Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tornado Watch #955

I've lived in Kansas for most of my life, but the weather we've had over the past week has been very weird. It's at the top of the weird list, shared by only a very few other moments in history. And the first time we've had a Tornado Watch in December that I can remember, much less the day after Christmas. Just thinking about a tornado as Santa visits brings images to mind, so a journal entry is in order.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Wars

Every year it's the same for this season. Eating vs. Fitness. Merriment vs. discipline. More challenging as the metabolism slows down with age yet the eyes say eat . . eat . . eat! The pounds creep on but I know how to fix it. All I need is a strong dose of will-power. Why can't they pack that in a nice cinnamon roll?!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Which Bulb?!

After hanging all the strings of lights on our house front eves on a cold afternoon with little time, I turned them on and this string didn't work. After a day to cool down, I took them down to see where the problem was. Wife spent plenty of time and got half of them to light (we have an unwritten division of responsibilities, and she handles the bulbs, I handle the hanging). Never did get the other half to work. We happened to have a spare string so we were back on the road . . . except for portions of two other strings. Tonight, after the heavy winds of the last 24 hours, most are now working. Go figure.

Fav Ornament

Just a quick sketch of my oldest and favorite Christmas tree ornament. It's been put on a tree since I got it when I was about 4 years old. That's 48 consecutive years. Just can't seam to retire it.

Huntin', Day 3

Well, it's probably my last day of deer hunting for 2008. Full moon last night will mess up the deer. They'll eat at night and sleep in the day. Sure enough. None seen today. Had a good sit, though. Listened to turkeys waking up and watched cold weather move in. Made one more sketch, but just in time. I was dressed for 50F and the cold front brought in 25F with 25-35 mph winds so wind chill was around 10F. I could feel it steal my heat by the minute. Shivering told me it's time to quit. Head for a warm home . . . wait for another year.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Eye Doc

My eyes are still blurry as I post this, three hours after the eye drops. I have a mental problem when it comes to eye doctors and the act of poking my eyes. Can't seem to get over it. At least the doctor and his assistants are nice and make it as pleasant as possible. And while driving home . . . a revelation . . . WA LAA! . . . I can make a sketch about the whole thing! Of course, now every time I see this I will remember what it feels like getting the drops. Not sure if that's such a good thing.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Butterfly Award

Well, I'm tickled pink because Margaret Storer-Roche awarded me this Butterfly Award! I'm watching her site all the time to see her colorful interpretations of the southwest, and value her observations. Nobody does it as Margaret does it.

Here are the rules that go with the award :

1. Put the logo on your blog, you can right-click and copy it from above.
2. Add a link to the person who awarded you

3. Nominate 10 other blogs for this award
4. Add links to those blogs

5. Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

6. Give a reason why you consider their blogs cool.

So, to live, the award must be passed along. Here's my list, in no particular order:
Speck ( has some EDM, some sketches and blogs of things around her, like the cat on her hubby. Then go to her other blog for some witty writing about stuff.
Jim ( covers a wide range. One day a semi-truck, another day Paris or a liquor store. Check out his doctors exam table!
Karen ( has pleasant blogging with her great sketches. Mix of pen/ink and color.
Don ( has a variety of images in pen/ink and in color. A retired Canadian who stays busy.
Marva ( is into many art mediums. Sketching is predominantly EDM challenges. I like her composition skills.
Nina ( is a Swedish contribution to the blog world, with urban sketches and neat montage sketches.
Rose ( is multimedia and a mom. I like her family touches to her art and blogs, and her watercolor sketch layouts.
EJ Mordasky ( has a masterpiece for every post. She spends the time to get everything just right and has a style of her own.
Douglas ( has both pen/ink and color sketches with a mix of topics and blogs with more details. Love his power plant and train machinery. As an artist/blacksmith combination, he MUST be creative.
Ryan ( has sketches of vehicles and buildings and other stuff. I think, being a guy, I find interest in his view of things.

That's it for this blog. No sketch this time. Just fun surfing around blog sites.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Huntin', Day 2

On both days of deer hunting I watched a large group of turkeys. Still no deer, but these turkeys keep me interested. They seem content to strut along in no particular hurry. I made this sketch, too, while sitting in the brush. Need to work on my art gear box, though. It rattles around and makes too much noise as I walk in the field. Maybe a sponge or something crammed in to hold everything tight. Digging for WC pencils is too noisy, too, while I'm trying to be unnoticed. Need to try other methods.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Huntin', Day 1

Deer season's here. Rifle season started Wednesday, but my project at work is keeping me from pulling any vacation time right now. Saturday is my first day in the field. If you're anti-hunting, don't worry because I didn't shoot anything. I packed my sketch stuff just in case. I was in my ground spot before sunrise. When the sun came up, this rascal became irate that I was in his turf. He commenced to letting me know about it. I just smiled and watched. When he wouldn't go away I thought I'd try to sketch him. Once I got the stuff out, he was gone. So I sketched him from memory and finished the journal entry while sitting there in the brush. Temperature was in the upper 30's.

I came back that afternoon and a group of over 20 wild turkeys walked by my spot, just behind me. I sat quietly and watched the parade. My best moments in hunting are watching the wildlife and tracking them.

*****Post 50!*** This is post 50 for me. On New Years Day this year I didn't know what a blog was and I had a 2008 goal to learn how to do journal sketching like Danny Gregory and Dan Price. Now I'm a blogger and on my journey to learning and living this journaling stuff. And it's still 2008. I feel good about that. And no teacher is here to give me a grade to instill self-doubt. I can be as optimistic as I want.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Finished my field engineering work. Time to start the 4 hour drive home. It's not on the way, but 30 miles away is Greensburg, Kansas. The town that used to be. On a fateful night in May 2007 a huge tornado changed its history by wiping it out. This is the first time I've been anywhere close to it and probably won't be around here again anytime soon. So I drive over. I've lived most my life in Kansas. You learn trees that have survived a large tornado have a certain 'look' to them for many years. They are silent sentinels trying to tell everyone the horrors they saw yet they can't speak. Every tree in Greensburg was that way. Very spooky. I drove around, looking for a scene that I could respectfully draw and not encroach on private property. I found this scene that I could draw from the car. The house address had been painted on the curb in recent years, contrasting with the total destruction of house. The town is slowly rebuilding.
The city of Chapman was about wiped out by a tornado this past summer. One of the new houses there will be featured in an upcoming sweep week 2-hour edition of Extreme Makeover, Home Edition. Hope the national attention will help the little town is some way.

Conjunction & my job

My job took me out of town for a couple nights. Had some windshield time and was lucky enough to be driving south while the conjunction of the Moon, Jupiter and Venus was dancing before my very eyes. I'm not an astronomy genius but I do follow it loosely and knew this night would be great as long as the cloud cover doesn't kill it. It didn't. I studied it and memorized as much as I could. Then I thought about how it compares/contrasts with my job at hand and my career. One thing you CAN do while driving is think. Even if it's useless babble about astronomy and your place in life. I checked into the motel and sketched and finished it that night.