Monday, December 11, 2017


After thinking about it for a good two years, I finally broke down and got Truman a new friend.

The breeder called him Thumper, but after half a day or so, we decided his real name is Pippin.

However, before I post a lot of puppy pics, I did actually get some drawing in this past week -- something that may not happen again for a while.  Puppies take up a lot of time and energy and don't like to be left alone!

Anyway, Nicole and I got out to Richmond Beach and to a cemetery for some cozy sketching from inside the car.

I tried the view of the Olympics across the Sound with both ink drawing first and without.

Nicole found this tree at the cemetery attractive.  We were surprised at how many leaves are still on some of the trees.

On another of the other COLD days here, I practiced a still life drawing using a small selection from my vast dachshund curio collection.

And on two other COLD days, I sat on the sofa and drew everything I could see from it, and then I sat in the armchair and drew everything I could see from there.  Because I draw directly in ink, things turned out a bit wonky here and there, and not everything is in proper proportion, but I rather like that effect.

Okay, now here is what you really want to see--puppy!

Truman is not too sure yet about this little interloper who has invaded his territory.

Pippin adores Truman, however, and follows him everywhere.

Tru is curious, though cautious.  He's not too keen yet on the pup's rambunctious nature and his sharp little puppy teeth.

We went on our first outing in the car, a ten-minute ride to the pet supply store, during which Pip whimpered the entire way.  Oh joy.

Back home, the cautious curiosity continues.

Along with resignation....

Pippin has some favorite toys, including this tug toy:

But his absolute favorite is the chipmunk, which he brutally attacks and conquers:

Someday these two will be best friends. 

Monday, December 4, 2017

Another wintry week

I know it's not officially Winter yet but it might as well be, what with the constant gray cloud cover and the rain and the cooler days.  It certainly doesn't feel like Autumn, anyway.

In between the rain showers, I managed to get Truman out for walks.  One day we even ventured a little farther out than the neighborhood -- we went to Log Boom Park in Kenmore.

This is a pleasant little spot, often uncrowded (even in Summer).

There were plenty of cormorants out on the old pilings.

The park is just off the Burke-Gilman Trail.  I like to park at the north end of Lake Forest Park Town Center, cross the street to reach the Trail, and then walk along it for one mile to reach the park.  The park itself is small -- the main attraction is the lengthy dock, which is great for waterfowl watching.

There was a good-sized flock of Canvasback ducks on the lake -- they visit only in wintry months.

As for art this past week, I practiced on still lifes either at home or at Tina's.  Here is one that I liked, using the same technique learned in the recent online class that I took.

In dog news, I forced Truman to sit on Santa's lap, and he was not happy about it.  There are always a lot of "pets with Santa" photo shoots at this WINTRY time of year, to benefit various rescue organizations and shelters.  This one was to benefit one of my favorite rescue groups, Old Dog Haven.

And finally, the breeder sent me this pic of the puppies getting their health check at the vet's -- a whole basketful of fun!  Thumper is second from the left.

He is ready for his new home anytime on/after December 10.  I've explained to Truman that he is going to have to share his toys, but so far, he does not appear to be listening.  We shall see.

Monday, November 27, 2017

An Arty Week and a Doggy Week

It rained a lot last week.

I entertained myself by messing about with a tube of indigo watercolor paint -- a very deep, rich color that is fun to play with using wet-in-wet techniques.  This is just playing to see what effects I could come up with:

It would work great for stormy skies, or in the next one, maybe a mysterious forest.

In this one, I tried to create a kind of Chinese-style landscape:

It rained a LOT.  The next thing I did to entertain myself was to take an online class on
called "Dynamic Detail in Pen, Ink, and Watercolor".  The fellow who teaches it, Steven Reddy, has a distinctive style using contour ink drawings, various gradations of ink washes to add value, and a final layer of watercolor.  Then he adds hatch marks in pen at the end.

It's not my style of drawing/painting, but I enjoyed the course and picked up a few new tips. 

On Friday, Nicole and Tina and I joined the Seattle Urban Sketcher group at the Burke Museum on the UW campus for a couple of hours of drawing fun.

Steven Reddy lives in Seattle and is a member of the group, and he turned up that day, so I was able to show him the one drawing I did in which I used a few of his tips and techniques. 

We weren't allowed to use liquids inside the museum, so instead of ink washes, I used three different shades of gray ink-brush pens.  Mr. Reddy did the same thing, and we compared brush pens, and he liked the way mine worked a lot better than his and plans to get some of my brand (Faber-Castell). 

On Sunday it was both rainy and quite windy.  Nicole and Tina came over to my place for a cozy afternoon of still-life sketching, playing/testing out with new materials, and watching some art technique videos.    This was just messing around with granulating watercolors:

Nicole brought along her hurdy-gurdy, which she put together from a kit (from the same company, UGears, that I did my little theater kit from).  It actually plays--Nicole demonstrated it!  I tried to draw it but the design was so complex that about halfway through I gave up trying to get all the details.

And now for a big doggy update.  Here is Truman at the pet store, annoyed at my attempt to accessorize him, and blissfully unaware of the huge change that is about to happen in his life.

And here is the huge change:

This is Thumper, a male longhaired dapple dachshund puppy.

He is eight weeks old, and assuming all goes well with his vet check up, in two weeks he will come to Dog End to be Truman's new buddy!

Oh boy, puppy training!  Housebreaking!  Teething!  Craziness!   And most of all, extreme adorableness!!  Whee!!!!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Truman (As Always), a Little Art, and a Lot of Wind

When I can't get out and about because of the weather, I can always snap photos of Truman, who is obligingly photogenic.  Here he is waiting patiently for his buddy Winston to come over:

He drapes himself over the armchair in such a ridiculous manner that I suspect he is part cat.

And here he is at Meadowbrook Pond Park, wondering, as usual, when we are going to turn around to go home:

There was a lovely Pied-billed Grebe on the pond:

And autumn foliage all around:

The weather prevented me from going out sketching, as it no doubt will for many months to come.  So I did a couple of practice pieces indoors, from photos.  These were from my journey to Great Britain back in 1982.

The beach at Aberystwyth in Wales:

Part of the gardens at Blenheim Palace:

And now for a more mundane update:  yard improvement occurred last week.  Back in October there was a very windy day here, and large sections of a shrub by my carport broke off, landing on the neighbor's driveway.  The shrub was a good 15 feet long and 15 feet high -- and even after the huge branches broke off, parts of it were still threatening to do more damage. 

So I forked over some money to a landscaping crew to take it out, along with a whole lot of blackberry and ivy vines.  Here is what the area looked like before they arrived:

And here it is afterwards:

The "before" view from inside the carport:


My neighbor is a good guy who was very helpful about cleaning up the mess on his side.  I'm glad he can park his car safely in his own driveway now. 

This is how Truman felt about strange people making lots of noise in his driveway when the landscaping crew was here:

Winston was not terribly concerned.

Once again there is rain in the forecast for every day this week.  I signed up for an online art class that I've been wanting to take for some time:  Dynamic Detail in Pen, Ink, & Watercolor, taught by one of our own local urban sketchers.  It went on sale for $15 last week, which made me ever so happy.

So I hope that keeps me occupied on these rainy gray days.