That's what it felt like for both Bill and me . . . After bad colds, Bill's surgery, and his recovering at home, it felt like forever since we had been with our church family. Yesterday we finally made it back to church. So did Karla and Ellen -- they both had various types of surgery with entry through the neck. Along with Bill, the three of them make up the "Cut Throat Gang"!
17 January 2017
. . . at least with the hospital part. Bill's surgery yesterday went very well, he stayed overnight in the hospital, and was released today. Yesterday I thought I could finally draw Bill without him moving, as he was resting with his head in a neck brace. Wrong! He still managed to move. He'll need to wear the brass for 30 days to keep everything stabalized.
Some nerves in his neck that lead down his right arm will need to be "retrained" to do their job, but that's simply doing a few daily exercises. At the moment it's a bit comical to watch him try to eat or drink using his right hand: who knows where it might end up?
14 January 2017
My dear friend, Cathy "Kate" Johnson, recently reposted a watercolor study on Facebook that she did a few years ago of her wee bear, Traveler. Then did a new sketch of him. So I decided to do some new studies of my own wee bear, Jeremiah. One of the few teddy bears in what's left of my collection that I did not sew myself, I found Jeremiah at a teddy bear artists show during the 1980s. The Lord had been speaking to me through some verses from the book of Jeremiah --- when I saw from this bear's hang tag that his name was Jeremiah, I bought him on the spot.
Seemed like a good subject to sketch while lazing around, getting over this stupid headcold. Besides, it goes with the cover of this small child's paint set from England. I previously removed the cakes of paint it came with, replacing them with tube paints of my own choice.
12 January 2017
In fact, I'm married to the most generous guy I've ever known. And he has in fact shared his head cold / sinus infection with me. (Or perhaps we were both exposed at the same time and it took longer to nab me?)
He is doing well on prescription antibiotics and steroids, and his disc surgery has been rescheduled for next Monday. Meanwhile, I fight the darn bug with over-the-counter aspirin, decongestants, Mucinex, and echinacea wellness tea with zinc. But when did Celestial Seasonings decide that wellness tea had to taste like their Sleepytime tea? I absolutely DETEST chamomile!
09 January 2017
Bill was actually eagerly looking forward to today, the day disc surgery would finally free him from the ever-increasing pain in his right shoulder and arm. He's suffered with this pain for 3 years now, at first just a bit now and then, then steadily worsening until now it keeps him from sleep every night. Two discs are bulging against spinal column and nerves; they plan to remove them, replacing them with bone grafts, then adding a metal plate and screws to stabilize everything as it fuses together.
I quickly drew another "waiter" in the waiting room, having to finish later in the prep room from memory. There's really not much waiting time at Scott & White. Then to avoid seeing them struggle to establish Bill's IV, I drew the pump thingy on the wall and wrote some text.
Bill was all hooked up, poked at, stuck into, and ready to go . . . . until he started running a low-grade fever. The surgeon was notified, and he sent back word that operating with even a low fever could risk complications so the surgery was cancelled. Apparently Bill has a sinus infection.
So he unplugged and dressed, we were sent to the walk-in clinic for antibiotics and steroids, and he was sent home. Really depressing for him, but I'm thankful his surgeon is a cautious man. After the round of antibiotics, surgery will be rescheduled.
07 January 2017
Bill and I are staying with our oldest grandchild, Mikala, while her parents are in New Orleans this weekend. At least I am; this morning Bill had to return home for a homeowners meeting (he's one of the few on the board with solid common sense) -- then back to Houston.
This is Bearcat when he saw that once again an overnight bag appeared. Last weekend we were in Pflugerville where Bill helped Matt put in cabinets and desks at Misty's daycare. Bear thinks we are gone from home too much (and my hermit nature agrees!)
It's been a hectic week all 'round: Bear has been on a hunger strike, refusing to touch the prescription food the vet ordered. The vet and we finally gave in, choosing to feed him and let his probable kidney failure take its course rather than let him starve himself to death. That meant a trip to College Station, to the nearest pet store. They will give us credit for partial bags of any food he refuses to eat. So far, he likes the Wellness brand.
It was also time for my car's yearly inspection and tags . . . followed up by an unexpected replacement of the brakes! The PT Cruiser is going on 11 years old and we had never had to have any brake work before so I guess it was time. Still a great car for all the driving we do across Texas.
Bill had a pre-surgical doctor appointment following lots of tests. On Monday he has surgery on his upper spine --- the arm pain he's had for a couple of years has worsened and keeps him from sleep. They will be replacing two discs in his neck with bone grafts, then "screw" the whole together. I guess that's what they call fusing spinal discs? Lots of jokes about paying to have his throat slit (surgery is done from the front) and his being turned into Frankenstein's monster with bolts in his neck. Keeps me from picturing something truly scary.
I sketched the above tomatoes from a photo on my IPad. We picked green tomatoes just before a freeze to make fried green tomatoes; then we've been so busy that they turned green on the counter. The black page is where I messed up on some written notes and covered it up with acrylic paint. Tonight I did a quick sketch of some of the pets' toys with a white gel pen. I wish I hadn't tried to add the shadows . . .
04 January 2017
A couple of weeks ago I jotted down Bible verses from our pastor's sermon . . . then took awhile deciding just what image should illustrate this 2-page spread in my journal. Today I decided to keep it simple, with a brass Hanukkah menorah. Those nations who stand with God's ancient people will prosper, because it is He who has returned them to the promised land.
For the subtle candle color, I tried Liz Steel's new soft gray mix. She stirs up cerulean blue chromium, monte amiata natural sienna, and a touch of quin. rose from tubes directly in a watercolor pan using a toothpick. The result: a lovely soft gray for shading whites! I was out of cerulean chromium so I used regular cerulean and the results are pretty close to hers.
02 January 2017
Inventorying my current inks . . . "Thinking aloud" in my journal which inks I want to continue using and which to discontinue when they are gone. I've already decided to give up Noodler's red-black but still have quite a lot left in the bottle --- too bad I don't have local sketching buddies to pass it on to!
Still debating on whether to keep De Atramentis document dark blue. I'm thinking I could mix it with a document red to get a water-resistant dark purple.
Over several days, I sketched our living room, before taking the tree down, using all the water-soluble inks. Then teased out the color with a waterbrush. Unfortunately Bearcat sitting on a footstool sort of washed out.
30 December 2016
29 December 2016
I've been spending my free time laying out, cutting, and basting together a vintage-style teddy bear -- not much sketching going on. But today I gave my hand muscles a break long enough to do a quick sketch. This pile of bits will be a small bear styled like early Steiff bears.
In the teddy bear craze of the 1980s, before companies like Boyd's Bears flooded the market with their mass-produced products, I was a teddy bear artist, designing jointed antique-style bears sewn of German mohair with authentic antique shoe button eyes; I sold them under the name of "Victoria's Waifs". Now as each of our grandchildren turn 7 years old, I use my leftover mohair to make them a bear of their own.