18 August 2017

a beginning

Well, I've made a beginning in sketches to sell . . . 
I have no idea why I started with flowers. I don't even like drawing flowers except for capturing the many wildflowers around us. I think I could happily sketch Texas wildflowers forever! 

But at least it's a start. I also have several sketches done of various subjects, some still in loose pencil, some already inked in, ready for watercolor. And I found these simple mats on Amazon that come with a backing board and plastic sleeve. Simple to slip prints in and seal, ready to sell in Diane's antique shop. I'm actually working on these for a special sale she is having in October. Still need to find somewhere to have prints made off these originals, but I want to have more art finished before taking them in.


Four years ago, just before Bill's heart attack, bypass surgery, retirement, and our moving to Texas (what can I say? It was a very momentous year!), I took cuttings of a large, very overgrown African violet plant. It had never ceased to bloom for months at a time every winter.

Two of the young starts made the move south with us. And thrived, though without blooming. Until now -- in the very hottest of summer, this one is finally flowering with many more blooms on the way. Patience in all things . . . Eventually things work out for the good.

10 August 2017

new kitchen faucet

Along with remodeling our tiny bathroom to make it more functional (and more rustic to match it being in a log cabin), Bill is re-water-piping the whole cabin. Whoever built it, as well as the jokers who later added central air, didn't really know what they were doing.

As long as he was re-water-piping, we decided to go ahead and replace the kitchen faucet --- we have disliked the old one from Ikea since the day we moved in. It had a high goose-neck and hung close to the back of the sink (more like a bar sink model), causing me backaches as I washed the dishes from leaning too far forward. This new faucet spans closer to the center of each sink compartment; no more backache! Having a pullout sprayer is handy as well since there's no hole for a separate sprayer in the existing farm sink.

Someday we would like to redo the air conditioning ductwork to be more efficient, and possibly give us space for a tiny half-bath in the loft. Right now, the downstairs area stays cool while the loft (my studio) is unbearably hot in the summer. Of course, a new metal roof would also help, reflecting the sun's heat away from the rafters . . . .

09 August 2017

a display that drew my eye

While taking photos at the Heritage Hall antique shop, for possible vignettes to sketch and sell at an October sale the shop is hosting, I came upon this lovely display . . .

08 August 2017

towel hooks & shelf

Bill liked the towel hooks and toilet paper holder he made of pipe fittings so much, he made a shelf to match. That tiny chamber pot on the shelf belonged to his grandmother; we use it to hold fresh bars of soap. The covered pot next to it is a pinch pot made by our daughter in elementary school.

I was trying to decide whether to use a water-soluble Tombow marker on another project, so I drew this to test it. It bled a bit too much for the effect I'm after . . . Glad I did a test first!

29 July 2017

random bits

We are slowly getting our bathroom remodeled; when we bought the cabin 3 1/2 years ago, the very tiny space had a stacked washer / dryer, a ridiculous fake slipper tub, and a humongous vanity the size of a full dresser --- Bill had to step sideways to maneuver the space and I had plenty of hip bruises from running into the corner of that beast! Not to mention the big, ugly "head-knocker" cupboard above the toilet.

We found a source for old barn wood, which Bill built into a new streamlined vanity and recessed medicine cabinet. Leaving space for new towel hooks (there was never enough room to hang towels before). He is making the towel hooks out of pipe fittings; later, we decided he should make a toilet paper holder to match. We are still waiting on the new tub we ordered; the custom tub-shower will have tiles that look like barn wood. The hardware looks like deer antler bits, in keeping with the rustic feel of the log cabin.

new vanity and side cupboard, with a cubby hole for washcloths.

new recessed wall chest

Meanwhile, I also sketched my birthday gift from Bill: a couple of maxi skirts from Kosher Casual, my favorite place for comfortable, well-made clothes. It's a shop in Israel whose original clientele was Orthodox Jews but they found that Arab and Gentile women loved them as well. I laughed upon opening the box and finding that they had sent me a thank you note . . . with a piece of Bazooka Joe gum attached, complete with a comic in Hebrew and Arabic! I don't like gum but had to save the wrapper in my journal.

28 July 2017

testing C-M-Y color palettes

I'm working on small sketches to be printed into note cards or small prints to sell at a local event in October. There will be a small selection of note cards and prints, printed off the original sketches. Since printers use cyan - magenta - yellow primary colors, I thought I would try making a working palette of the same.

Years ago, I purchased some extra paints from Daniel Smith, from a collection they called a "color map" mixing set that is based on the cyan - magenta - yellow triad. I added buff titanium and a mixed gray to round it out. This mixed gray is made up of quinacridone burnt orange and ultramarine blue, squeezed into and stirred in a pan with a toothpick, then allowed to dry.

The other set is based loosely on Russell Stutler's palette, which contains C-M-Y colors as well as the R-G-B colors used in light production. Some of his choices are discontinued; I used the same pigments in my existing supplies.

I'm thinking the first set is a bit more vibrant; what do you think?

Bardie watched most of the process, then tried to straighten up the paper as I took this photo. Or was he trying to eat the paper? That's him in the lower right corner.

"Who, me?"

25 July 2017

Heritage Sunday House

We recently stayed at the Heritage Sunday House, a charming bed & breakfast in Burton, Texas. While getting to know innkeeper Diane, she told me she had been wanting a drawing of the place for a new brochure. So I drew a couple of versions for her to play around with. Actually, I drew three but the first one had too much detail for its size and was drawn with too large of a nib. Which was strange, as I used my Platinum carbon desk pen --- which I had thought was the finest fountain pen nib I owned. Apparently the nib loosened up with much use.

I have given the upper two drawings to Diane, to see what she and the printer can come up with. Meanwhile, I need to get busy on some artwork to make prints off of --- Diane wants to sell them through her shop next door to the B & B.

24 July 2017

eating out with friends

After a very good dinner with friends at a Chinese restaurant in College Station, Bill and Gary bought some Mochi, a Japanese dessert I had never heard of. So I drew the green tea version (Bill had the strawberry one), adding watercolor later at home. I used a Kuretake brush pen filled with de Atramentis document brown ink for the lines.

22 July 2017

a proud lion (?)

This sculpture we drive by in College Station, on the campus of Texas A & M, reminds me of a lion. From some angles, it looks like a simple pile of cut stones. But the two views I drew are more lion-like.

This handbound sketchbook was made by my dear friend Kate (aka Cathy Johnson) and has several types of paper in it. This toned paper is probably Stonehenge. I used a Pentel pocketbrush pen and gouache in the upper sketch, and a purplish brown water-soluble ink I mixed myself in the lower sketches, teasing out a bit of wash with a waterbrush.

The pretty bookmark to the right was also made by Kate: she repurposed a larger sketch by cutting it into bookmarks. I love how the colors repeat in the paper and cover of this journal!
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