29 August 2016

Sunday's sketches


For some reason, I did a bit more sketching yesterday than usual. The above drawing is from a shrub I found in Georgetown, TX where our second eldest son works. I have no idea what it is, but the bright green branches were covered with these strange pods. I didn't have time to draw it on the spot so I took a photo to draw from later.

During the morning's service, I drew a friend's briefcase as I listened.









Then, because it was the last Sunday of the month, we got together in the evening for "snack & yack" and a movie. Ms. B.J. again created some clever snacks for the kids: palm trees made of kiwi fruit, a half-banana, and orange slices, arranged on small plates.

26 August 2016

more random wonkiness

Drawing at church again . . . Even when I choose a subject that will  not move on me, I can't seem to escape it being wonky and out of perspective!

These leather Skecher sandals are about worn out but still so comfortable that I put them on first, without a thought.

21 August 2016

rock play


I felt like painting some rocks . . . and just happened to have a photo taken by our son-in-law Michael during their last trip to California. I miss the Pacific Ocean! We lived in San Diego when we first got married and had some lovely times there.

My home internet "died" last week, so I am down to only my iPhone for posting this. Over the phone, the company determined that the connection is misaligned and a tech guy will be out tomorrow to fix it. The independent seller who hooked up both our satellite TV and the internet possible did it wrong two years ago --- it has never worked as promised from the start. We can't stream shows (twice as much buffering as program, every couple of minutes) and it went out every time it rained. Very slow also. The company was apologetic and worked it out --- they are even upgrading my service (and speed) to a much higher level at no added cost.

Good thing, as my options out here in the country among all these lovely trees is very limited.  I'm thankful that my phone has unlimited internet. Today, so much of normal daily life is done online.

17 August 2016

a milestone for Jeff

Last Saturday our  youngest son, Jeff, graduated from Stephen F. Austin University. It's been a long struggle and we are very proud of him!

He spent 6 years in the Navy to pay for college, yet every semester the GI bill's college funds were decreased a bit more. Jeff had to fight for every bit of the money he earned by giving 6 years in service to his country, and ended up having to take out loans as well.

Jeff's major is in science / geology and his minor is in computer. At the time he went into geology, there were lots of jobs available in the field, both in the oil industry and mining. But with the recent drop in oil prices, jobs are no longer out there. So he is hoping to find employment in the area and go for his master's degree. Nacogdoches is a small town, so he might have to look to towns further away.


I planned on drawing Jeff's special stole and cord from a photo during the drive home but the country roads were way too rough --- especially with all the road construction through Davy Crockett Forest! This two-lane highway had sections where all pavement was removed and we drove on crushed gravel! So I drew this after coming home. As the above photo shows, I had by then already jotted down some verses from church on Sunday, though I have not yet drawn anything on that page.

The local Veteran's Administration group in Nacogdoches paid for Jeff's stole and cord, a special design worn only by veterans. Jeff was the only veteran in this large graduation ceremony. He had a bit of trouble crossing the stage; every person up there wanted to shake his hand!

16 August 2016

Lamy fountain pens


After playing with my other fountain pens, I always end up coming back to my Lamys. I love how they fit my hand, how the Lego-like plastic barrels do not slide in my hand (unlike similar pens with metal barrels), and how user-friendly they are!

Other pens I love actually using are the Noodler's Creaper and Noodler's Konrad (my Konrad is shown in the photo laying next to the white gel pen), but I hate the ink-filling gizmo in the Noodler pens. The Lamy converter works easily and holds more ink. Sometimes I use an empty Lamy cartridge, refilling it with a syringe, for even more volume. 

But what I really like about Lamys? I can leave them filled and unused for weeks and they still work when I pick them up again! My other pens need a bit more coddling and I don't always wish to take the time.


A downside to the over-use of my Lamys is that I actually wear the XF nibs down eventually. They then work fine as a F or even a M nib; I just prefer the finer line, so I sometimes need to replace the nib with a new one. The black-coated steel nibs seem to glide over paper better than the shiny ones.

I've also mixed up some of my inks to make new colors. Some advise against this but it's never caused me any problems. I've generally done this using only Noodler's and De Atramentis inks. I made this chart to remind me which pens are loaded with what ink --- the color differences don't show true in this photo, having been taken in low light.

12 August 2016

yackety froggies


My friend B.J. has an incredibly creative imagination --- if she can see it, she can make it! Our church gets together one evening each month for "snack and yak" plus a movie. At a recent gathering, B.J. made these fruit froggies out of green apples and green grapes. She also made dolphins from bananas and a funny snail. The kids loved them!

I saw the Winston Churchill quote on a wall of Scott & White hospital in College Station. We were there getting info on medical insurance changes now that Bill is going on Medicare. Blue Cross Blue Shield dropped this area as a preferred network because the hospital offers their own insurance which is more prominent here, so we switched to them.

11 August 2016

a continuous line


Sometimes a black line is all that is needed . . . . So after drawing the things on the diner's table yesterday while breakfasting with friends, why did I feel the need to add a bit of white gouache? Perhaps I just like the effect of black and white on colored paper.

10 August 2016

becoming a bag lady


I have always preferred small purses or bags. Maybe because I have narrow shoulders that bag straps slip off of easily; maybe because I've always been fascinated with small things.

Whatever handcraft I have taken up, I eventually tried it smaller. Simple cross stitch was worked over a single thread instead of a square-gridded Aida cloth. Working with beads evolved into threading tiny seed beads onto thread and knitting it into necklaces and wee bags, some tiny enough to become delicate necklaces. I have hand-bound a sketchbook measuring a mere 2".

So why do I find myself suddenly carrying such a big bag? My new sunglasses, while offering maximum protection to my eyes, are designed in such a way that they need a large-sized case. Which is too large to fit in my small bags.

Still not sure I want to carry such a big bag, but at least it's what works in this 100-degree summer brightness. And a sketchbook of any size easily fits.

08 August 2016

clock tower at Sam Houston State


Our oldest granddaughter Mikala attended bassoon camp again this year at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. On the final day of camp the kids held a recital --- all bassoons and oboes! They did a great job.

Arriving early, we walked around the campus a bit, where I found this clock tower. I didn't notice until adding watercolor how wonky my drawing is! The top is tipping back like it's looking up.

06 August 2016

a random stone gnome


A sketchbook spread of random notes, my new sunglasses, and a wee stone gnome that lives under an old oak tree at the Antique Rose Emporium in Independence, Texas.
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