What to read? What to read?

Mom and I like to order from Dover Books now and again. Often she’ll want coloring books, bookmarks and such and I’ll look through the catalogue and fill in the order with things to give us free shipping or use of a coupon etc. It’s a happy joining of purposes.

This time I ordered two books I hadn’t spotted before and now, well friends I hardly know where to begin I am so enamored of both!

The first to jump into my cart was the book by John Pike on watercolor. My home palette is by John Pike and I knew he was a Woodstock NY painter. This is a reprint of the 1974 edition of his book, originally published in 1966. Here’s an illustration of the palette, still in production and still a favorite of many.

Fortunately, we needed a little more for this order and I found another book I’d not seen before, The Welsh Fairy Book by W. Jenkyn Thomas, a 2001 reprint of the original 1907 edition. There are a few familiar tales and one that revealed one of those happy coincidences – I’ve named a family in my NaNoWriMo story Gadarn which is just perfect for them.

Guess I’ll just have to read both at once!

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Back to Work

There’s always a little pause after NaNoWriMo during which the desire to keep writing (even not at that pace) is overwhelmed by fatigue and the rushing stress that is December and the holidays. Some of that fatigue was also being sick which turned out to be a stealth sinus infection.

But now – a brand new year!

In the past few days I’ve done some writing and some painting so we’re on track for a good year. So far the temperatures are definitely not conducive to anything like plein air work but I’m going to try and convince myself that car-sketching is a thing.

First I sat down and did four small quickies.

Yesterday I treated myself to a “Paint-along” with my via-Patreon-tutor, Alan Owen. These often don’t go as planned because as he’s filming he gets to turn off the camera and let things dry. I often miss the skip and keep painting and then have to either go back later or figure out how to fix what’s going on. Still a good learn. To me, his trees don’t look like my trees. Around here most of the trees are bare and so the tree line is a brown/grey with a lot of pines mixed in. (Sorry for the iffy screenshot but it is enough to show the trees. Also many brit trees have their trunks covered in thick vines, which he also shows here.)

Here’s the photo I took while it was all still a bit damp.

And then another when quite dry.

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Happy Birthday J.R.R – and Happy New Year to Us All!

Happy Birthday J.R.R.!

…the night-sky was still dim and pale. There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach. His song in the Tower had been defiance rather than hope; for then he was thinking of himself. Now, for a moment, his own fate, and even his master’s, ceased to trouble him. He crawled back into the brambles and laid himself by Frodo’s side, and putting away all fear he cast himself into a deep untroubled sleep.

~~J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, Book II, The Land of Shadow.

Have you ever wondered what it would have been like to be a Tolkien kid and have the shaper of Middle Earth read you a bedtime story? This Brain Pickings Tolkien post has two separate recordings of JRR reading aloud!

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Christmas Past

My brother and I visiting Santa at the North Pole.

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Merry Christmas 2018

Merry Christmas Everyone!

In a wonderful confluence of weird retail scheduling and Christmas I ended up with Christmas Eve, Christmas and December 26th off. This is probably the second (third at most) day-after I’ve not worked in the past sixteen years so I’ll not complain.

This morning I was lucky enough to catch the lessons and carols from Kings College Chapel on the radio which was just wonderful. I may not be in the religious mind but the music is incredible. What voices! That’s a fine tradition, up there with listening to Arlo do Alice’s Restaurant on Thanksgiving.

Had a lovely lasagna dinner with the family at Kate and Aaron’s house tonight and we’ll return there tomorrow morning for gifting. We enjoyed some lovely New Zealand wine – The Ned Pinot Noir – with our dinner and then tucked into desserts of bouche noel and a Jello-Raspberry-Sherbet recipe from Peg’s childhood.

We’re expecting snow tomorrow according to the weather guys so we shall see. Meanwhile, have a peaceful Christmas Eve and may the Jingle Bells Be With You!

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