Saturday, December 25, 2021

Friday, December 10, 2021

Luss Scotland ink landscape drawings

Pier at Luss, Scotland 

in 'Kentucky Bluegrass' ink with a little bit of brown

Ink series of the village of Luss, Scotland

finished some with colored pencil

all 5x7 images


reason for doing this series : I saw the village featured in a Facebook post, especially the pier, which is above.  It mentioned the little ice cream shop and the wonderful long paths that go along the shore all the way to the 1,500 year old church.  It is also listed as the Loch Lomond Faerie Trail for walking.  I wandered Google Street view and captured a few images I thought would be interesting to repeat the motif in a couple of drawings and see how, even with different inks and treatments, they might fall together as a series based on their shared subject. 

(I have more images saved, will add to this post as I decide to attempt them)


Pier Street at Luss, Scotland

in 'goldfish' ink with colored pencil (and a perspective alteration 'to fit')

School Road at Luss, Scotland

in indigo ink, with a bit of changeup because the big bush was in the middle of the scene and obscured too much, so I moved it.


 The Parish Church at Luss, Scotland

in indigo ink with added carnation pink - which wasn't doing it.. so I added one drop of red beyond that and achieved the color I was thinking of


Loch Lomond Arms hotel, Luss, Scotland

goldfish ink with a touch of brown

colored pencil because the trees did not stand out like I wished them to


Other Notes: All of these were completely left hand drawn.  It has been a few months since I decided I should embrace being mostly left handed, even though I learned to do everything including drawing and writing with my right.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Postal Route drawings

 I've done a few drawings of my postal route - this is the one I did today - 'Near Watkins Lane', colored pencil and inks

the thing about the postal route images are they are a 'smash together' of things I see around that place, not an actual representation foot by foot of what you would see there.  For example - the tree at the end of Watkins Lane, and beyond it you see the lake one way and t he tall straight bare trees on the OTHER side... and the cows live across the highway, not down the lane, but they are pretty and I wanted to put them in there somewhere.... if you knew the area, you would recognize that the 'parts are there', but all jumbled up.

and at the end of laying out the above drawing in blue, my pen snapped and popped - which made me wonder if I needed to throw it out and use the other one I have instead.  But no, I took the rest of the paper and wrote this out and drew this tree - and there is no reason whatsoever to throw the pen out.. 

It's been a hard week on the postal route.  It's been cold - my truck has been broken in a minor but annoying way (door handle) so I've had to improvise.  I'm very glad I'm as stretchy as I am at my age - but it's been annoying and my left arm is in that 'what did you do to me' stage that doesn't even really hurt anymore until the middle of the night and then I wake up and everything clicks and cracks and eventually I forget about it like a bad tooth until I try to do something 'different' with it like carry laundry or hold something up.. and then it goes wonky again.  hypermobility is not as fun as it looks, but it could be worse... maybe I can get some more sleep now, as I don't have postal route (that I know of) for another week or more now

cold stress

"HWY 105" postal route drawing

This one was done a few months ago, and oddly enough, it is the very next section to what I just did now.. sort of like working backwards without even trying to

So now I'm thinking about working 'forwards' on the next chunk from the horse onwards...



completed it what will I call this one?  "HWY 105 - CONTINUED" ?

The horse in it is the same horse as the above one, just around the corner to the mailbox that is broken and most of the time in a mud puddle


" Railroad streets West and East"

I did this in black and white but haven't went further with this one - it is still in town and was done while waiting for them to bring the mail one morning then forgotten at the post office for weeks.. it's home with me but I still haven't moved too much forward on it.  It is also 'compressed' and represents a section of postal route that is actually more like a mile in length but would be recognizable from the elements

'Old Trezevant Road' 5x7 inch

This approximate area is where one day there was a huge white cow walking down the middle of the highway.  I slowed way down, not wanting to hit it - and it put it's whole head in the left-hand side of my postal truck.  It then proceeded to lick the dashboard a bit - and then decided to 'move on'.  I really hoped no one would hit it.  I didn't want to come back to 'smeared cow' all over the road since I go down that road and come back.  But, by the time I returned, it was nowhere to be seen outside the fence... and there were so many inside the fence well, I couldn't tell which one it was.  *ha*

Friday, November 19, 2021

Pastel over Ink : What I Saw in the Moonlight landscape drawing


first time playing with pastel in a good long time, used this paper, Canson Dry Mixed Media Sand Grain natural sand colored paper.   I was trying to catch an effect I saw in the moonlight last night with the shadows of the trees that I couldn't 'see' in plain ink or colored pencil.. it felt 'smudgy'.. which to me meant pastel.

I started out with a bluish-green ink brush to get started washing in shadows - then went over with pastel

This is what I wish it had stayed looking like, but the pastel fixative darkens the colors and mattes out the blacks... so I went back with a little bit of brush technical pen ink and darkened back up the blacks



'What I Saw in the Moonlight' - Marie Lamb - November 19, 2021

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

ink drawings

 Ink, as in dip nib pen ink, is one of my oldest hobbies that I have begun to get back into.  What now, twenty years ago? The year 2000, so yes... I did this almost every day as part of my drawing training at NDSU - I would do large 18x24 sheet papers of ink in many colors.  It took lots and lots of patience and close vision - which I had back then, and time, which I also had in abundance even though I was going to school and working at the Michael's store. (I also did not sleep much then, either *ha*)

I tried a little bit when Esme was small, but didn't stick with it.  Some of my inks have deteriorated over that time and I had to replace them - the brown turned to a purple, the yellow to a brown, and the red mostly just clotted up and is unusable.  So, I ordered some replacements and they came in the mail last weekend.


Kentucky BlueGrass ink from the Birmingham Pen Company
and Higgins yellow drawing ink (new stock)
Paper study between Master's Touch Mixed Media, Grumbacher Mixed Media, Stonehenge drawing paper and a regular Master's Touch drawing paper.  The results?  Both of the mixed medias (which I have because they are diff. sizes and I was at diff. places when I bought them) have their own unique qualities that could be used to get an effect with the ink.   
The Grumbacher is smoother, but can pool and make dark spots with the ink and those spots can easily tear or 'rough' and look bad in the finished drawing.  But it is a brighter white and takes the ink more smoothly across it's surface.  The MT has a rough tooth, is sort of ivory colored, but also leaves 'high points', white spots where there wasn't enough ink to fill in the tooth and the top of the surface.  Each has give and take.  I have yet to make a tear or rough pool point in the MT.

A small porcelain tea bowl I purchased at a specialty tea shop with my husband many many years ago - and finally found again this year through a comedy of errors in my cleanup of the studio after my eye surgery.  It is now in my ink kit where it belongs.  The pen on the left is a regular pen with a regular nib.  The crow quill pen is in the middle and I don't like it (but I gave it another try).  The brush is a small camelhair brush and I do use it a lot.  The pen comes with various other nibs meant for calligraphy, but I tend to use the one with the sharpest fine point.  Some nibs like the ones by the bowl have reservoirs, that hold more ink in them.  The one that is on the pen in the picture does not have a reservoir.

I've recently been embracing the probable fact that I was supposed to be left hand dominant, but was trained with my right.  I made a post earlier this month about that revelation while trying to draw portraits again.  All of the drawings to follow were drawn with the left hand only.

Manx Kittens Lyffan and Loki
in a mixed ink of 10 year+ brown and new red
which turned out sort of ruby or cranberry colored

Wood Thrush 

drawn the day the new brown ink came, with a nib that does not retain and needed to be dipped every third stroke or so - I then changed it out to one that had a small reservoir, and have been using that one since.  Although, it must be taken care at the end of writing or drawing to either 'draw it dry' or stroke on a piece of cork or ragged paper until all the ink is drawn out and it is as clean as it can be.  I used to have pen cleaner - but I never used it, and it went dry before I opened it.  I find 'drawing it dry' useful and leads to some interesting things, little sketches or lines of poetry sometimes.

 Hazelnut / Filbert tree

only one color of ink here - the new brown, but the 'fresh' ink in the pen is super dark, and as it lessens it becomes more of a 'tea' than a full ink of the pigment and gets lighter and lighter until the pen is dry and must be re-dipped.  This is something that can be used to advantage in drawing, but it will take practice.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Poems for November

 some poems that have flowed out of my nib pen lately as I practice my left handed handwriting


Along Together

And we walked along in these woods, together,

along the path that few had chosen before,

the path was not well marked and at times

the ground was unforgiving,

the stones were sharp against our feet,

but on we continued

for we were together, after all

and there will always be stones

along any path


The Broken Shell

I went to the ocean and

brought back a shell

There were so many

but I did not have to choose

the ocean delivered it to my feet,

but then I decided it was for me,

and that, was a choice, indeed

(fragment on a drawing) : 

Upon this Earth we stand

for this we are given

and take forward

Clifden Castle

Oh to see those halls, to sit in those stones, once more

although, in truth, I have never been

yet these words

they echo through 

the empty windows of the photographs





With Wonder

I wondered

and that was the key to it all - 

that simple act, so easily overlooked

and yet without it 

where would we be?

A world without wonder, 

itself a thought unfathomable without the very deed -

and at that musing,

I was amused again

at how wonderful it all can be 

Thursday, November 11, 2021

The bits

 I wake up.

I'm already tired again.

I went to sleep at five yesterday, was up for maybe an hour in the night, and still, it is not enough.  Some days get like this - I could sleep for twelve hours and still feel like it is the middle of the night.

I think about drawing, about the sometimes silly feeling goals I have to get a picture of this building, or try to draw something in this pose ... at these fatigued times they seem so much more 'unnecessary' and 'inconsequential' in the long run.  I tell myself this is because of the fatigue, and not because of the worthiness of my art goals.  Goals are what we have to keep us going through the 'leaf debris' between point A and point B.  Even in the fatigue, I am proud of the blue garage painting I did - it stands as a high point in all of the other tiring moments in between.. moments that had to happen to get to that one.

And there are all of the other mental drains that seem to pull more on me than they should, sometimes, especially in these fatigue days.  I try to be present.  That's a good goal.  I try to get done the big things that are requested or expected of me.  That's also a good goal.  I know that a lot of the little things will be seen as I simply forgot or scatterbrained or decided against them.  In some ways, I did.  

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Left handed vs Right handed

My left hand (on the left), my right hand (with the weird perspective skew it gets on almost anything not head-on)
Mark (my husband) told me a 'captain obvious' today - Maybe it's time to  give up the illusion you were EVER right handed.  They told you to use your right hand -insisted on it, because you technically 'could' you did.  You were 'ambidextrous' - but maybe you were never supposed to use your right hand at all - it's like you've been compensating for it all your life, seeing the images through some 'translation' (I said 'like a prism').. yes, like a prism - and it warps it.  Maybe you should practice with your left exclusively now, get good at that.

It's like starting over.  But - it does see the 'true form' better than my right...  I've practiced here and there like it was some sort of trick to do one or the other - but I think he's 'right'.. I've been left handed my whole life using my right hand because I was told to.

This is how well I can write cursive with my left without much practice.  I remember my brother, who is left-handed, had to show me how to loop letters together with his left hand in order for me to figure out how to do it right handed.. way back when I was about 7 and he was 17.  He also taught me to tie my shoes left handed, because I had failed over and over at school to learn it the way they tried.  
That was SUCH a hard year - they kept trying and trying and I cried and threw the thing often.  I tried at home SO much, to get it right, on the shoe board thing they sent home with us... but it was my brother Bill who showed me the way I still do it today - and they finally just accepted that at school because it worked.. they didn't know I did it compared to what they wanted me to do - but it worked.  
None of those teachers were left-handed or knew someone who was - I'm just guessing... because I remember the conversation with my mom about 'well if it works, why can't she do it that way?' and then they decided I could and marked 'Pass' on that skill.

And yet with all of that, this is still surprising.
It is going to take practice - the way the ink comes out of a pen, pigment out of a pencil etc.. is just different enough to feel it especially when shading.  That is going to take the most practice.  I've always said 'I might be able to construct with my left hand for drawing, but it can't color for nothing....'... well, just have to keep trying.


Friday, October 29, 2021


The green shawl I made this summer while I was waiting for them to do my eye surgeries. It was something I could do (all one stitch straight across) and keep my mind off things. 
I finally sewed up all the ends yesterday and patched the one spot where the dark green yarn had frayed to a single strand and I hadn't noticed until after they fixed my eyes -- when I was at the end of it. It looks like it will hold with the repair and I am still quite happy with it. It fits around my shoulders and neck and is very warm, just like the one I had made with this yarn before. 
More than that - it's a sort of 'container' for that time and all the thoughts and uncertainty that was in those hours, but I was still pressing on with doing things rather than sit there and stare at the wall thinking about things I couldn't make happen faster or fix by myself.