Saturday, December 29, 2007

Pear Up

I've got pears on the brain the last couple of days. I don't really know why, except I'm officially tired of drawing Christmas stuff. We finished taking all the decorations down today, with the exception of the outside icicle lights, which will come down on New Year's Day. As much as I love it, I'm always glad to get my house back.

I have a set of decorative pears that I bought at Target a while back - YES they are fake, but they can sit out and the dogs don't try to eat them or anything. Ben did try to make one into a cat toy yesterday, so I picked it up and drew it instead. I had some 140 lb watercolor paper (cold press) torn into ATC sizes leftover from a project, so I used it. My Lyra Aquacolor crayons were nearby on the kitchen table, so that's what I used to paint it.

Today I cleared the sewing stuff off my studio table and got out some larger sheets of watercolor paper to play with. I grabbed the pear from the ottoman and brought it upstairs. I first tried a little acrylic ink, which got way too wacky on me, although I almost like it.

And then I grabbed the Aquacolors again for the last one - I used a little too much water and the shadow ran off with my pear color, but I kind of like the background-free design of it.

There's more to come, soon, I hope. I've been out of the studio way too long and it is showing. My drawing skills have done well over the month of December, but really handling paint has kind of escaped me.

I'm thinking of my 2008 goals, and I'll get them posted as soon as I run them by Linda. We'll meet up on January 1 to get them on paper. It's so nice to have an art buddy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Monkey Business

Monkey Business, originally uploaded by diahn.

The week of Christmas is always a challenge. As much as I love Christmas, it always seems like things fly by and no one remembers to say thank you and we forgot to read the Christmas story until the very end and I didn't even get to watch Rudolph. sigh.

One of the things that adds to it is that my husband and I managed to have our first child 2 days before Christmas, so we're always having to figure out how to incorporate his birthday into all the craziness, without forgetting that it is important. That's just way too many presents in a 3-day time period for one kid, you know? Well, anyway...

D is 8 years old now - tall and handsome and clever. He's in that strange period of a boy's life where Hot Wheels and Legos and Nintendo DS's are starting to take over stuffed animals, but they haven't knocked them out completely, you know? In honor of my little monkey boy I got him a little monkey Webkin, which he promptly named "Kitty." Boys.

On the right hand side of the spread is a toy we made out at Cade's Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We drove up on the day after Christmas, which was a chilly, but beautiful day. The sky was gloriously blue, deer were abundant and tourists were not. The rangers had set up an exhibition station with period toys and the change to make ones for ourselves. We all made "buzz saws," a wooden button on a string that you wind and then pull in and out between your hands while it turns, like a buzz saw. It was fun and a nice little necklace to wear while we were walking.

And the new kitten thought it was brilliant.

Maybe tomorrow I wil post the deer pictures - and the sky really was glorious...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Little Ben

Little Ben, originally uploaded by diahn.

We brought Ben home today. He was at our vet's office, waiting for a home and we were in need of a kitten. He's about 2 months old, they think, playful and a bit wild.

Oscar and Chico are reserving judgement until later.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Peanut Butter Blossoms

Peanut Butter Blossoms

ink and water soluble crayons in large Moleskine sketchbook

D and I made these earlier in the week. J was off playing at his friend's house for the afternoon, so he didn't get to participate in the making, although he did enjoy the eating. Today was the first day I've felt like eating a cookie, so I sat down with them and took a bite and started drawing. They really are quite delicious. You can find the recipe at Hershey's website. Yummm.

On an art materials note - I really like how the water soluble crayons behave in this sketchbook. Watercolors have always proved difficult to handle on the slick Moleskine paper, but I've been using both Lyra and Neocolor II crayons with great success. I use my water brush and take the color right off the tip of the crayon (as if they were pan watercolors), then either mix it in the top of the tin or apply it directly to the paper. I saw where Kate Johnson had done that on a recent trip when she lost her watercolor palette, and thought I'd give it a whirl.

And I just wanted to say thanks for all the sympathy - it's been much appreciated. It's hard to accept sympathy for something that I've elected to have done, and in 24 months I certainly won't need any sympathy 'cause my teeth'll be so purty...

I'll try to not whine too much in the meantime.


Wednesday, December 19, 2007


This month has more than halfway slipped away - packing so much in a short period of time must be detrimental to ones health. I've hardly blinked and suddenly we're less than a week to Christmas. How does that happen? Even in trying to capture each day in my sketchbook, I've fallen behind and caught up and fallen behind and forgotten. Why do we do this to ourselves every year? I LOVE Christmas, but I hate the busy-ness of the Holiday Season.

Or I could just be cranky because I let someone yank my teeth out.

On Monday, the tooth behind my extraction had a filling crack and fall out, so I spent yesterday at the dentist getting a temporary filling, which promptly fell out again 5 hours later. So...guess what I did today? Yep - back again, this time with different material that will (with fingers crossed) hang on until I can go back for a permanent replacement filling. After I had my teeth extracted, I had a dream that all my other teeth fell out.


Okay - on to the sketches. I'm playing catch up here, and please forgive me if teeth completely gross you out or anything - I really did draw them - they're very interesting.


The first sketch is of a glass reindeer ornament that my dear friend Maynelle gave to me. It's one of those that if I had another (pretty white retro-type) tree, I would give it a place of honor upon it. The second sketch is pretty self explanatory, except to say that the teeth on the top should only have two roots each and one of them had THREE. Yeah - I'm just that cool. (By the way - the teeth I've drawn on the top are actually my bottom teeth, and teeth on the top are my bottom teeth. But I did draw them facing the correct way...)


On the left was SUPPOSED to be a drawing of a silver reindeer candle holder, with all it's pretty reflections. Ummm. Well. We'll just blame it on the pain meds.

On the right is Chico, curled up in my lap, which technically isn't a Christmas decoration, it's a living, breathing, ornery chihuahua, but we were watching a Christmas movie while I drew him, and he does kind of look like the Grinch's dog Max, although he acts more like the Grinch.


And lastly, at least for now, is the two-headed chicken. This stuffed toy used to hang from a cross piece on D's play blanket when he was an infant. He would stare at it, and try to grab it and coo and all those cute things babies do when they are tiny. The thing is, he didn't react to the other dangly toys on the play mat - just this one, which I dubbed "The Two-Headed Chicken" way back when. So, when it came time to put away the playmat, after J had used it, too, I just couldn't part with the two-headed chicken.

So. Naturally. I hung it on the Christmas tree.

There ya go.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas 013, originally uploaded by diahn.

These little teardrop ornaments dangle from my dining room chandelier. I got them last year and they were just lost on my tree, so I decided to hang them from the chandelier - they stayed until about March, I think. They're so pretty and delicate, like mermaid tears, or something.

I'm recovering my my teeth-ectomy. I did a little drawing of them today, but I haven't scanned it yet - Is that gross? The actual teeth grossed Dr. SmartyPants out quite a bit, but the boys thought they were cool.

The tooth fairy still hasn't shown up.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

The Stockings Were Hung

Christmas 019, originally uploaded by diahn.

No drawing today - sorry - I started one last night, but didn't finish it, and today isn't looking like it's going to happen. I'm off to the oral surgeon in an hour or so and expect to spend the rest of the day in a distant land called Versed. In a couple of weeks, you will be able to call me "brace face" or "metal mouth", until then, you can call me "hillbilly..."

I made these stockings a couple of years ago with raw canvas. I cut out the pattern, painted them, then sewed them together and glued on the pom pom fringe. It was all pretty easy, except the turning them inside out part - I used regular (craft) acrylic paint, and it stiffens up so much, I didn't think I'd ever get them turned! But they finally worked, and they are hanging from the mantle now...ready for some goodies...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I'm a Little Bit Country...

Guitar Ornament, originally uploaded by diahn.

...and a little bit Rock and Roll.

I bought this little ornament the other day to commemorate learning to play the guitar this year. It's not exactly like my guitar, but it is close enough. I like my acoustic/electric because I can play a little hoe-down and then switch on the amplifier to rock out if I want.

It suits the many sides of me...

inktense pencils in my large Moleskine sketchbook.

Christmas 007

And for you photo lovers out there - here's my dining room, all the way around...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Flying Santa

Flying Santa, originally uploaded by diahn.

This is another ornament I bought for one of the boys, back in 2002. It's a resin ornament, but looks kind of like ceramic. I just love his little joyful face - like I think I would look if I suddenly discovered I could fly. I hung it from my desk lamp to paint it.

I used Dr. Ph. Martin's Radiant Concentrated Water Color - which is WAY concentrated - lordy. I had to go back on the body and add some white acrylic ink after the red just got WAY to dark.


Sunday, December 09, 2007

Angels and Heaven

Angels and Heaven, originally uploaded by diahn.

Yesterday, I drew the angel from my nativity set. It's interesting to me that the angels in nativity sets are always female, even though Biblically speaking, they aren't. In the Bible, they are either referred to as masculine, or the gender is neglected altogether (i.e. "Heavenly Host" of angels). But - you never see a nativity set with a big warrior-like male angel, sword at his side. I wonder what it is that makes us feminize them? hmmmm...


And today I drew a little bit of heaven. Or, rather, I drew what was left after I finished eating a little bit of heaven. I'm pretty sure that Hershey's Kisses were dropped straight from the pearly gates. yummmm.

pencil and inktense pencils

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Just Whisper it in His Ear

Just Whisper it in His Ear, originally uploaded by diahn.

There once was a boy named "D"
Who would not sit on Santa's knee.
Once we tried, but OH, how he cried.
And so - it was never to be.

I'll be back later with the drawing for the day. I just couldn't resist posting this picture. Five years later - still has never actually spoken to THE MAN.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Only 18 Drawing Days Left...

I finished my yesterday drawing this morning and then I did my today drawing today, too. As a result, neither are terribly good. But - I did them, and that is the goal of the month, now isn't it?

I drew the Mary figurine from our Nativity scene. It's funny - when I was a kid, I wanted our family to be Catholic. We were members of a large, well known, denomination, but it seemed that most of my friends were Catholic. I just loved to visit church with them - it was all so mystical and liturgical and pretty. My church didn't have carvings and paintings and altar pieces and incense - it had burgandy carpet and a really badly painted mural behind the baptistry that was supposed to represent the Jordan River, I suspect. I didn't make me want to visit the Holy Land.

I loved the idea of confession and repentance and penance, too. My church really didn't want to know you had ever sinned, and they didn't seem to have an insurance policy if you did. I wanted a priest, by golly. And a rosary.

ANYhow - I drew Mary, although I kind of think she looks like a cross between Mary and the Buddha. I used my Lamy Vista fountain pen, and just smudged the ink with a waterbrush.


Today's drawing is of a couple of keychains that Ron and I bought in Berlin. We had been in Germany for about 10 days, and were flying out the next morning, so we thought we'd go in search of an ornament as a souvenir. Yes, it was June, but come on - you should be able to find an SOUVENIR ornament! Well, we couldn't, even after going in every single shop that we could spot - I even looked for a Checkpoint Charlie ornament, but no such luck. Finally, we found these little keychains that were shaped like the crossing lights in what was East Berlin. I thought it was so strange that the lights were so happy in East Berlin, when the architecture was so dismal. Strange. Anyway - they hang on our tree instead of a proper ornament, but we love them anyway...

Christmas 026

This photo is just for fun - I made this ornament (and a few others that hang on my tree) when I was in Kindergarten. I can still remember sitting at the kitchen table and painting them while my mom puttered in the kitchen. I still try to make at least one ornament a year, almost 35 years later. We'll be putting the finishing touches on this year's tomorrow, so Daddy can help.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Self Portrait with Deer

Self Portrait with Deer, originally uploaded by diahn.

Feeling a little kicked around today. Trampled. Frustrated. Nothing terrible - just one of those days in the life of a homeschooling mom that makes you want to pull your hair out. NOTHING was accomplished today that could be considered creative or worthwhile, althought I did get to eat a chocolate glazed Krispy Kreme doughnut, and I didn't even have to pay for it. (Thanks, C. - I needed that!)


I'm going to do my Christmas drawing for the day - maybe it will put me back into the spirit. So - tomorrow should be a double drawing post kind of day. In the meantime - here's me...getting kicked around by one of those sleigh-pullers.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Christmas in Whoville

Christmas in Whoville, originally uploaded by diahn.
pencil and inktense in large Moleskine sketchbook

I bought this little metal Christmas tree at a local discount store a few weeks ago - it cost me about $3, I think. It stands about 10 inches hight and is shiny and sparkly - the base is covered with glitter, and the jingle bells really jingle.

It sits on the pedestal sink in my guest bath and is just adorable. It reminds me of the tree the Grinch stuffed up the chimney in "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." I need a miniature Cindy Lou Who to stand next to it.

Have I mentioned that I love Christmas?

I was going to wrap presents this morning while the boys were at school, but SOMEONE forgot to open the secret hiding place for me, so there are still NO presents under the tree. (Thanks a lot Ron-OLD).

Oh, I'm going to get such mileage out of that one...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like CHRISTMAS!


We're continuing our decorating frenzy - cutting and pasting and molding and painting... The boys and I made these "snowflakes" last week with different lengths of paper and some staples. I hung them up on the entry way chandelier and voila! Instant mobile. When they came home from school and walked in, they both went, "! Mom - how did you get them up there?" That secret remains mine, lest they decide to hang up some poor playmobil pirate as punishment someday.

We watched "Rudoph's Shiny New Year," last night - a poor substitute for the original, but better than no Christmas programming at all. I decided I should draw Rudolph in my Moleskine while we watched.


The boys and I also started making new ornaments out of air dry clay, but they aren't dry yet, so we haven't been able to paint them. As soon as they are painted and dry, I'll take photos - we rolled the clay out like cookie dough and used Christmas cookie cutters to stamp out the shapes. Then the boys decided to use some of my old scrapbooking letter stamps to add our initials to all of them. They should be very fun when they are finished. And then maybe I can get my new tree...a pretty white one that will let my blown glass ornaments sparkle...


In the meantime - here's a drawing of my favorite Christmas napkin rings. I got them at Target a couple of years ago in their dollar bins, but I think they are SO cute!!

Napkin Rings

Monday, December 03, 2007

Rocking Horse

Rocking Horse, originally uploaded by diahn.

This ornament represents the start of my obsession with Christmas ornaments. I bought it at a school craft fair when I was in the sixth grade, with money I had saved from babysitting neighbor kids. I don't even know what it is made of - it's light but rigid and painted with a silver metallic paint.

I still remember picking it out at the little store they had set up. I think I was supposed to be buying something for my brother and sister...

The obsession continues to this day - I love Christmas ornaments and decorations and lights husband has cut me off this year. I actually NEED a new tree - I can't fit all my ornaments on the one we have. I NEED one just for my blown glass ornaments. Come on - you understand, don't you?

I can stop anytime I want...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

J's Ornament

J's Ornament, originally uploaded by diahn.

And because I did D's ornament yesterday, here is J's from this year. It looks kind of like a cross between an armadillo and a lizard, with a springy tail and a bouncy head. I didn't manage to get the metal look across on this painting, unfortunately - I think because I painted it half before church and half after church and I forgot that I was going to save some whites...

BTW - J stood over my shoulder the entire time I did this and watched and asked questions and then told me I was the best artist in the whole world.

Now that kind of critique I can handle...

Saturday, December 01, 2007

D's Ornament

D's Ornament, originally uploaded by diahn.

This is a little metal froggie ornament that I got at Target. Every year when I was growing up, my mom would buy us an ornament and put our name and the year on it somewhere. When we grew up and moved out of the house, she gave us all those ornaments for our own trees. I'm doing the same for my boys.

This one is the ornament that I bought for D for 2007. It's fly is on a spring mount, so it jiggles back and forth - I just loved the little bug-eyed expression on it. Why a frog for Christmas? Heck, I don't know - why not? It doesn't have to make sense, does it? It's kind of quirky - he's kind of quirky - it all fits together somehow...

Oh - and does anyone know of any good handwriting books (not calligraphy)? I really need to do something with mine - it's a bit middle schoolish, I think...


029, originally uploaded by diahn.

So, NaBloPoMo is over, and I can't stop posting. I woke up this morning thinking, "Gee, what shall I post about today," then realized that it was no longer November and, well - what the heck, I'll just keep it daily as long as I can, posting for the sheer love of it.

Speaking of LOVE - I LOVE Christmas. Linda and I were just talking the other day about loving Christmas. I love everything about it - the ornaments, the tree, the garland, baking cookies, parades, presents and the unrelenting scarfing of chocolates. I also love thise ridiculously pink ornaments, which I do believe I blogged a sketch of last year.

I also love having a goal and a deadline, which has worked miracles for me in November in many many ways. SO - I have a goal for December. Every day in December, I'm going to draw one of my ornaments or other Christmas-y goodies. So - don't change this Christmas-channel - The MyDecOrnaMo project has begun...I'll be back later with Drawing Numero Uno...