)

12 October 2016

Inktober bowl of rocks

Today's Inktober sketch: a bowl our son Matt made in high school filled with rocks I picked up on our walks. I especially like the red jasper. The dark brown rock looks like a chocolate no-bake cookie!

11 October 2016

Inktober -- "the chef"

We drove to Giddings, TX to watch our young friend Macy play volleyball. But first we wandered around an antique shop, looking for ideas to convert old galvanized objects into new kitchen lighting. Our favorite idea is using a long chicken-feed trough, hanging it upside down over our stove with lights inside. Still thinking about it . . .

Next, we ate at Reba's, our favorite deli / pizzeria place. Our daughter-in-law, Misty, told us about this place. Great soups, sandwiches, brick-oven pizza, and pies! This chef statue stands on the counter; I hadn't realized until drawing him that his right thumb is broken off. At one time he probably 'held' a tray or hanging sign. He reminds me of a full-sized chef at Ventana's, one of our favorite places to eat in Excelsior Springs, MO. How I would love to have a bowl of their buffalo chicken soup!

10 October 2016

a muji palette conversion . . . failure?

Today's Inktober ink sketch is just lines with watercolor, but I tried drawing lines with this dip pen instead of a fountain pen. The bottle of Platinum Carbon Black ink I used is getting low, making it very hard to actually dip a pen nib into!

Inspired by Ed Mostly's handmade pocket palette. I tried to make one like his. The deeper size business card box was easy to find on Amazon. Instead of using white contact paper to line the inside, I spray-painted the inside with white enamel paint. But I had no luck finding the white plastic strips Ed used to form divisions in his palette. Hobby stores near us don't have the 'strip styrene' or anything like it. So there I left it . . . until discovering that used Winsor & Newton 1/2 pans fit the box perfectly. Other brands of 1/2 pans are a bit too large.

While 18 pans fit easily, they make the box's catch mechanism hard to open, so I will probably remove the potter's pink and one of the greens, leaving a gap in the center front. Maybe a small sponge could fit there instead. A plus with this palette is it is extremely lightweight!

09 October 2016

HOA yearly meeting

Today's ink sketch for Inktober was actually begun yesterday during the yearly meeting of our home owners association. Our lake community of 32 properties share a common well; yearly dues pay for the well water and upkeep of our private circle drive. We are currently dealing with the repair of the drainage ditches --- the heavy rains of the past two years caused erosion, bringing much of the sandy soil on the top of the hill down to the bottom of the hill (where our cabin is located). Yet, for the first time since moving here, they did NOT push for a rate increase, for which we are grateful.

As the people began to arrive in the large garage we were meeting in, I began to draw them in pencil. Today, I inked those marks in, keeping it as simple as the original pencil lines. Then tried a few touches of a waterbrush, but the J. Herbin Lie de The ink did not spread much, even though it is water soluble.

08 October 2016

coast laurel oak tree

Something has been eating leaves off one of our oak trees, a small semi-evergreen variety. Wishing to sketch some acorns on a branch, I discovered the wee blue green caterpillar that's been feasting. Then I found a couple of odd fuzzy balls growing on another branch. Larger than the acorns, when we cut one in half it had a fruit-like center. Curious!

07 October 2016

this morning's doctor visit

One more sketch post for today . . .
Bill had an early appointment with an orthopedic doctor this morning for an on-going pain in his shoulder and arm. He was told to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled time, but apparently no one told the staff to unlock the door. So we sat in the lobby where I drew the front doors. It was very foggy and I could barely make out our truck parked outside.

I drew this directly in ink, misjudging the right line of the door frame. And I now see that the cat somehow smeared the ink in some ceiling lights -- he was reclining on top of the sketchbook. Drawn with a Sailor Fude de Mannen and a Sharpie white pen.

a trip to Buc-ee’s

Yesterday we drove to Madisonville, which is roughly half-way to Nacogdoches, where our youngest son lives. After graduating from Steven F. Austin University, he found a local job to support himself as he continues on to grad school.

His dog, Ceilidh, has been staying with us while he was busy with the job search but he was more than ready to get her back. She used to be my dog; Scottish Terriers are notorious for stubbornly choosing who their true person is and she chose Jeff. Both are so happy to be together again! We met Jeff half-way to return Ceilidh to him.

06 October 2016

Jayna's triumphs

This was our granddaughter's first year in 4-H, and she entered multiple categories in the county fair -- trying out several venues to find what she enjoys the most. There was a close-up photo of a dragonfly (my favorite!), an oil pastel portrait of a horse, home baked cookies, some very yummy mixed fruit jam, a hair ornament, and an apron she sewed on a sewing machine. The photo received a red ribbon, the rest were given blue ribbons, and her apron was awarded a purple grand champion ribbon for the junior division!

05 October 2016

Inktober, 4 October

I seem to be forming a habit of posting these daily sketches a day late. But that's what fits our busy schedule so it may continue. I drew this on sight, first with pencil guidelines then with a Sailor Fude de Mannen and the ink cartridge that came with it.

Yesterday I had a 6-month check-up with my eye doctor. There's always a long wait to see Dr. Horton (time to sketch!) but she's definitely worth the wait --- she gives detailed information about everything and gives her patients time to ask questions. Their office doesn't even use computers, yet she is often called in as a consultant to Houston. Old-fashioned, but a gifted doctor. I'm seeing her for glaucoma and post-cataract surgery. Because I had cataracts at a younger age, I will probably need a laser treatment later on, but she can do that right in her office. And good news: my eye pressure remains low so the glaucoma is under control.

04 October 2016

Inktober day 3

I painted a few drawing tools directly with watered-down ink, planning on adding ink lines after the washes dried. . . . . Then decided that I like it better without the lines. All I have is fountain pen ink, which I had thought to use here with a dip pen. But used the natural hair bamboo brush instead.

03 October 2016

yesterday's Inktober sketch

I drew this eagle sculpture at church yesterday, using my favorite Lamy Safari (dark lilac!) filled with an ink mixture I mixed myself. I know many ink artists out there advise against mixing inks but I've never run into problems doing so.

I originally bought the purple Lamy cartridges to go with this pen but they were a pinkish-purple -- too pink for my preferences. So I used a syringe to pull the purple ink out, mixing it with some brown samples I had decided against and a bit of black ink (all water-soluble). I ended up with this shadowy earthy purple-brown ink and love it! 

01 October 2016

Mikala's volleyball game

Today is the beginning of the Inktober sketch-in-ink-daily challenge . . . . and Bill and I are busy cooking and planning for his men's group meeting tonight. I began this sketch Thursday during our granddaughter's game but quickly added the figures today from photos I had taken. Even from photos, it is VERY hard for me to capture people's likenesses, especially when drawing directly in ink without pencil or eraser! Drawn with Noodler's Lexington gray ink in both a Lamy XF nib and a brush pen.

These are the cast of characters for my ink sketching challenge this month: 2 Kuretake brush pens, a Uniball Signo white gel pen, a Noodler's Konrad pen, 4 Lamy's, a Hero m86, and a Sailor Fude de Mannen. Inks include both water-resistant and water-soluble in gray, browns, a mixed shadowy- purple-brown, and black.
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