Sunday, 1 March 2015

Sketches and new fountain pens!

Aaron, my baby, reluctantly went on his first ever school camp.  The camp was mandatory and it was a case of GO, or don't get graded for Biology. It was only an overnight camp but I still worried about him nonetheless and we missed him. They weren't allowed to take mobile phones or electronic devices so there was no communication at all.  I was very glad when he arrived back, safe and sound. Did I mention that Aaron is now in Year 11 at high school? hehe  My other four range in age from 26 to 31. I can't help it...I worry about them too. 

Sitting in the car, awaiting the return of the Biology students from camp,
I sketched my thermo-coffee-mug.


The next day I sketched the shoes I bought to wear to my daughter's wedding. 
I walked her down the aisle in these babies back in 2010.


The finished sketch


Poor Mister Jack has had a terrible time of it with severe skin allergies over the past four months. I've had him to the vet numerous times.  They even took a blood sample to check for hormonal imbalances.  The results were clear, thankfully.  


The vet and I did a Sherlock Holmes and have narrowed it down to the neighbourhood cats.  You see, we have lived here for eight years without incident and I've never seen a flea on our dogs because I treat them regularly.   However, over the past four or five months, we've had a few new people move into the area bringing their cats with them. The problem is that their cats seem to love our yard and the vet feels that the cats may be dropping fleas.  It only takes one flea bite for a flea-allergic dog to have a severe reaction. Even though the flea/s will die and drop off because I treat Cody and Jack, it doesn't stop the allergic reaction.  Jack's body develops clusters of pimple-like lumps and pustules that look so red and sore.  They cause a lot of pain and itching which naturally he will scratch and bite at.  I feel so bad for him.


Don't get me wrong, I love ALL animals but I'm not too keen on irresponsible cat owners who allow their cats to roam freely, to not only wreak havoc on our native wildlife but also, to poop and drop fleas in other people's yards.  Early one evening at dusk, I looked out my window to see THREE cats lounging in our yard.  Another morning, one was stalking a bird in our yard which I promptly stopped. We are constantly shooing cats out of our yard! Not happy, Jan!! It's not fair and I make no apology for my rant!  I have spent a lot of money trying to rectify the ongoing damage their cats are causing my dog.  Poor Jack has been miserable and has suffered horribly.  He has scratched and bitten himself raw in areas to the point of bleeding and causing secondary infections.  He has lost large areas of fur and his overall body hair has thinned dramatically. He has been on three rounds of antibiotics and cortisone treatments which have given temporary relief only.  I hate to see him in so much discomfort.  At the vet's advice, I have now started him on Comfortis which is a monthly oral treatment recommended for dogs with flea allergy.  I pray it makes a difference.


Poor Jack is not amused either!
Lucky for you, he is showing off his good side,
the other side of his body and his rump look ghastly, poor thing.


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On a happier note, my fountain pen collection is GROWING!!! 
From the top:
White LAMY Joy with EF nib; contains permanent black ink
Neon Coral LAMY Safari with 1.1 Italic nib; contains permanent black ink
Yellow LAMY Safari with EF nib; contains blue water soluble ink
Platinum Carbon Pen - very fine nib - contains permanent black ink
Aren't they BEAUTIFUL?!!!  

This week, I'm linking up with Sunday Sketches HERE.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

some sketching...

Thank you all so much for the kind and caring words you left on the last post, and via email, regarding my Dad.  I appreciate it so much. Dad is doing much the same.  Morphine with sedative when required.  It continues to be a difficult time as it's so hard to see my Dad deteriorate like this. He is bedridden and sleeps a lot but we visit often. I'm going to pamper him with a manicure when I visit him tomorrow.  He enjoyed the last one I gave him.

I haven't found a lot of time for sketching due to visiting my Dad so much but I have grabbed pockets of time where I've been able to.  I'm not overly happy with the following sketches but I'm happy that I sketched something, at least.

On December 4th, Brad had an appointment at Vision Australia to register and become a member. He and I went crazy in their gadget shop for the visually impaired! I bought myself a magnifier lamp which has already come in very handy on my art desk.


Before Aaron went back to school after the Christmas holiday break, we took a drive out to the new Wyaralong Dam near Beaudesert.  It was lovely!  We will definitely be visiting again although, next time, we will take insect repellent!  I managed a very quick sketch of  my view before it started to rain, forcing us to head home early.  It was a nice day out regardless.


I've been taking Liz Steel's 'Sketching Now' online course which has been fantastic. Twelve weeks of fun and learning.  Liz is such a good teacher and puts so much time and effort into covering even the small details.  She is very in-depth and explains everything so clearly.  I've read and watched the videos each week but, as my free time has been limited, I'm only just starting to do homework where I can. Thankfully, the class material will remain available for at least twelve months which should give me plenty of time to catch up.


I created a colour mixing chart from my palette thanks to this very helpful post on Jenny's blog - How to make a watercolour chart. I had so much fun doing this that I'm sure it won't be the last colour mixing chart I do.


Another online class I registered for on Craftsy was Sketching People in Motion by Marc Taro Holmes.  Oh my, another gem of a class!  Marc is an amazing teacher and I'm keen to put some of his techniques into action.  I've actually been enjoying quite a few of the courses on Craftsy of late. Their classes are quite reasonable in price and they give life-time access...can't complain about that. 





I was one of the lucky backers who helped to make The Perfect Sketchbook a reality.  It was the brainchild of Erwin Lian Cherngzhi.  This sketchbook is gorgeous and a little bulkier in size compared to the Moleskine pocket watercolour notebook. I feel privileged to own one because I'm not sure that they will be produced again. It was a one time thing, however, Erwin did mention that he may attempt it once more for an A5 sketchbook.


I was very excited to receive my order for a carbon pen and cartridge from The Goulet Pen Company on Friday!  It was beautifully packaged and they even included a little treat.  I'm fairly new to sketching with fountain pens.  I only have two so far...notice that implies that there will be more. Me thinks I'm developing an addiction.  I LOVE sketching with my Lamy JOY and now this Carbon Pen.


To add a lovely end to my week, I had my two beautiful Granddaughters come for a sleep-over. Their Mummy and Daddy went out for a Valentine's dinner and a movie.  We had a great time with Mikayla and Maddy and I'm sure they enjoyed their visit too.  They have not long left to go home, bless their little hearts.  I miss them already.

Today, I'm linking up with Sunday Sketches HERE.

Until next time.....

Saturday, 7 February 2015

It's been a while...

I haven't posted since December 28th so I guess this is HAPPY NEW YEAR from me to you!  
May 2015 bring you lots of love, light, peace, and many blessings.

 We brought in 2015 at Michelle and Alex's place and we made a special toast to Dad shortly after. As you know my Dad hasn't been well and is now classified as Palliative Care so it's been a tough start to the year for us.  They have stopped all his medications and the plan is to keep Dad comfortable and pain-free.  It's not an easy road and this is part of the reason I haven't been posting on my blog, let alone keep up with friends' blogs.  I've been spending a lot of time visiting Dad at the Home.

Here is a recent photo of my beautiful granddaughters, Mikayla and Madelyn,
enjoying a treat while their Poppy sleeps peacefully in the bed beside them.

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Mum had been sleeping over a couple of nights a week from October up until New Year. We're already looking forward to her next sleep-over.  As Mum and I love jigsaw puzzles, I couldn't resist buying one for us to work on together while she was here in December.  I also bought one for her to take home and do by herself.  We became quite addicted I can tell you. 

FINISHED!
It was fairly large too at 1000 pieces.
The total measurement being 700mm/27½" x 500mm/20". 
We were very pleased with ourselves when it was done. 
Bradley even helped here and there too.


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I haven't done a lot of sketching since my last blog post but I will share the ones I have done in future posts.  For now, I wanted to share a work-in-progress I'm painting for Aaron's room. It will be a silhouette of African animals against a rich sunset.

First layer


Second layer


I've had this painting on hold also but I'm hoping to find some time to finish it this month.

Stay tuned for more posts very soon....

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Christmas celebrations, choir, and ornaments

I hope you all had a beautiful Christmas!
I was actually quite sick with sinuses and asthma 
but I did manage to put on a smile 
and spend time at my daughter's house 
for Christmas celebrations with my beautiful family.
We all had a lovely time!

 Michelle got a selfie-stick from Alex for Christmas
and it was put to good use on Christmas day.
I want one!


 Michelle wasn't feeling the best either
but we both put on happy faces,
with a little help from some Christmas wine, perhaps?
I only had one, I swear.


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On December 16th, our Mater Sing for Health Choir
sang Christmas Carols in the Mater Mothers Hospital foyer
after only four weeks of practise.
On December 17th and 18th, we repeated our performance
at the two Mater Volunteers' Christmas parties of
approx. 100 people at each.
We were very well received by our audience
and we even had them join in for a Christmas round at the end.
We all had an absolute blast!

 Photo courtesy of Mater Hospital - Queensland


******************************************************

I haven't been doing much in the way of sketching
but I have been painting.

As always seems to be the way,
I was frantically trying to finish ornaments in time for Christmas.
I had planned to start them early, like in September,
but my life was turned upside down when Dad became ill
and ended up in a high care aged facility,
so I kept putting the ornaments off until later.

Since the birth of my granddaughters,
I started a tradition of painting them a Christmas ornament  each year.

This year, I decided to recycle two light bulbs.
I have done similar in the past
and they are a lot of fun to transform.
Do you like my state-of-the-art bulb holders? hehe
Plastic bottles filled with pebbles for weight,
then the bulbs held in place securely with Blu-tack.
They worked perfectly!

First up, two coats of All Purpose Sealer.
That stuff is fantastic for using on slick surfaces.


Then a few coats of Jo Sonja Warm White.


Now, the fun begins.
Scarves first up.


Then, their little faces.
Brown eyes for Maddy,
Blue eyes for Mikayla.


And, of course the Christmas holly.


All dressed ready for the Christmas tree
wearing polar fleece for hats
adhered with Helmar quick-set Craft glue.





Just hangin'!

You can see the ornaments I painted for previous years
at the following links.

2013
2012
2011
2010
2010 (part 2)

I'm feeling almost human again today
and I'm looking forward to babysitting Mikayla and Maddy
while Michelle and Alex take in a movie at the cinema.

It's been pouring rain since yesterday and I'm loving it!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!
Any plans for New Year's Eve?

Monday, 1 December 2014

I'm calling it quits...

I made it to number 88 of the 365 daily sketch challenge before calling it quits.
 I just felt way too pressured by it.
 Who knows, I may try the challenge again for 2015.

For now, you will still see regular sketches from me
but I have given myself permission to miss some days here and there.

I will continue to sketch directly with pen unless stated otherwise
 but I plan to vary my sketchbooks a bit.
The sketches below are all done in my Holcroft A6 travel journal.

I bought this little turtle figurine when I called into Mr Toys to buy a jigsaw puzzle. 
Mum, Brad, and I love working on the puzzle together. 
I also bought one for Mum to take home with her to keep her occupied when she's on her own.
Mum said it has helped keep her mind off Dad being in the home.






Our weather has been unbearably hot and humid of late.
So much so, that I invested in an industrial fan,
an evaporator/cooler fan,
and some block-out curtains.
Every little bit helps.
Today is officially the start of our summer.




OH dear, this Buddha does not look very impressed with the sketch I did of him. lol


Bradley and I attended choir practise last week
and look what I spotted in the Mater Children's Hospital foyer.
Bananas in Pyjamas caught with their pants down!


One of the feathers in my collection.


My sister dropped in some little tomato plants for me.
I just need to plant and stake them.
I sure hope  they provide an abundance of tomatoes.
We had a super-storm on Thursday
and it caused a lot of damage right across Brisbane.
Reece said the storm pelted them with golf-ball-sized hailstones in the city.
It was like a war zone in some areas.
Luckily, we only got ½" hail here.

Late again but, this week, I'm linking up to Sunday Sketches HERE.
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