Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy Hogamanay, New Years Eve, and Blue Moon Night

Riding Near OSR on Christmas Day
My Decorated Cane

My Decorated Cane
ink and watercolors
I sketched my cane while waiting for the doctor who told me that I had Pink Eye.
Instead of a lump of coal, Santa brought me a contagious disease!

The wind was really strong on Christmas Eve, after a light snowfall in the morning. We've never had snow for Christmas in my entire lifetime.
I reached for the car door, as Christopher was getting out, in the HEB parking lot. The wind caught the door at the same time. I put my foot back to catch myself, but the curb was behind my foot, so down I went, on my backside. Immediately, I thought that my new knee would be ruined. Then I thought that I was so cold! Maybe I would need an ambulance! But, I was okay, although a bit embarrassed about being out in front of all those people, in shorts, with my feet up in the air! I don't think anyone noticed, but my family helped me up.
I don't think that I have ever been so cold in a store, while trying to shop. It was as bad as being outside, with the wind racing through and blowing all the signs, and the freezer areas being unbearably cold. I huddled in my cape and scarf and tried to hurry through the store. I felt so sorry for the workers, especially those at the cash registers at the front of the store, who were exposed to the cold air and wind. Someone should have realized that it does get cold in Texas in the winter, when a cold front comes through, when they designed that new store!
Just a few new pictures for you to enjoy as we end 2009. Where did the time go!
I'm ending the year with creeping around, with very sore legs. I had a tall, male physical therapist yesterday, who was really hard on me. Well, I guess he could have been worse. Among the things he did to me was to sit on my foot and press my leg back and hold it. When I was grabbing at the table edges with pain, he said that was a good sign, and had to hold it for 15 seconds! He set the Total Trainer to Level 10, which was really tall, I thought. And he put ice and a weight on my leg. But the thing that I think got my legs to be so achy today was to have me go up and down 4 flights of stairs. I only have 6 little steps at home, so I was really huffing and puffing. And my thighs especially don't want me to move today!
I don't have my comfortable chair back at the computer desk yet as the boys are using it to watch movies and do their games, so the little chair I am using at my work table is not very comfortable-especially with my knee that can't take sitting still too long, unless it is elevated.
The computer has been really slow and difficult lately, so I usually give up after I go through a little bit of e-mail. I don't know if it is because it was off for so long, or it if is just old. Maybe it needs someone to work on it.
Hopefully, once I get going more, I can do more with my art, writing, genealogy, and my blog.
I hope that your New Year's Eve, Hogamany, and Blue Moon celebrations are safe and happy, with many great memories. With wishes for a great 2010 for everyone!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Pearl Harbor Day 09

Pearl Harbor Day
8.5" x 11"
I haven't posted for a while as I prepared to have surgery, and have been recovering. Then my computer was acting up, after weeks of not being used. But I had to add something about Pearl Harbor Day.
For a change this year, there have been quite a few programs on Pearl Harbor Day on TCM and the History Channel on tv. I was glad to see that. Some things on tv seemed to be lessons from the past that we need to remember today. So many of the same things seem to be happening. Scarey times indeed. Sometimes it looks like people haven't learned anything from the past.
The sketch above is a pencil drawing of one of my memories. I did this one on Pearl Harbor Day a couple of years ago. I seem to remember that on a December morning, people in Calvert, as in other places, were off to Sunday School and Church, as usual. But services were cut short and people were sent home to be with their families.
I was a child and wasn't aware of a lot that was going on. But I do remember that we went home from church early on Sunday, as did other families. It was very quiet and grown ups looked worried and grim. I was dressed in my play clothes and sent out to my sandbox under the big oak tree in the front yard, to play. Inside my great-grandfather's two story Victorian house where we lived, people listened to the radio and worried about what was to come. Young men were resolved to join the fight and left to "join up".
The two story house is in my picture, as is the sandbox and the big oak tree. The yard was much larger in real life. You can see young men-friends-walking toward the railroad track and downtown, ready to protect their country. People inside the house are listening closely to the radio and getting ready for a long Sunday afternoon. They went through the motions of traditional Sunday dinner, but that, too, was cut short. There were plenty of left-overs for the rest of the week. People didn't have much of an appetite that day.
I remember, later, in school, seeing pictures in our "Weekly Reader" about Pearl Harbor. Most of it was really terrible, but, I still feel sick for those people who were trapped and were heard tapping on the damaged ships hulls, while others struggled to rescue them. Students in Mrs. Pietsch's Social Studies class asked serious questions about the event, while others just looked at the little newspaper in stunned silence. And, of course, there were the newsreels at the Eloia, and magazines like "Life", later, with lots of pictures.
How can such horrible things happen to people.
We certainly owe a lot to those who experienced Pearl Harbor, and many other events in history. Thank you.
Never forget.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Painting Weekend in Calvert

It was a "picture perfect" weekend in Calvert, just as Bob French, the weatherman on KBTX tv, predicted. An Art Fest was scheduled along Main Street on Saturday. V....Vaughan, Round Rock artist, planned to do a half day plein aire painting workshop in the morning. In the afternoon, she would be painting the Victorian Tea on the grounds of the Gibson-Hensarling home. During the Victorian Gala that evening, in The Foundry building on Main street, Austin artist, Robin Cheers, would paint that event. Both paintings were to be auctioned off during the Gala, to benefit the Historical Society.
The artists , plus another artist, Nancy Holder, arrived to stay with us at Thelma's house in Calvert. Barbara planned to be "the innkeeper", and had a meal of soup and baked bread rolls
ready for our supper. V.... brought a homemade cherry pie to share with us, complete with a flag design in the top crust.
My daughter and grandson arrived while we were eating. Ashton showed them the thing we had seen on tv about brooms balancing because of the alignment of the planets. Sure enough, it worked and they were all fascinated. We left that broom standing all weekend, and it was still balanced when we left on Sunday. My photo was blurry, as were many of my pictures. But, you can see Robin and the broom, above. Nancy was sure we had attached strings or some other trick. But, it really worked! We tried it with an egg and that stood on end, too.
On her way back home, Barbara said she stopped to eat at Franks in Schulenburg. She told them about the phenomena, and they tried it. She said they had brooms standing all over the restaurant!
After supper Friday evening, we were treated to hot chocolate at the Cocoamodo. (Thanks Virginia and Robin!) The owner turned out to be a lively, entertaining man, with a great accent, who joined us for a cup of hot chocolate. He told us a lot about chocolate and his adventures. And we got to sample some of the delicious chocolates that he sells in his shop, each lovingly made in the chocolate factory on Main Street. I picked "milk and honey" and it was really good!
I was intrigued by some old Calvert photos on the wall of the restaurant. I was amazed to learn that those photos had belonged to Miriam Oscar, who died a few years ago. She left photos to the city and these were some of those pictures. I didn't recognize anyone, though.
We planned to be out watching V.... paint the sunrise on Sunnyside Road, very early Saturday morning. Barbara had a variety of kolaches for us, from Zamykal Gourmet Kolaches on Main Street to enjoy in the early morning.
It turned out to be a really crisp, clear morning on Sunnyside Road. V.... painted a small painting of the scene that was part of my great-grandfather's land, years ago. We delighted in the sounds and feel of the countryside, punctuated with sounds and antics of some birds and cattle.
By 8 a.m., we went back to town and settled in to Mud Creek Pottery where potter, Sonny Moss, had doughnuts and coffee waiting.
We set up equipment and Robin agreed to pose for us. I elected to use my little travel set of watercolors, since we were going to work small. Less to have to get out and put away, I thought.
Others used oils and Robin did some sketching.
One of the resident cats, Sherbet, had a good time, chasing the reflections of Robin's ring and a laser light.
In our painting, we looked for darks, first, rather than line and details. I got in my lights and darks, which led to some form. And, later that night, I added ink lines to more define my figure.
We enjoyed huge baked potatoes for lunch at the sandwich shop on Main Street. They also have an ice cream shop, which looked really good.
Before our food arrived, we sketched and had some lively discussion about art. It turned out that V....was painting me! She said she was studying light and shadow and skin tones, a warm up for the painting she was going to do in the afternoon.
While V.... painted at the Tea, Barbara, Nancy, and I set up our equipment on Main street, on the sidewalk in front of where the drugstore used to be, and painted. Nancy chose to paint the little garden area behind us, while Barbara painted the street and what used to be Ford's Grocery. I decided to use my watercolors again in a small sketchbook, to paint the corner of Cocoamodo and an old movie theatre. (Not the Eloia, but the one where there used to be only a box office and a lot of gingerbread trim. Only the front was left of the building, as far back as I can remember.) My picture became very colorful, and I finished it with ink that night.
Supper was at the Wooden Spoon where I thought I must be going off my diet. I pampered my self with some chicken fried steak, but, I guess my diet is working and I just ate a little.
Barbara and I watched tv and sketched at home while we waited on V.... and Robin.
I would have liked to have seen both the artists paint, but Barbara didn't want to dress up, and I couldn't find decent shoes that fit me and would go with a dress. Later, we felt that we should have gone!
But, thankfully, both V.... and Robin have posted pictures of their paintings on their blogs.
Sunday was another beautiful day. We had kolaches at Zamykal Gourmet Kolaches, then went for a ride west of town, looking for possible painting locations. I took some photos and Barbara would ask why I was taking certain photos. I told her that something used to be there. I thought that, I could do one of my memory works, and use the photo for inspiration or to show me what the land and trees were like, although buildings might be changed now.
That wound up our painting weekend, as everyone went on their separate ways home.
Both V... and Robin did some spectacular paintings for the auction. You can see their work on their blogs. Just google V....Vaughan and Robin Cheers.
I hope that they enjoyed the weekend as much as we enjoyed having them in Calvert. They are very nice, fun, and talented ladies.
For those who missed the workshop, I don't know when they might come back, for sure. But we are thinking about doing this again. Hopefully, more people will be able to come next time. So, if you are interested, be sure and let the artists know, and let me know, too. Leave a spot on your calendar! I'll let everyone know as soon as something is set.
Thanks for coming, Robin and V...., and Nancy too! And thanks for being "the innkeeper", Barbara! And thanks to Robin and V.... for that great, sweet treat!
Friday was also homecoming at CHS. (Calvert High School). We drove by the football game and saw that the Trojans were beating West Columbia Charter school by over 50 points. Barbara said that she got to see the Homecoming Parade in downtown Calvert, early in the afternoon, before she picked me up.
Congratulations to the Trojans for their homecoming victory!
Get well wishes go out to Barbara, as she has surgery and recovers. Hope you get over this quickly, with no pain!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

7th World Wide Paint Out Sept. 11, 12, 13, 2009

Plein Aire Painting In Calvert
Top: Barbara Painting on Main Street
Bottom: Barbara Going To Paint In The Bandstand, Virginia Field Park
If you like to paint outdoors, join in the 7th World Wide Paint Out, Sept. 11, 12, & 13. Register and get more information on the website,
To see if anyone has registered in your area, go to . I have registered, and, if anyone would like to join me, that would be great!
You don't have to be a member to do the Paint Out, but you can join if you would like to be a member. The event is free.
If you want to paint with me, contact me and I'll let you know where I plan on painting.
Or, you can do this on your own, in your own area. You can also paint one day or all three days. And they have some cute t-shirts, caps, etc. on their website.
There is an html on their website to add to my blog, etc., but I couldn't get it to show up. I really don't understand those things. I clicked copy and paste, but nothing happened.
You can just go to their website listed above for information and products.
They are also on Facebook, for those of you who use that site.
After the event, people can put pictures of their work on the Facebook site. There is a link to do that on their webpage.
Sorry for not getting this information out sooner, but I haven't worked on my blog or much of anything else for a little while. Haven't been able to see very well!
I had cataract surgery on my good eye, finally, and I'm still recovering. I was like the old joke, "Blind in one eye and can't see out of the other"! More about that in another post. But I did get through it okay, so far!
It's been great finding people who I had not seen for years, on Facebook. And it's great to be able to share so many things. If you want to know something, ask, and someone is bound to know what you need to find out. Or have similar experiences. There are a lot of artists and writers on there, too.
Saturday, Sept. 19 is the date for the 24th World Wide Sketch Crawl. I have registered on their Forum for Bryan/College Station and the Brazos Valley Area. Let me know if you want to go sketching with me, or if you would like to go on your own. Or if you have questions. Click on the Sketch Crawl logo in my sidebar to go to the website.
Or you can go to for more information.
These things like Paint Outs and Sketch Crawls, make a really nice day.
I welcome some suggestions for how we can get these things going here, or where we might go to paint and draw.
Remember, this is Free, open to all ages, all media, groups, individuals, and all skill levels. You can paint, draw, sketch, write in your journal, or just doodle. You can work all day or part of the day, at home, or on location, with a group or solo. There are no rules.
I have listed to meet at the LaSalle Hotel in Bryan, and register at the Frame Gallery, 216 N. Bryan Ave. on Saturday morning. While it is nice to get out early in the morning, I'm finding that I need to sleep a little later. (I think it must be my meds, or my condition!) But, I'll try to do what others would like to do.
We can decide where to work, if we have a group.
In Calvert, meet at Mud Creek Pottery, 407 Main Street.
If people prefer to meet at one place, I am open to that too.
Contact me, or Greta Watkins at the Frame Gallery, or Sonny Moss at Mud Creek Pottery.
Let's have some fun and record the Brazos Valley!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Vision-Latest Eye Chart

Latest Eye Chart
5" x 7"
I showed my art work on vision to the doctor and others in his office, while I went for an appointment to check my cataracts last week. This was very interesting and informative, to me, because this doctor explained some of the things that I had experienced. I wish I had had a tape recorder or asked him to write down what he told me, so that I could share it with my readers. The big words that had to do with things that happen between the brain and eyes, just flew over my head. I was a bit nervous, and astonished at what he was saying. And he did go over it kind of fast. I remember that he did say the word "classic", and he would recognize the different things, without my explanation.
They saw my pictures first, and seemed to think there wasn't much point in showing me the whole chart, down to the tiny letters at the bottom. They first showed the big 'E', which was blurry. I told them that it was an E, but I only knew that because the last time they showed it, I first said it was a landscape! Don't know why I was looking for a picture and not a letter. But, then, that is me and my right brain at work. I'm always looking for pictures, even within other pictures!
They moved the setting to the next line and I just told them it was all blurry and I really couldn't make it out. The woman who was giving me the test, left the room , and, while I sat there, I pulled out my pen and sketched what I saw. I was going to sketch some of the equipment in the room, but there wasn't time. They were amazed that I drew the chart, as I saw it.
In fact, the doctor said that he is amazed that I can draw as well as I can, the way that my eyes are.
He is ready to do my eyes toward the end of this month. But, I am thinking that maybe I should wait until I can get Medicare, which will be in another year. (Depending on what happens with all that is being proposed in this country regarding health care, and everything else! We may not be able to get anything by then, especially at my age.)
Plans are to do the good eye, then see about doing the other. I'm just chicken about this, just like I am with anything that involves needles, cutting and such things as stitiches. And I don't want to know anything, but they say you have to be awake. The worst part, for me, is usually getting an IV in!
Someone told me that they give you "the good stuff" and you wouldn't care if they cut your head off.
That's not what the doctor said. He explained that they come in, numb everything, then put you out for about 45 seconds, and then you are awake, but, by then, you can't see anything that is going on. I guess that means that you can hear and know everything. Kind of makes me sick to think about lenses and taking things out, putting other things in, cutting, etc.
He asked if I want better distance or up close. I said both, of course! I need to see distance, but I also need to be able to read, draw, and such. He advised getting better distance, for reading signs and he said that they have better results with ordinary reading glasses for up close.
He said it will only take about 10 minutes, and I would be seeing better by the next day.
I looked up cost online and it seems that this costs around $6,000 or more for each eye. I don't know about this particular place, though. I believe that they expect insurance to take care of most things. Mine won't pay for very much.
I already am going to have huge medical bills, that haven't come in yet. And have more things that need to be done. So, I am wondering about waiting on this.
Goodness knows, we all need better more affordable health care, but what is being proposed, is just wrong. Won't help a bit. I've been in that group that needed help so many times, so I have experience in this.
It hasn't been that long ago, when people complained that an office visit went up from $5 to $10. Now, it's hundreds of dollars for a simple office visit. It was once possible to pay for visits to the doctor, and it was possible to pay for a hospital visit. Now, you have to have insurance, or prepare to pay out enough to buy a home, with a few days in the hospital. I heard a local doctor being interviewed on tv last week. He said it cost $3 for an office visit and $25 for a hospital stay when he first came here. People could pay for a new baby with $125, then. I remember that an office visit was only $2, and, even then, some people could pay their medical bills with a chicken or produce from their garden.
I'm scheduled, but I'm having second thoughts about it all. It's too late for me to be able to drive again, and I'm not sure that I could even get a license, if I had to take another test, with only one eye working properly. But, would it make a big difference if I were to wait a year? Who knows what will happen in a year.
One funny thought is that, if I should get my eyes fixed, I might not see the weird things that I have been seeing. That might be a good thing! Of course, the eye with Macular Degenertation will probably never get better. I wonder if it will get worse, or has all the damage been done that is possible? The doctor said "There is the scarring" when he looked with those bright lights.
I thought that the first doctor said that there was a little AMD in the good eye. I certainly hope not!
The next World Wide Sketch Crawl date has been announced for Saturday September 19, 2009. See for more information.
Hope that we can have a group this time! Anyone else interested?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Shattering Trees

Chopping Trees
8.5" x 11"

Clean Up
8.5" x 11"

There was a terrible noise outside this morning. I thought it was the county tractors, mowing the roadside, but it sounded like it was also hitting something like a big pile of dirt or my mailbox. I went outside to see a tractor with blue fenders and an enclosed driver's space, with something like a big robot arm on it, smashing into the trees. It would move along, then back up, and come back again.
A white truck was following the tractor.
Soon, my daughter came home and told me that there were police cars everywhere, down the street, a sherrif's van, and even a bulldozer, while tree limbs were being cut away from the street.
I went out on the deck to watch, thinking this would be interesting to my grandson, and possibly I would have some sketches to do. But, huge wood chips, large twigs, and lots of leaves, were flying into the driveway and all over the front yard. I decided to watch from the door.
Soon, the van stopped in front of our house, and several men in uniforms started to pick up a few limbs in the street. One man picked up a large branch, with leaves, and was using it like a broom. They left suddenly, leaving lots of big branches in the ditch and the yard.
The van had a trailer behind it, full of branches. I decided that they must have left for lunch and to empty the trailer. Two hours later, they had not returned. Maybe it was too hot to be working outside.
I went out to the street to check the trees. I was horrified to see how the trees had been butchered. Limbs are exposed, shattered, and twisted, as if broken off in a tornado. The big limbs were gone, but large wood chips, smaller twigs, and lots of leaves are still all over the ditch and the front yard.
Isn't this the wrong time of the year to prune trees? And isn't this shredding bad for big oak trees, and smaller trees, too?
I thought that you trimmed trees and bushes in the fall.
I just hope that the trees don't die.
If their goal was to cut the trees back, why didn't they trim the tree that is hanging over the street, at the corner!
My grandson said that the lady next door was outside, watching the men as they worked. Maybe I should have gone out there and glared at them.
Instead, I just got my sketchbook and drew the activity.
Another neighbor is also concerned that they may have butchered the trees that they planted on their fenceline. She is at work, so couldn't go look. I would walk down to look for her, but I can't walk that far.
We did go look at the trees next door, and they too have some butchered limbs, but not as bad as our oak, live oak, china berry, and other trees along the road.
I hope they come back and finish trimming the trees correctly. And pick up the mess they made. Those twigs and wood chips would be terrible on a lawnmower and the person running it.
I took photos in case something happens to the trees. It's really sickening to look at what they did.
Well, at least when the school buses run next month, they can drive under the trees. Maybe that's why they did it. My daughter said they might be planning to widen our street. I don't know why they would do that. After all, it's a country road!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Drawing and Walking

5" x 7"

5" x 7"
Catch Pen
5" x 7"

Pick Up
5" x 7"
I was so bored with walking down the street to the corner, by myself, that I couldn't make myself go yesterday morning. By afternoon, it's too hot to go out.
I thought that, maybe, if I could draw and walk, it might be bearable. I commented on that on Facebook and was told about a couple of interesting websites.
One is called Sketchercise . The idea is for people who like to draw, etc. and do plein aire work, while getting exercise, to have a place where they can post their work and tell about where they are walking. There is also a group for those who are already doing this.
Some people show the very interesting places they go, and others show what they see on their every day excursions.
Another website is the blog, . This was also very interesting. Pat has a rescue greyhound that goes walking and sketching with her. The dog even has a little backpack that carries some of Pat's supplies.
I will add the link in my sidebar so that you can check out her blog from time to time.
Artist Karen Winters, from Everyday Matters, also talked about how she lowered her blood pressure with walking. She said that she sometimes takes along a magazine to read while walking on a track.
We were discussing ways to make walking more interesting. I was about ready to give it up.
That gave me the idea of drawing while I walk. Well, that didn't work out too well. I need a lot more hands! One for my cane, one for my phone, one for my pencil, and one for my sketchbook. Of course, it doesn't work too well, while walking and bouncing along an asphalt covered lane. I thought it probably is defeating the purpose of walking, if you just stop, or slow down and draw.
My experiement showed me that trying to draw while walking is worse than trying to draw in a bouncing car! But, I could get enough lines down, to remember what I saw when I got back to my porch and add more to it.
Before I started my walk, I stopped and sketched a mailbox, while waiting for a car to pass.
Then I did the catch pen, when I got to the end of where I am walking. Well, I only drew the edge of the roof, and a few posts, before I picked up the pace of walking and headed home. I did more when I got back to my deck.
I sat out on the deck, to cool down and rest and did the sketch of Chris, picking up trash in the yard. It seems like the dogs, racoons, and possums really love to get into our garbage cans at night! So, nearly every morning, someone has to pick up trash in the yard. I was interested in the red shirt, partly in sun and a bit of it in shade, and the patterns made by the shadows of the trees.
I scanned the pencil sketches and they were still very dim, so I added ink and scanned them again. I guess I will add color next.
One thing that I have been doing is to walk from shade of a tree to the next one along the street. That kind of breaks it up into small segments.
I have increased my walking and that should be good and encouraging, but I just feel like I would rather be doing something else that is comfortable and not so boring. I know, we're supposed to do things like look at nature, and that's okay, once I'm there. I'd rather have someone to talk to or something to do, though.
It was taking me 15 minutes to walk to the corner and back. Now, I'm walking halfway into the next block and back in 10 minutes, and add another 5 by walking to the next mailbox to the north. I'm supposed to get in 30 minutes a day, and it's okay to break that into 15 minute segments. I'm doing good if I get in the 15 minutes in the morning. It's just too hot to go out in the evenings, even at sundown. I guess I am doing better, though.
I thought that, maybe I should go to Aeorofit, or go to a store and walk around in the evenings. But, it's too uncertain as to whether or not I can get there. Swimming would be nice, but not in front of all those people. And, I'm not sure if I could get up and down a ladder or steps with my bad knees. Of course, with my swimming, I just like to get in the water and play around, and watch the other people! I haven't been swimming in probably close to 40 years. I guess I could still swim, if needed. I wonder if pools have times reserved for old people!
I think of V....Vaughan and her drive by paintings. I don't know how she paints while riding in a car. It must ride better than our vehicle! I tried to go out and paint the Brazos Bottom one time, while my daughter drove. I couldn't hit the paper with all the bouncing! So, I decided to take photos instead. That worked better.
Knowing that others are walking and sketching, doing interesting things, might help to keep my "exercise program" moving along somewhat.
Make plans to go to the Victorian Gala and Tea in Calvert in October. I have some pictures and information to share, thanks to Jody Powers of Zamykal Gourmet Kolaches in Calvert. Austin artist, Robin Cheers, is going to be there to paint, as is V....Vaughan. They will auction off work at the festivities. I can't wait to see what they do!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Sunbathing In The Victory Garden

Sunbathing in the Victory Garden
8.5" x 11"
I started this one in my sketchbook while I was on the deck, taking my morning sun.
I didn't know that one could be "low" in Vitamin D, especially at my age. Well, I never really thought about it. I assumed that, after all those sunburns and water blisters, when I was growing up and trying to get a good tan, I had enough Vitamin D to last me forever. Besides, it is in things like milk, these days.
My doctor told me that I was extremely low in vitamin D, so I got some more pills and was told to get at least 15 minutes of sun on my arms a day.
I remembered all those sunbaths we used to take, and how, in recent years, we have avoided sun due to the possibility of sunburns and things like skin cancer. My latest idea was to go out on the deck, in the morning, before it gets so hot, and take a little sunbath.
I thought that, instead of just getting sun on my arms, I would put on my shorts and sit on the deck, soaking up rays, on my pale legs, as well as my arms. I've been taking my lawn chair, a stool, a bottle of water, sunglasses, floppy hat and sunglasses, sketching materials and watercolors out on the deck. I would think it would be nice to sip coffee out there, but I'm not a coffee drinker, so I left that off.
After I take my sunbath, I go for a little walk. That is supposed to be from 15 to 30 minutes. It was taking me 15 minutes to get to the corner. Now, it is taking about 10 minutes, so I have to look at walking further. I think about walking in the evenings, but it has been either too hot, or storming, almost every night.
I try to go out before the temperature hits 90 degrees and, then, wait until it cools down below 90 in the evenings. Of course, lately, it seems that, instead of cooling down after 4 p.m., it gets hotter after that time, and doesn't cool down until really late at night. Or we have had a couple of thunderstorms at that time.
One morning, I was remembering when I would go out in our back yard in Calvert to sunbathe. I would put a quilt down near the Victory Garden and take a bottle of baby oil, that might have a little iodine in it, for a better tan. So, this is the sketch above.
With people still trying to recover from the Depression, and all of us worried about the War, a lot of people in town planted a garden-a Victory Garden. Daddy had a man come plow up part of the back yard, and I got to plant and tend to the garden. I thought we should have one!
I had carrots and radishes on the north end of the garden, potatoes just south of those, and, further to the south, I planted watermelons, corn and tomatoes.
The land slanted to the south, so water ran down to the lower south side and often left a big puddle there. Nothing I planted there came up, but I did have some tiny potatoes, carrots, and radishes, and some tiny watermelons. It wouldn't have fed us, if we needed it, for sure. I think we only tried the Victory Garden for a couple of years. It was a lot of work. And, of course, during years of drought, nothing much was growing. It would have been a waste to water it.
Now, across the street, "Toot" always had a garden going beside her garage. She worked in her yard a lot, and it showed.
Besides the garden, in my picture, you can see the garage, with the horse pen, and a shed Daddy built to house the truck he built. Also there is a three tier cage where Mama had some chickens. Daddy bought her some baby chicks to raise, and they were so cute. However, when the chickens were big enough to eat, Mama took one out and tried to kill it. It wouldn't die. Mama ended up in tears after trying to wring its neck with her hands, then wire from the clothesline. Daddy told her to get a hatchet and cut its head off. She just looked at the chicken and cried. She could not kill that chicken. So, she opened the doors to the cages, and shooed the chickens away from our yard.
Daddy had us all trying to catch chickens, all over the neighborhoood, when he got home. He was not happy!
Of course, we didn't catch any chickens. If we saw one, we would shoo it the other way. We didn't want to kill those chickens either.
For years, there were white chickens roaming around the neighborhood.
Another feature in our back yard were some posts that Daddy put up for a swing for us. He painted those white. We preferred to play on the swings at the school, just 1/2 block away. Those were some nice metal ones, that we grew up with.
We couldn't put a quilt down on the ground to sunbathe today. Fire ants would put a quick stop to that!
Today, I had blood drawn. I guess I will soon know if my sunbathing and pills have helped. I wonder if I will have to continue my routine, or if I can go back to being an indoor person.
It is kind of nice to go out and sketch. I don't care much for walking. It's kind of boring, and tiring. If it weren't for a pasture where I can see changing clouds, it would be really boring to just walk down the street.
Oh, well. I've been thinking that I am lucky to be able to walk anywhere at all. Boring or not.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vision-Latest Eye Exam

Eye Exam
5" x 7"
watercolors and ink
I had my eyes checked last week, after a few years of just getting by with cataracts and wet Macular Degeneration in one eye.
You can read more about my experiences and see the pictures that illustrate my experiences by looking in my older posts. All the posts on my eye experiences are prefaced with the word VISION.
During this latest exam, in the top picture, I guess my right brain was working, and, for some reason, I was looking for a picture! I was trying to make out a landscape with a house, or barn and silo, and figure out what might be in the sky-birds? clouds? Suddenly, it occured to me that this was the biggest letter on the chart! -a big E! I was so surprised!
I struggled through a few lines of the smaller letters. They were mostly fuzzy and I had to take my best guess.
I couldn't see the chart at all with my left eye. I have a lot of scarring from the AMD on the macula in that eye, I was told. I assumed that, already.
The dr. said that my vision in my right eye has changed because of cataracts, and I'm nearsighted in that eye. He believed that my vision would be greatly improved if I get rid of the cataracts.
In the second picture, the nurse or technician, who was taking care of me, put in drops, checked pressure, and did some preliminary tests. Like this one. She started with her fingers in front of her, then moved them out, asking if I could see her fingers. I could see the tips of her fingers, when she extended them out, but I couldn't see her, except for her legs on the stool and a bit of the top of her head.
In the third picture, I had my face resting on the machine with the dr. shining bright lights into my eyes. He told me to look at his nose. He told me to look at his ear. To look to the left, etc. I had to laugh because I couldn't see his face! Just the top of his head and a bit of his shoulder. I had to guess where his nose and ear might be!
These were done in ink and watercolor on 5" x 7" sketchbook paper.
I took my series of pictures to show what I had been going through. They seemed to enjoy the work. However, I still wonder why I couldn't see anything but a black background with green squiggles in the DPS office, when I went to renew my license. I could see the letters in the doctors' offices, but not in that little box. Very strange.
I thought, it is odd that I can now read without my glasses, except for very tiny print.
I was sad to hear of several deaths.
The first was Thelma Cunningham, age 105. I enjoyed talking to her at St. Joseph's Manor. She was proud of her artist grandson and urged me to go see his work. Since I had an interest in being a nurse, it helped that she had been a surgical nurse and her first husband had been a doctor. I'll bet she could have taught the current nurses and doctors a thing or two.
Another death was reported on the Roots list. Oklahoma story teller and veteran, Paul Odle, has died. I enjoyed sharing stories of growing up in the 1930s and 40s with Paul. People on the list looked forward to his stories about his hometown of Yukon, Oklahoma. His stories appeared in his hometown newspaper, and, he said that he had published some of his work in books. I know that a lot of people will miss him and his stories.
I haven't heard a word about this one on the news, but someone shared this on the Texas Scottish Festival List. Author Frank McCourt died. His story about his mother was told in his first big best seller, "Angela's Ashes".
I really enjoyed hearing McCourt talk, when he appeared on tv. He certainly will be missed.
We finally got quite a bit of rain the other night. But there were storms. Lots of pictures of funnel clouds and damage, mainly to the south and east of us. We got 3-4 inches of rain, while College Station got 7 inches and over toward Snook and Caldwell, got 9 inches of rain.
The National Weather Service said today that there was not a tornado touchdown, however. Pictures and eyewitnesses said a bit different. The news had said that it might have been an F-0, a very weak tornado. That was stronger than most of us want to experience!
We had another shorter downpour the next morning. At least it has cooled the temperatures a bit. But it brought out the Fire Ants.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

23rd World Wide Sketch Crawl Starting Out

Read through several posts to see all the sketches that Barbara and I did for Sketch Crawl in Bryan and College Station. I hope that they are now in some sort of order. I had invited people to meet at the LaSalle Hotel in downtown Bryan and, if we had a group, we could decide where we wanted to work. Barbara met me at the coffee shop of the LaSalle, but no one else came.
I used a 5"x 7" sketchbook, a pencil, a Pitt pen, and a Winsor Newton travel set of watercolors. I also brought a small watercolor sketchbook, and a larger watercolor sketchbook, in case I might need them. Barbara used a small sketchbook, a few pens, and a small set of travel watercolors.

Hot Summer Day
ink and watercolors
We knew that it was going to be an extremely hot day, with temperatures topping 100 degrees, so we planned on finding a cool place to sketch for the July Sketch Crawl. Fields and lawns are burned and the dirt is either hard or sandy from the drought and heat. Some trees are beginning to die. A boat parked in a field of parched weeds caught my attention.

Orange Juice At The LaSalle
ink and watercolors
I'm not a coffee drinker, so, while I waited for Barbara, I ordered orange juice to drink. I picked out a table by a window overlooking the street , and got out my sketchbook. No one was just having coffee. There was a group, meeting in a corner of the room, a man with a computer, a woman with a book, groups of people walking in and out of the hotel, the people working behind the counter-all wrapped up in their own worlds.
I was fascinated by the wood work and mirrors, the art deco lights and furnishings. I had a little trouble with getting to the restroom. The rest room is downstairs. I had trouble finding the buttons in the elevator. I hate to ride elevators alone! But, the ceiling lights at the elevator in the basement, and the woodwork and mirrors in the elevator, made the wait enjoyable.
I just hoped I could find my way back!
It turned out to be a nice day.
Read on down the posts to see the rest of our sketches and adventures.
And be sure to go to to see art work and experiences from around the world on that same day.

23rd World Wide Sketch Crawl Beginning

Barbara sketched this woman, enjoying reading a very thick book, in the coffee shop as we started Sketch Crawl.
Computing In The Coffee Shop
Barbara sketched a man at the next table, using his lap top. She used her small travel set of watercolors, a tiny folding brush, and a film container with water to add color to her sketch.

Ladies Meeting
When we arrived at the coffee shop, a group of ladies were having a meeting under an unusual antique mirror. They kept moving, so this was particularly challenging for Barbara.

Barbara Sketching
ink and watercolor
Since we didn't get any photographs, I did a little drawing of Barbara, sketching, while people walked past the window. I am having trouble getting my skin tones right. The yellow is just too strong. It was nice to hear people who were walking about, and talking about shopping and making lunch plans downtown.

ink and watercolors
Someone with a pony tail, hanging across their back, was ordering at the counter. I thought I would do a person, too, since Barbara was doing people. Of course, this person, too, left and I had to finish from my gesture drawing.
I really enjoyed the atmosphere at the LaSalle Hotel coffee shop, and downtown Bryan.

23rd World Wide Sketch Crawl Morning

View From The Window
ink and watercolor
My view through the window of the LaSalle Hotel coffee shop window. Included is the back of the sign that hangs in the window. On the left is the Masonic Lodge and, on the right, is the restored Carnegie Library. There is a little pigeon in the round window at the top of the library. There is a garden area between the two buildings.

Masonic Lodge
ink and watercolor
Barbara sketched her view of the Masonic Lodge through the LaSalle Hotel coffee shop window. A barber shop is on the ground floor. She used her small travel set of watercolors to add color to her work. For water, she had an empty film container with water, and a tiny folding brush.

WWoman Sitting In The Courtyard
Barbara sketched this woman, sitting in the courtyard outside the coffee shop of the LaSalle Hotel. Of course, like other subjects, she moved before Barbara was finished. Barbara enjoyed the challenge of drawing people rather than buildings, or other stationary objects, because they don't sit still and wait while they are being sketched.

Courtyard Gate


ink and watercolor

I don't know what happened, but this is, all of a sudden, wanting to make big spaces between lines. Sorry about that! I didn't do anything.

While Barbara was challenged by drawing moving subjects, I was looking at color, light, shadow, shapes, and that sort of thing. I liked the plantings in the little courtyard, and the iron gate beside the wide windows of the coffee shop.

These were some of our sketches for the World Wide Sketch Crawl. We failed to get any photos this time because Barbara didn't have her camera with her, and Joni didn't have batteries for her's. So, no photos to share, this time. Hopefully, our sketches will be okay to show part of our day.

Checking In


ink and watercolor

We left the coffee shop about noon. I had asked people to meet at the coffee shop, then, after 10 a.m., to check in at the Frame Gallery, so we would have some idea of who was sketching, and where. We seemed to be sketching alone.

We were greeted at The Frame Gallery by Sarah, the resident dog. Greta was helping customers select a frame for the portrait that she had painted of them.

We spent some time trying to decide on a place to eat. I thought of baked potatoes and atmosphere at Rudy's in College Station, so that is where we headed. Sort of. I am not a very good navigator so we got lost!


My apologies for this double spacing. And for having to put these in several posts! But that is all I could figure out to do.


23rd World Wide Sketch Crawl Start

Texas Rider
ink and watercolor
It was my job to direct Barbara to Rudy's barbeque for lunch after spending the morning sketching at the LaSalle Hotel coffee shop. I started sketching this young man, riding on a tool box in back of a pick up truck, missed the turn, and it ended up taking us an hour to find Rudy's. I couldn't have read the signs, anyway. This town is growing and changing so much that I can't find the landmarks that have always been here!
Joni and Ashton joined us for lunch. I gave them paper and pencil to draw something for Sketch Crawl and this is what they did. Joni thought this sign, admonishing people to clean up, was hilarious. It does fit, I guess, for people who are away from home for the first time, in college, etc. And for some older folks who forget the lessons they learned. Ashton did a quick No Smoking sign. The last time we were here, he laughed at the sign that said No Smoking, right next to the fireplace! And, considering that the food is smoked, I thought that was a funny sign, too.

Couple Eating Barbeque
Barbara sketched this man who was having lunch with his wife. He detected her drawing and they stopped to look at what she was doing. We told them about Sketch Crawl and gave them a flyer. I think they were impressed.
Oops!.. They Left
Barbara was sketching and her subjects left. A problem we encounter when drawing from life. Our subjects often tend to move!
More about out Sketch Crawl Day in another post!

23rd World Wide Sketch Crawl

Lunching At Rudy's

Barbara and I spent the afternoon in the air conditioning at Rudy's barbeque in College Station, sketching. The rustic surroundings with a Texas Aggie theme made a pleasant place to sketch after we had a lunch of barbeque, served on waxed paper for plates and paper towels for napkins. I sketched people eating on what was once a screened porch and is now closed in with lots of windows. In the main part of the restaurant, tables are covered with oil cloth red and white checked table cloths, while, on the porch, there are wooden picnic tables. There is a nice view of the creek behind the restaurant from the porch area.
Guys' Lunch
Barbara sketched these two men, enjoying barbeque for their lunch at Rudy's.

Guys' Lunch II
ink and watercolor
I sketched the same two men as Barbara was sketching. I added some watercolors to mine. I was curious about the orange t-shirt on the wall behind them, but I didn't get up to examine it. I thought it was odd to have a University of Texas symbol in this place that had an Aggie theme!

Ceiling Lights at Rudy's
ink and watercolor
I wanted to do a drawing that would show the whole scene at Rudy's. But I was using a small sketchbook that fit into my purse, and I just didn't feel I had enough room. I started with the ceiling lights and, by this time, Barbara was ready to leave. I did show how the lights look to me, with AMD and cataracts. I'm sure they were simple, round bulbs, but, to me, they had sort of a flowery shape.

Cleaning Up
ink and watercolor
This young lady caught my attention as she walked past and greeted us. A team of people, dressed in the uniform of the business, seemed to sweep across the restaurant and start to clean as we were getting ready to leave. I couldn't help but notice the clean, white, neatly folded rag that was hanging out of her back pocket.
These were the last of our drawings that we did during the 23rd World Wide Sketch Crawl Saturday July 11, 2009.
I was trying to figure out how to post these drawings and make them come out in order. I thought it would work to put the last one first, but, then, I realized that I can only add 5 at a time, after I had added these!
Hopefully, you will read the following post first, and this one last! That will work, I hope.
Go to the Sketch Crawl website to see art work and photos from all over the world. Look under Forum, 23rd World Wide Sketch Crawl.
It's very interesting to get a world tour through the eyes of many artists!
I hope that we can get a group for the next one! Come join us! That should be in about October. You can check the website, and join, if you want, to get updates and notices.

Friday, July 10, 2009

World Wide Sketch Crawl Tomorrow

Tomorrow is the big 23rd World Wide Sketch Crawl. Go to for more information.

Locally, in Bryan, meet at the LaSalle Hotel in downtown Bryan at about 8:30 a.m. Saturday morning. From there, we can decided where to work. We will probably need to find a cool spot, near restrooms, as the day warms up.

After 10:00 a.m., you can register at the Frame Gallery, 216 N. Bryan Ave. That will give us some idea of how many people are participating. Contact Greta Watkins at the Frame Gallery for more information.

If we have a group, some may choose to work together. Or people may choose to work alone. Possibly, we could meet later to share experiences and work. At the end of the day, experiences and work can be posted on the Sketch Crawl website, on individual websites, or places like Flickr, Picassa, Facebook, etc.

Just bring yourself, your materials that you want to use, and any personal items you may need. You might want to include a folding chair or stool, depending on where you want to sit. So far, I have been able to find a bench or chair to use, but I have a lawn chair in the car, in case I need a place to sit.

This is a FREE event, open to all ages, all skill levels, all media, groups, families, or individuals. You can journal, draw, sketch, paint, or even doodle. You can work all day, or for a few minutes-at home, in a group, or solo. There are no rules.

In Calvert, meet beginning about 8:30 a.m. at Mud Creek Pottery, 407 Main St. Contact Sonny Moss for more information.

People in other communties can work there, perhaps forming their own groups, or they may join in another group such as in Calvert or Bryan.

Let's Draw The Brazos Valley!


Speaking of art, Greta Watkins is having some classes at the Frame Gallery in downtown Bryan. Tomorrow, she is hosting a workshop on linocut printmaking.

On Wednesdays, there is a group that meets there focusing on painting portraits in oils.

See her website or contact her at the Frame Gallery in Bryan for more information.


Remember sunbathing?

I've been avoiding the sun for a long time because I get sunburned and blistered, instead of getting a nice tan. The light bothers my eyes, too. But, now, my doctor told me to to go out and get at least 15 minutes of sun a day. So, I'm going out on the deck in the mornings, sitting in the sun with my hat and sunglasses, sketching and listening to the birdies sing.

Kind of a nice place to be.