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 . . .

15 October 2017

the colors of autumn

Our oak trees do not wear the glorious yellows, golds, oranges, reds, and purples of the maples and other trees back in Kansas. Those leaves that turn in the autumn simply turn brown; some oak trees around here are actually evergreen (who knew?) and stay a rich green year-round.

If I can't enjoy the colors of autumn outside, I can at least change my watercolor palettes to reflect the season --- Here are my cleaned-up and refilled palettes, full of earthy, granulating pigments. And, typical of me, I made changes after sketching these pages! The earth-red is Jane Blunder's favorite, Indian red: a gorgeous shade but very opaque. I wondered if Daniel Smith's Primatek "garnet genuine" might be a good granulating red while still being more transparent. It arrived yesterday, so I switched out the Indian reds for garnet.

Then, since burnt sienna and transparent red oxide are so close in color, I took the sienna out of my pocket palette and added a cobalt blue. I have been greatly influenced by Jane Blunder's blog and her amazing studies of pigments and what they will do.

Another change: Apple has finally updated their products to where I can no longer post photos to my blog using other devices. The problem is that Blogger refuses to upgrade their apps to the newer Apple systems. I can still post using my ancient iPad 3, but it's camera is not as good as that on my phone. So here I am, posting on my computer instead . . . and realizing how rusty my typing skills have become since relying on iPad, iPod, and iPhone!

14 October 2017

sharing a Zydeco Dancer

Following Bill's spinal tap - CT scan at College Station's Scott & White hospital, we went on a search for a Cajun lunch. There was a Cajun restaurant in Wichita, KS that had really awesome food -- I especially loved their tomato bisque! 

The food we ate at this "Razzoo's" on University Avenue was just average, and they had no bisque. But we shared this very yummy cheesecake dessert that was totally worth the stop here. The strawberries tasted absolutely perfect!

08 October 2017

trouble maker

Last night, I sketched a real trouble-maker. It's been a full year since Bill sought medical help for a reoccurring pain in his right arm. Two surgeries, two rounds of physical therapy, two tries with pain management's steroid injections (the second one actually made it much worse) . . . 

Now we are seeking yet another neurosurgeon's opinion, this time in Temple, TX. New tests on Wednesday, including one where they shocked his nerves, then repeatedly poked him with a needle. And tomorrow he gets a spinal tap injecting dye before another CT scan.

Our trust is in God's healing, as no one else seems to be able to "fix" this.

Temperatures on Wednesday were in the 90s. The technician doing an X-ray on Bill asked if the t-shirt under his shirt was short-sleeve. Bill answered, "No, it's thermal!" Which caused the funniest look on the tech's face! But cold causes an excruciating burning pain in his arm . . . and everywhere is air-conditioned colder than needed.

01 October 2017

a bit of pattern

Hurricane Harvey left our bedroom carpet ruined when freak side-ways blowing rain blew into a couple of vertical gaps between logs --- gaps ironically caused by a very hot, dry summer. In the storm's aftermath, the logs swelled to their customary tightness.

Bill hated that Berber carpet; we decided that stone floors would be more in keeping with a log cabin. We have also been remodeling the bathroom, so we decided to extend the stone in that room as well. The tile guy and his crew came on Monday and we had to sleep elsewhere, the only toilet having been pulled in ready for the new floor. It took three days to bring in the stone, lay it out, grout, and seal it.

Meanwhile, our friends graciously allowed us to stay in their vacant double-wide trailer home. Bardie Mac loved exploring the new space! One morning, I sketched this bit of detail from the footboard of the bed. The library slip was already taped in place on this two-page spread --- I found several of these slips in some used books I read over the summer so I saved them for notes in my journal.

Our new floor is actual pieces of rock, cut into rectangular tiles. The edge texturing reminds me of the seams in a patchwork quilt. Bardie, having a very dense fur coat, loves lying with his belly against the cool tiles.

While picking up last minute remodeling supplies, we decided to replace the light bulbs in our bedroom ceiling fan fixture. The old ones took their own sweet time to warm up to a bright light. We found an LED bulb made by Philips called "Scene Switch". It is one bulb with three color settings: soft white, daylight, and a "warm glow"; the daylight setting works perfectly for taking true-to-life photos to post!

One more bit of pattern . . . A work still in progress, our new shower walls are tiles but they look like old barn wood!
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