Saturday, April 4, 2015

Good and the Bad

This is a random sketch.  I use my smart phone camera to capture images that I like but don't have time to sketch. Then, when I have more time, I stroll through the pictures and sketch them. It's now time to catch up.

I've sketched my pack rats before. They are a bother and can cause costly damage to any vehicle parked outside. When they show up I use a catch-alive trap to catch them, and relocate them down the road. We live in a rural area with few houses. It's easy to drive them to a large field with great habitat for them and set them free. In the big picture, these rodents proliferate well and I could just kill him and cause no damage to the ecosystem. However, he's so darn cute I can't do it. When they make it into the garage I do, but when they're outside, their crime doesn't warrant death.  However, a coworker had one eat a hose on her automatic transmission that she didn't notice until the transmission was totaled out. I may change my protocol if that were to happen to me.

As for the bread, we like to cook it fresh instead of buying it. We like the artisan no-knead breads as an occasional treat. They are photogenic, just like the rat. I'm baking some rolls for Easter as I'm putting this post together, too. Can't get enough fresh bread!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Tyler Bend

Ozark country! I have two routes to choose from to get down to Little Rock and one routes through Branson and over the Buffalo River. The Tyler Bend Visitors Center is on that path. I like to stop by and take a break. Feel the water. Talk to any staff if the Center is open. This time is no different.

Recent rains and snows of flooded the watershed. The springs are running high so the Buffalo is running high.The forest floor duff has absorbed the water and spreads a clear scent in the air that makes we want to just settle down here and forget about life anywhere else. Throw in the pine scent and I just had to stay a while longer in the parking lot and sketch the Center. 

A light windless rain was falling, too, and some would spill in the open doors and windows of the car. I sat in the middle so the sketchbook didn't get wet. If I had rain gear it would have made great hiking weather. I waited until I got home to add the color and text. Didn't have THAT much time. Wish I could have bottled up the clean air.

Biz in LT

Time for business travel to Little Rock. Brought the sketch gear just in case I could grab some time. Didn't have much because I had a coworker with me this time. But I did have one night on my own. I headed down to The Heights. They have a wonderful outdoor supply store there. Then there is a array of little boutiques that don't do much for me but create a neat atmosphere that draws people in. The elevation is high for Little Rock so I'm sure there's a history of the area.

For this sketch I sat on a bench next to the sidewalk with this view in front of me. It was nearing sundown. Once I had the ink work done it was too dark to finish so I walked down a couple blocks to the local Starbucks, bought a skinny latte and grill cheese for supper and added the color and text. It was finished when I walked back to the car. A young mom, probably on business, too, did a FaceTime call to her husband and two cute kids. I couldn't see them but I could here their cute voices. Some others were studying and a few late shoppers. Quiet mix.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

That Time Of Year

Spring is getting close! This weekend's warm temps have gotten us thinking about the garden. First step is always tilling the garden, which is my task.

We once owned a tiller. That rascal was a maintenance nightmare. I spent more time tending it than using it, and it was far from dependable. When it finally aged out I decided to simply rent every year. The frustration is gone. The cash flow is reduced. Yes, I have less control over my time, but that's a small price to pay. I've sketched about this before.

When I was finished tilling I still had time left. The sun was shining and the temps around 70F, so I decided it would be a good time to sit quietly and sketch and relax. It was time well spent! I decided to sketch, paint and post in the same day to make it almost real-time.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Holton Competition

I couldn't make our regular monthly sketch crawl because I was attending a 4-H Shooting Sports competition in a nearby city, and the weather canceled the live sketch crawl and made it a virtual crawl where we all simply sketch on our own, wherever we are. I was busy all day with the air rifle competition so I snapped a picture on my cell phone and just now finished the sketch.

We had over 200 kids attend and Shawnee County (ours) had the fewest, at four shooters. The other counties in northeast Kansas are more rural, and they just have a larger interest in air rifle, BB-gun, air pistol, archery and black powder disciplines that Kansas 4-H Shooting Sports offers. It's neat to see the energy level and interest of all those kids running around.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Grand Old Lady

This was the last day of my SPP TWG committee meeting in San Antonio (I know you have no idea what that group is, but I wanted to show that it did have a name). One of the first things I noticed from my hotel window (which did NOT overlook the River Walk) was this old building. She was straight and true and was clearly winning her battle with age. Someone was caring for her. I wanted to know more about her.

My committee meeting took most of my time. My first priority was a River Walk sketch, which I was able to get after the first day of the meeting (prior post). Plenty of street people out for some reason. Got pan handled a couple times but never felt threatened. I did a web search and learned that the Hotel Robert E. Lee was now apartments for rent for the unbelievably low range of $600 to $900 a month! There must be more to this story.

My break came when our meeting ended a half hour early. That gave me one hour before I had to catch a taxi to the airport. I checked my luggage with the bellman, grabbed my sketch gear and hustled to the Hotel, which was only a couple blocks away. First, check out the lobby. I met a staffer so I struck up some dialogue. This is now a rent-assisted apartment complex run by the State of Texas, and a person's annual income must be below $25K. All the architecture has been maintained well, with some nice cut stained glass at the far end of the lobby. More paint on wood trim than I like, but it's still cared for.

Now for the sketch. Need to walk around for a nice view that I can stand or sit for a while. Found a surface parking lot that worked. I leaned up against a parking lot lightpole and started. Then, in the corner of my eye, a body slowly approached. I figure it's a street person and I'm going to be hustled again. Nope. "May I help you?"  I look. It's a cop! I explain that I'm on business travel and I like to sketch and I really like this Hotel. He gives me the eye and is quiet. I show him my book. Still quiet. I said I found out on-line that this old hotel is now apartments, and that a staffer told me it's some type of subsidized housing. He finally talks, and seems nice. He verifies the story and tells me more. This old hotel was top of the line when it was built. It was the first retail establishment built in San Antonio with air conditioning! The ground level access was all retail sales for shopping. This was a show piece. He said he'd leave me to my sketching and left. I sketched for another 15 minutes and finished. Packed my gear and left. Then I saw the cop had simply driven a little further and had parked, with me in his plain view. Maybe I DIDN'T convince him of my innocence. I waved goodbye and left. Mission accomplished.

Business Travel, San Antonio

Most of my business travel is in the Kansas/Missouri/Arkansas/Oklahoma area, but this week I had a committee meeting in San Antonio. Been there twice before so I knew about the River Walk. I brought my sketchbook supplies again in hopes of getting out.

The challenge was finding a spot to sit and sketch. The real estate along the River Walk is all high dollar stuff and they want you either walking or dining. Eventually I found a spot at street level looking down at the river walk. Met a neat little boy on the flight down, Ricardo, and met my first Uber Driver, too. Also grabbed a sketch of an old building that will be my next post. Good trip.