31 December 2017

walking thru the neighborhood

We live in the country, about 4 miles from one tiny town and about 12 miles from a slightly larger town. Our small lake community of about 30 houses sharing a common water well is just off of a busy farm road with lots of curves and no shoulders to walk on __not safe for walking__ so when we walk, it’s generally around the circle of homes.

The location of these two homes were at one time a busy path for local deer. We often saw them run through here if we walked early enough in the morning. But since moving here, more new residents moved in with loud barking dogs — the deer have decided to move on.

Yet, at the nd of December, we still have wildflowers! In fact, as we drove to Houston this past week, we saw huge masses of them along the roadside.

30 December 2017

Bardie making peace

When we arrived at our daughter’s home, Bardie got a hiss or two in upon confronting her dog and three cats. All very well-behaved, friendly animals but Bardie is a spoiled “only child”. We closed him up in the guest room while we ate out. Two of the cats, Pumpkin and Reece’s, were especially interested in establishing friendship with this strange, round cat but Bardie was a bit stuck up.

Later, we left the bedroom door open and just walked away. Eventually Bardie came down the stairs on his own and staked his position behind my chair, sitting on the low fireplace ledge. At least he no longer growled when cats came up to greet him.

I think Bardie prefers their scratching post to his own, even if he has to get on tiptoe to reach the top.

By yesterday evening, he came seeking them out, wanting to play. That’s him peeking up at them in the above photo. Pumpkin, a gorgeous red Maine Coon, is in his favorite spot above Mikala’s head, part-Maine Coon Mocha is giving himself a bath to the far right, and Reece’s the rescued street cat is ready to play with Bardie. Later, each of them took turns chasing and playing together, while ignoring Bradley, the Great Pyrenees / golden retriever mix. Bardie even got to where he didn’t flinch as much when Bradley barked Very Loudly.

28 December 2017

on the road

Bardie Mac is perfectly content to go for a drive with us. Little does he know that there is a large dog and three cats at the end of the journey. 🙀

26 December 2017

more Liliput fun

When I first received my brass Liliput fountain pen, I tried it out with the blue water-soluble ink that came with it. Fun to use to break in the pen but the color ran too much to use with watercolor, and I’m not that fond of sketching in blue ink.

I tried a couple of international-size short converters but neither one worked well with this particular pen, so I used a blunt-tip syringe to clean and refill the cartridge that came with the pen. I filled it with a dark gray ink that I had mixed of leftover Noodler’s Polar Black and Polar Brown, making a slightly more subtle color for standard sketching than using a harsh black ink.

Then I began looking at what refill cartridges are available for this pen. I love the “antique” feel of sketching in a water-soluble brown ink and watercolor. So I ordered three shades of brown ink from Jet Pens: Terra de Feu and Lie de The from J. Herbin, and a brown from Colte (this brand is 10 cartridges for only $2.80!).

I have tried the Lie de The before and love the subtle golden cast, something like a raw sienna. The Terra de Feu is a bit redder than the coppery brown I was looking for. But surprisingly, the very cheap brown cartridge ink from Colte is perfect — a burnt sienna / coppery color (Hmm . . . would be lovely in a second Liliput in copper, wouldn’t it?).

I tried each color ink on this 2-page spread, then had to leave it before getting to test watercolor. So the ink actually had all day to dry before finishing the test. When I came back to it, the ink on its own bled quite a bit with a waterbrush. But when I added watercolor to the quick apple sketches, there was very little bleed — just a subtle effect. I like all three colors, so will have fun with them over the next few weeks.

25 December 2017

Merry Christmas!

Thanks be to God for His indescribable Gift!  2 Cor. 9:15

Have a richly blessed Christmas, dear friends!

24 December 2017

continuing to play with Liliput

I am still playing with my new fountain pen, a Kaweco Liliput — finding any excuse to write or draw with it. On the left side of this spread, I sketched my favorite hair clips. These beaded wire clips are based on those old leather and wooden stick things we wore in the late 1960s - early 1970s, designed by Lilla Rose. I found them at a local Bluebonnet Festival the year we moved here.

Then I drew my minimal sketch kit. Because the Liliput is so tiny (easy to lose) and rolls off surfaces, I bought a wee leather sleeve to store it in. There’s also room to store a travel watercolor brush next to it, in case I come across a glass of water while out sketching.

Basically: a small soft-cover Stillman & Birn sketchbook, the Pocket Palette, a waterbrush, my Liliput and travel brush, and a folded paper towel.

23 December 2017

autumn’s last hurrah

Though it is now technically winter, we spotted these last jewels of autumn during a walk this week. A bit more color than is usual in our mild climate where even some of the oak trees are evergreen.

22 December 2017

Shirley’s hand

Our friend Sandie is dealing with some very tough stuff. Her mother Shirley, a good friend of both Bill’s and mine since we were teenagers, is living with dementia. Her husband George is also on the downward slide, but not as deep as Shirley. And hers is a “mean” form; she says cruel things to her daughter that she would never say or mean if her mind was lucid.

Sandie recently posted a photo on Facebook that I used to sketch this memory in my journal.

20 December 2017

at Macy’s game . . .

Yesterday we went to our young friend Macy’s basketball game in Caldwell — she’s a freshman playing on the junior varsity team. While watching the game, I sketched a nearby parent who was watching her phone instead of the game.

Macy’s team won, 53 / 10!

18 December 2017

a Mustang Island sunrise

After jotting down the quotes on the left page, I went through old photos to find something that fit. This sunrise view is from a photo I took of our grandson Quen walking along the surf on Mustang Island. We camped on the beach a couple of years ago and the sunrises were spectacular!

16 December 2017

testing pen nibs with a mug of cocoa

Yesterday I made some peanut butter fudge at our son Matt’s request; our daughter Kristen is hosting a family tamale-making day at her house and we all brought nibbles. After making fudge, I usually make myself a mug of hot cocoa, which I swish around in the empty marshmallow jar to melt the remains into. I make my own cocoa mix with powdered milk, a good quality dry cocoa, and stevia — mine is more chocolatey and less sugary than premixed kinds.

My cocoa mug is a delicate bone china mug that my daughter and granddaughter found at a British import store; they know I love Scottish Terriers! I didn’t want it stained with tea, so I only use it for cocoa.

The reason for the above sketch was trying out a variety of fountain pen nibs. I was looking for a more flexible nib with good line variability. I would love a fountain pen nib that performs like the Zebra G nibs in my dip pen, which is not convenient to carry with me.

Then I remembered altering a very cheap JinHao pen to hold one of my Zebra G nibs. So I dug it out of the back of my pen drawer and inked it up. Things were going well until I was half-way through the header . . . then I looked down to see my fingers covered with ink and no ink on the paper . . .

Oh yeah, that’s the reason I quit using that pen!

12 December 2017

a bit of Christmas

Yesterday, I sketched a very small portion of a floral arrangement at church. Several of us gather there on Monday mornings to pray for any specific needs we become aware of. I waited unti, this morning to add watercolor.

I’ve never been one to enjoy formal floral arrangements, either to paint or to receive. I prefer wildflowers in their natural setting, or perhaps a single rose that my husband cuts and brings inside to fill our home with the lovely fragrance. (We only grow antique types of roses that maintain the original scents placed there by the Creator.) But sketching just a wee bit of an arrangement is fun.

11 December 2017

tweaking . . .

I’m still using the same palette of watercolors that filled the top of the first page, but thanks to Maria of Expeditionary Art creating a new half pan size, I have added a couple more colors to my pocket palette: phthalo green for mixing and indanthrone blue just because I like it.

Having smaller amounts of phthalo blue and phthalo green just make sense, as powerful as these pigments are. You really need only a very tiny bit.

Now that I look at this new layout, I’m thinking I could easily get by with a smaller size of buff titanium as well. But what additional color would I add?

10 December 2017

a view out my window

A simple sketch of the view out my cabin window as yard shadows began their spread across the yard. I’ve had a persistent cough left over from allergies and the cough is causing a back ache . . . so I drew this without much thought as I relaxed on the couch.

08 December 2017

old geezers

Every Tuesday and Thursday, Bill and his buddies from church meet in Lions, TX for coffee. And a bit of breakfast for those who wish it. We affectionately refer to them as the “old geezers”, though a couple of them are only in their 50’s. Sometimes wives come along —

Yesterday I went with Bill, as we were heading to doctor appointments directly afterwards. (him, for pain management medication, and me for scalp psoriasis — my hair once fell out due to this and I still fight it at times). As we drank our coffee (make that TEA for me), I did a continuous line drawing of the things in front of me. My “critics” mentioned that I forgot the spoon next to these things which the waitress always brings with my hot mug of water, even though I never stir anything into my tea. I bring my own tea bags and she keeps bringing me mugs of hot water.

07 December 2017

a palette with fountain pen

I finally managed to put together a watercolor palette that my new Liliput fountain pen fits in.

Instead of my regular Schminke travel palette, I decided to use this flatter metal box from Daler Rowney. The new-and-improved metal pans from Expeditionary Art are just right —- I can even fit extra tiny pans in of colors I like but don’t use as much.

This is what the box looks like closed.

I removed the paints and plastic divider that came in the box, then attached 2 business-card magnets in the bottom of the box.

And here are the fountain pen and travel brush opened and ready to use.

06 December 2017

kitten games

Bardie Mac has to be the most playful kitten I’ve ever met. He’s always ready for a boxing match with Bill, standing on hind legs as he punches Bill’s fingers, or a fast-running game of soccer —- which used to be played with wadded-up balls of paper but is now played with ping pong balls. At a recent high school volleyball game, some of the players tossed small toy balls into the crowd and Bill caught one — that has become Bardie’s as well.

He also loves playing “tag, you’re It!” with me, softly grabbing my legs in a bear hug before running off, wanting me to chase him. I run after him and tag his fuzzy back . . . if I can! Then he pretends not to care until he can catch me again.

I often pick up this aqua scrap of baby blanket, placing it inside one of his cubbies or onto the cat tree. He hunts for it and eventually drags it back to his favorite night sleeping spot, the floor at the foot of our bed next to his scratching post. He often uses the base of the post for a pillow!

The scrap of blanket came with Bardie from his breeder. She gives a new baby blanket to each litter of kittens; a piece is cut off to be sent home with each adoption to calm the kitten as it adjusts to its new home, having the scent of its mother and litter mates on it. At 9 months old, the scent is probably long gone now, but Bardie still loves his blankie.

04 December 2017

my other early Christmas gift

Yesterday while watching a movie with Bill, I did a quick sketch of my new toy in its case.

My iPad was a third generation; new enough to run some cool apps like Paper 53 but so old there were no updates and other, newer programs no longer worked. So Bill bought me a new iPad Mini 4 with a monthly internet plan. It was given to me early so I could load everything on it, then cancel my internet service with Hughes. Accessing the internet through this tablet costs less than half of what Hughes cost and is unlimited (Hughes was metered). I love the smaller size! Fits in my bag and easier to read ebooks at night without my hands getting tired holding it. There's a night setting for the backlight to prevent eye strain --- after all, I mostly use it for reading.

03 December 2017

a commissioned sketch

After the October art sale that nobody came to, a friend of a friend contacted me through Facebook. Somehow she had seen some of my sketches and wondered if I might draw her Christmas card this year.

She is a realtor and recently sold this charming cottage, and thought it would make a cute card. So I drew it for her; she's buying the original and, after printing cards, she will gift it to the homeowners.

30 November 2017

a new wee toy

Because much of our family scatters at Christmas time, visiting in-laws still back in Kansas, we usually have an early get-together with gift exchange. With 4 grown children, 3 in-laws, and 5 grandchildren, that's a lot of gift buying for limited incomes! So we draw names each year.

This year, our daughter-in-law Misty drew my name. She gave me this new fountain pen, a Kaweco Liliput with an extra fine tip. Being German made (like my much loved Lamy Safari), the nib sizes run a bit larger than Japanese pens, so the finer the better!

For now, I'm using the ink cartridge that came with the pen, which is a water-soluble blue. When empty, I can refill it with my favorite De Atramentis Document inks that are waterproof.

The tiny Liliput writes extremely smoothly, starting up right away with no skipping or ink-blobbing. It is actually quite comfortable to hold, with the cap posting securely to add length (it screws on to prevent being knocked off). And it's small enough to fit inside a standard metal travel palette, right next to a travel brush!

Meanwhile, I am done with Hughes internet. We don't have many options, living in the country with all these trees around us. Even with an upgrade, we still could not stream programs and the least bit of wind caused us to lose connection. Not worth the high cost!

So our oldest son, Jason, set us up with a booster for our cell phones, mounted on the old pole next to the cabin that previous owners used for a TV antenna. With a signal boost, I can now use my phone or my new iPad Mini for internet, using a "hotspot" mode as needed for my computer. Hughes was metered; our family plan with my phone and iPad is unlimited.

My next problem was posting to this blog. Apple no longer supports the Blogger app and I couldn't seem to post things through their Safari browser. So I tried downloading the Google Chrome browser to my iPad, then selecting "request desktop site" from the drop-down menu. And so far, it works!

27 November 2017

a new journal . . . goin' small

This time, I'm going small for my journal -- a 3.5 x 5.5" Delta soft bound sketchbook from Stillman & Birn. And an early Christmas gift to go with it, from DIL Misty Williamson, a Kaweco Liliput fountain pen. I'm loving how smoothly it writes!

And as usual, the first page has my current favorite colors and a quote. After taking this photo, I wrote personal contact info on the other side in case it ever gets lost.

As usual, I managed to smear the ink a bit . . .

22 November 2017

no more paper for Bardie!

Bardie loves paper. 

Playing soccer with wadded-up balls of paper, burrowing into packing paper in boxes. Even patting my sketchbook paper as I draw. 

But then he stopped eating. Even his favorite, a canned seafood blend from Earthborn. Apparently, he had eaten strips he had torn from the brown packing paper in the latest order from Chewy.com that is now messing with his intestines. 

Now under a vet's care, he'll be fine --- I'm replacing his paper toys with ping pong balls!

This is also the final page of my beloved sketchbook handbound by Cathy 'Kate' Johnson. Below are the miscellaneous scribblings from the inside covers. Verses, quotes, playing with palette choices . . . even deciding on Bardie's name.

20 November 2017

mushrooms edging a tree stump

On the oak tree side of our yard, there are several tree stumps cut at ground level. These original trees were cut to make room for building the cabin and thinned a bit to make it more "yard-like". Around the edge of this particular stump some beautiful, luminous mushrooms have popped up this past week.

18 November 2017

a really big leaf

Three of our grandkids came to spend a couple of days with us. Needville High School was sending their volleyball team to the state competition up north of Dallas; so many teachers planned on going (including our son, Jason) that they just closed all the town's schools Friday rather than trying to find all those substitutes.

Today the kids and I took a walk . . . and found this Really Big oak leaf, a full 11" long! Rather bug-chewed and crumbly, but fun to sketch anyway.

And we just heard: the Needville team are the new state champions!

13 November 2017

saying goodbye . . .

Since moving here nearly 4 years ago, Bill has formed a close friendship with our elderly neighbor, John. He lost his beloved wife, Bobbie, just a couple of months after we had settled here. His own elderly aunt and uncle once owned the cabin that is now our home.

John is now dying. His son and daughter-in-law have been very thankful for Bill's help as they go through the process of saying goodbye. I sketched this card to give them from us; Bill and John have spent many hours visiting on this side patio of John's.

11 November 2017

a braiding team

Yesterday afternoon, we drove to Troy, TX to watch our young friend Macy play basketball. Before her team played, I saw these team members "tag team" a hair-braiding session. Macy didn't get much play time, having recently recovered from a concussion she received at a volleyball practice, but her team won!

09 November 2017

results . . . or not

Yesterday, I sketched this while waiting in the neurosurgeon's office at Scott & White in Temple, Texas. After extensive new tests, this second neurosurgeon found no indication for further surgery to correct Bill's damaged nerve. Pain management was suggested; we already went that route and it did not help at all. The nerve may possibly heal over time, it may not. Bill's feeling pretty down at the moment.

We are trusting the Lord to have better answers.

06 November 2017

a few leaves and Internet woes

A young girl at church, Kathleen, heard that I miss colorful autumn leaves so she brought me a few leaves from her yard. Not as brilliant as our Autumn Joy maple tree produced but fun to sketch.

Having internet problems . . . Currently, I can only post entries at church with their free wifi. Not a lot of selection around here but I'm asking around in hopes of finding a new service. I can't really think of opening an Etsy shop to sell prints or notecards online until this is resolved. Also looking into buying a signal booster for my phone to solve my not having a signal on a regular basis.

30 October 2017

sketching Saturday's meeting

Our local homeowner's association held the annual meeting on Saturday -- I sketched the water well system that is the center of the current battle. We are a small housing group in the country, far from any water lines (also far from decent internet connections or clear cell phone signals, but that may be all the lovely trees), and we share this private well.

In theory, our yearly dues go to pay for upkeep on the wells and maintain the roads. 

In reality: in the past 2 years, board members have freely spent the money on whatever notion they had in mind at the moment WITHOUT bringing these items before the community for a vote, and have depleted much of what was set aside for the wells. 

Now, with an expensive evaluation by an engineering firm, we learn of multiple violations in our system and the fact that any replacement will require bringing the whole thing up to code --- a very expensive process. Or we can do nothing and chance the state coming in and shutting the wells down. Leaving us without water.

Yet, the board president and vice-president did nothing at this meeting except whine about themselves . . . Bill, who has served in a minor position on the board, was trying to lead an open discussion with all the residents about the problems and searching for answers together, drawing on ALL residents' thoughts and suggestions. While being interrupted by the president's pity party.

A frustrating day to say the least!

28 October 2017

Jeremiah's new baggage

My wee mohair bear, Jeremiah, now has his own art tool kit . . . complete with a hand-sewn leather-covered journal with decorative end papers. All kept together in his own suitcase -- designed and crafted by artist Andrea Joseph and sold in her Etsy shop. The perfect little journal was made by Holly Serjeant of Scrivener's Books, Buxton, Derbyshire, UK.

Andrea's attention to detail is amazing! She even includes 2 mini ink cartridges with instructions on filling the tiny cork-stoppered glass bottle. The "pen" is a sharpened stick. The case is lined with "scraps" of some of her ink sketches. I no longer see these in her shop -- they possibly were a limited production. With the packing, she included encouragement to fill the sketchbook with drawings and post them online. So far, I'm still thinking about it . . .

24 October 2017

finally! I found another one . . .

The upper vintage Prang watercolor box is one I've had for years. I love it's being metal yet so much lighter in weight than modern metal watercolor boxes. And a full-sized brush fits inside, depending on how many pans of paint I put inside.

A couple of years ago, I foolishly took my Prang box to the beach --- we were camping right at the gulf shore on Mustang Island. Lots of wind and sand! My poor box was sand-blasted inside and out as I sketched and painted! 

The paints were able to be cleaned up without too much loss but the inside finish of the box was ruined. I tried sanding it down and spraying with an enamel paint, but the surface still fought my mixing paints on it.

Now and then, I would check on eBay but these boxes have caught on in popularity; average prices were $25 and higher for boxes in poor shape with rusty areas. I was willing to settle for a box from the 1950's though I do love this Art Deco version with it's wee Old Faithful geyser, as long as the inside was in good shape,

And finally I found this one for only $10! I didn't know the Prang company had a primaries version. I removed the tray and set my own pans in place -- this time, using pans with a magnet on the bottom to hold them in place easily. 

And here it is, filled with an earthy granulating palette for autumn. (Granulation without all that sandy grit furnished by the Gulf of Mexico!)

23 October 2017

a bit of church sketching

Just some random sketches and thoughts  . . .
Both days, I was using a Noodler's Creaper fountain pen. One is filled with a custom "sepia" mixed from leftover Noodler's Polar Black and Polar Brown inks. The other is a custom dark gray mixed from Noodler's Lexington Gray and a bit of leftover Polar Black.

21 October 2017

the sale that wasn't

Last Saturday there was an Octoberfest event in Burton, Texas. Diane, owner of Heritage Sunday House bed & breakfast and the antique store next door, asked to include prints and notecards of my sketches in her special sale. The chamber of commerce hosted the event . . . and even they didn't show up! A few people came out for the walk-run and a few dachshunds and their owners for a weenie-dog race. But not one person came our way, even with food set out for them.

I just had to laugh about the whole thing, though I am sorry for all the hard work that Diane put into it -- incredibly frustrating for her! My sketches are now displayed for sale in her shop. Diane's encouragement has nudged me to learn about the process of having prints and notecards made, and now I may go forward in opening an Etsy shop. 

Prints I had made are not always true in color to the originals and some shadows disappeared. (Many of these are a bit out of focus, as they were very quick snapshots.)





These are the first series of notecards I did. I'm thinking several of the above prints would also make nice notecards. Once I figure out how to sell them online . . .

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...