Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Six Eyes

It's my first sketch in my freshly bound journal! Anxiety about starting a new journal never hits me. I like binding them, I like using them. The topo map is the recycled end paper I was talking about.

The subject of this post is my new reading glasses. The bifocals weren't working for the PC monitor at work. I had to tilt my head back too far for the bifocals to work, or take them off and have blurry-but-functional vision. These work much better. I sketched on one of my lunch breaks.

The paper is BFK Rives in this journal, maybe 120 lb. (forgot to note weight). First time to use it and its working nicer than the ArchesVelin text wove of my last journal. Velin was great for watercolor pencils and waterbrush and fountain pen light sketching but wasn't so nice with pencil or fountain pen writing.

Time to settle in and get some sketching done. Hope it doesn't take as long to finish this journal as my last one did (a.k.a. " I need to sketch more often").

Sunday, January 25, 2015

They're Done!

Another batch of journals done. These take some time to bind up when I don't have a long stretch of free time. But that's OK. Patience gets me to the final product, and I love using them.

This batch uses Stonehenge Printmaking, BFK Rives, and Strathmore Aquarius II papers. I've used the Aquarius II before and had some left over. The other two papers are new to me. In a past set of journals I used Arches Velin text wove and liked it. I prefer the lighter papers like printmaking paper because I don't use heavy watercolor washes. My tools of choice are fountain pens, art pens, watercolor pencil and a waterbrush. I sketch directly in ink so the paper's ability to hold a graphite line doesn't matter. I'd be interested in what papers any of you have a preference for?

This batch also uses end papers for my first time. These topographic maps are being recycled from a friend's engineering firm employer who was pitching them. I could see them in my mind as end paper so I spoke up for them and here they are now. They are topographic maps of Kansas, bound in a journal in Kansas by a Kansan. It ties it all together . . . plus I have a thing for maps.

Now I need to use them up so I can bind some more.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Alma Visit

We live just southeast of the large town (by Kansas standards) of Topeka. Just west of Topeka is the little town of Alma. The sketch has a chart showing populations. You'll see how small it is. Alma is the largest town in Wabaunsee County, as Topeka is the largest town in Shawnee County. We're sisters in a way. The small size equates to a very small retail sale district, so we haven't had a reason to 'stop by'. I decided it was time. They've always had the cheese factory but I wanted to see other things, too.

The weather was a winter cold, at least too cold and windy to just sit and sketch in any resemblance of comfort. Therefore I used the capture-it-on-the-cellphone-sketch-later approach. Less than ideal but better than no sketch. Alma does have some nice churches and a large government building for their county seat. We stuck to downtown, all three blocks of it.  The cheese factory is close to it, down by the tracks.

This is the final sketch of my current sketchbook. My next batch isn't bound yet, but it's close. I have another sketchbook started that I abandoned because I don't like the landscape orientation. I can use it to hold me over but I really want to finish my bookbinding. If the next post is wider than tall, you'll know I didn't make it.

Monday, January 12, 2015

In The Works

I'm running out of journal pages to sketch on, so it's time for some bookbinding. Every time I do this I need to tell myself to have patience. There are many steps in binding a journal and it does't get the rewards as fast as a sketch journal entry. I think the sketch journal encourages fast results. Bookbinding takes time, so it's a different mindset. Here are seven text blocks (the guts of a book), ready for covers. I'm still exploring different sketching papers, so there are three types here. Seems like nobody posts pictures of the intermediate form of a book.

I find the whole bookbinding process quite satisfying. I tend to be detail-oriented so the careful steps don't scare me away. It's also nice that it's so low-tech. I can get absorbed in the process without "needing" the latest technology this or that tool, which costs a lot of money.

FYI - The work surface is a folding table in our family room. It's a temporary abode, but it's cold out and this room has a wood-burning stove for supplemental heat. Love the ambiance. It beats my sketch table in the unfinished section of our basement. What I prefer is our dining table, with its firm surface, windows to the back yard and access to radio, food and the coffee pot! But when I use it, I need to clean up and move every mealtime. Life is a compromise.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Yet Another Tool

Well, do we ever have enough tools? This one I really needed, though . . . really. I'll be doing the electrical wiring of a storage shed we had built. Looking over my tools I see there is a new product out that would be useful. I NEED it. I can check to see if a circuit is hot just my holding this close to the wires, even through drywall! Don't need to actually touch the bare copper of a hot wire. Life just gets better.

As for the National Forests logo, I need to declare that I'm into calligraphy. I love fonts and letter layout. This logo was in an advertisement and it caught my eye. So old school. So well thought out. This isn't digital fonts cut and pasted into a fast production. Someone sat down and thought this through. I HAD to sketch it. Of course, it has nothing to do with the rest of the sketch, but it's my sketchbook.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

A New Tool

I love hardware stores! The smell. The sights. Tactile. Being reminded of all the possibilities for home improvement projects or yard projects. It's a reminder of how we've evolved to be problem solvers. And once in a while you find a new tool that solves a problem you didn't even know existed. And sometimes they're legitimate! This is an example. Shopping with family around Christmas time we stroll through an old-school hardware store in Lawrence. Ernst & Sons Hardware & Brewing Supply, 826 Massachusetts Street, since 1905. A favorite of mine. They may have restocked since 1905 but they haven't remodeled. Strolling through the tight isles I found this jewel. Had to have it!

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Lunchhour Coffee

I'm lucky. Topeka has several coffeeshop choices. Good choices. We used to live in a town of 14,000 in central Kansas and there was no 'real' coffeeshop. When I travel for the job to rural electric cooperatives around Kansas I spend time in really small towns. Love the small towns, but I miss my coffee. That's kinda shallow of me. But that's how it is. I like my daily routine of visiting a nice coffeeshop at lunch to have a cup and read or sketch. It's my little world for a short time. It's a splurge but as long as my paycheck can cover it (it's just a 12-ounce coffee, no cream, no specialty drinks unless it's a celebration) I'll continue.

On another topic, I'm trying to find my new sketching mojo. I know I'll continue. I'm hooked. But when in the day and for how long. Will I keep posting? What's my new routine to make sure it all gets done? Right now I'm grabbing time when I can. This is being posted on a Saturday morning before I get real work done around here. Maybe it will work, maybe it won't. In my posting hayday I spend way too much time and late nights getting it all done. I need a better balance. When I evaluate all the ways I spend time, evaluate my collection of hobbies, I conclude that sketching makes the short list of 'must do's.