Thursday, January 31, 2008

My Dad is Better Than Your Dad

IMG_0002, originally uploaded by diahn.

This photo was taken half his age ago. I remember when it was taken, although I wasn't there. He was in Greece, stationed there by the Air Force for a year, and the rest of us were in Alabama, living with my mother's parents. I remember the day he came home. I was 6 years old, and I was so afraid that I wouldn't be able to recognize him after a year. My grandmother told me to not worry - I would always know my daddy.

She was right. Although, when he started snoring later at the house, I was scared.

My dad was gone a lot when I was young - in the service of our country - but his presence was always there. He worked two or three jobs (including the military) most of my life, sleeping whenever he could grab a nap. He worked hard so my mom could stay home with me and my brother and sister. He worked hard because that's how his father worked. He worked hard because that's just the kind of guy he is.

My favorite memories of my dad when I was little was when we would go to the lake to go swimming. Dad could hold his breath longer than anyone I have ever met. We would watch him go under the water WAAAAAYYY over THERE...we'd be completely silent, waiting to see if we could find a clue to where he was going, when suddenly, without warning, one of us would go flying up out of the water, propelled by his powerful arms.

You can't buy that kind of fun. Suspense, adrenaline...FLIGHT.

My boys tell me he still does it, although I haven't witnessed it in a while.

He can build and/or fix anything, as long as he has a hammer and a roll of wire. Maybe some duct tape. I'm pretty sure they modeled McGyver on him. When I wrecked my first car, about 2 weeks after I got it, we spent some quality time together in the garage, putting it back together. It didn't matter that I was a girl - I wrecked it...I would have to fix it. It was hot, greasy, smelly work and I loved it. Whenever I smell an engine now, I think of those nights we spent together under the hood of my pretty, wrecked, fire engine red Chevy. I drove it for 2 years with a primer gray hood and blue headlight covers. Then he finally found a nose piece and grill and we got to have it painted one color.

From him I got my height, my blue eyes, my gigantic teeth and my stick straight hair. I also got a love of reading (okay - more like an obsession), a strong desire to express my opinions, a love of all things mechanical and/or electronic and a fearlessness that sometimes leads to impulsiveness (but in a good way, of course). I also learned from him how a man should treat his wife...

...with respect and love and tenderness and a healthy dose of chocolate.

Happy Birthday, Daddy. I love you very much.

(and yes - I'm almost 40, but he'll always be my Daddy.)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Two Bens

Graphite and Graphitint Ben
On the left side of the spread, Ben in Mars Lumograph 8b pencil and graphiting pencils, wetted with a brush.
Blind Contour of Ben
And on the right side of the spread, Ben in pen and Neocolor II, as a blind contour.
I think this one captures his decidedly wonky personality.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Another Fishy

Another fishy, originally uploaded by diahn.

This is another fish block print that I've painted. I started out using gouache in the background, but it really wasn't working for me, so I sprayed the whole surface of the paper and just dropped in acrylic ink here and there.

I've been a bit absent, lately, I know. I finally got my braces on, and I've been trying to adjust to them. It's been a little less than a week, now, and I am starting to feel human again, although I sound a bit strange, I think. In any case - I've go two years of this coming up, so I'll have to figure a way to deal with it, now won't I?

On the plus side - who needs collagen injections when your lips have to cover braces?

Monday, January 14, 2008

Moleskine 1.11-1.12.08

Moleskine 11.11-11.12.08, originally uploaded by diahn.

It's Monday. AGAIN. Where does the week go? Wow.

I had a chance to sit an sketch a couple of times over the weekend. Often, I don't, as it's family time and I like to hang out with my hubby. But, Friday night I managed to do a blind contour drawing of Chico (and half of Oscar's head) while they slept on their beds, and Saturday I found myself with a few minutes before my hair appointment, so I sat in the car and drew the light across the street from Jerry's Artarama.

For that drawing, I used the Mars Lumograph 8b pencils that I had just purchased at Jerry's, on the suggestion of Laura. They're very nice - rich and dark and a little waxier than traditional graphite 8b's. Interesting. I'll have to play a little more.

Now, I'm off to my desk to paint. I've got a couple of ideas floating around in this crazy (but newly re-blonded) head of mine, and I've got to see where they go. It's possible they will go right into the trashcan, but you never know, now do you??

Friday, January 11, 2008

Fishy Fun

Fishy Fun, originally uploaded by diahn.

For some reason, ever since Linda and I had our meeting and I teased her about the fishy sketchbook, I've had fish on the brains. I even cooked fish the other night. Sheesh.

Anyhow - on the left is a leafy (or is it weedy) sea dragon on 140lb wc paper in my large Moleskine sketchbook. I used gouache to absolutely no effect here. It can't always be gorgeous, you know.

On the right is another block I carved from a koi sketch, then colored with aquacolor. The flowers are from some decorative papers I found lying around the office when I was cleaning out the other day.

glub. gurgle. glermph.

That's real fish talk.

No lie.

Have a Cup

Have a Cup, originally uploaded by diahn.

I love gouache, I love gouache...

Oh yes I do.

And I wish I had pink tiles somewhere in my house. How fun is that? Pink and orange. Oh my gosh. I'd be in heaven.

I worked from a photo reference I got at the Reference Library on WetCanvas. I loved the composition, but hated the colors (all brown and gray and blahhhh.) So I made it more, ummm...ME!

I really believe my love of pink stems directly from the disproportionate number of men in my household. I don't recall loving pink so much when I was single. Counting the critters, it's now 6 to 1. A girl just needs some pink every now and again.

Or a mani-pedi. With pink polish. And rhinestones.

Now, where's my tiara?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Mahi Mahi Block Print

Mahi Mahi Block Print, originally uploaded by diahn.

Just playing. Stuck on fish. I blame Linda.

I cut a linoleum block using a sketch I did over Thanksgiving, then printed it onto 140 lb cold press. I painted it with gouache, which was a little tricky, because the only printing ink I had was water soluble, so it mixed in here and there with the paints. I kind of like the flat head juxtaposed against the more modeled body.

I only said that so I could use the word "juxtaposed" in a sentence.

It's 14x11", by the way...

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

A Boy and a Girl

A long time ago in a land far away...
okay - nine years ago in Florida -

A boy made a promise to a girl - a promise to love, honor, cherish, bring a fresh cup of coffee to her in the morning to wake her up - in sickness and in health. And every day since then, all 3,285 days, he's done just that. Well, except for the coffee thing - but he did have to travel for work occasionally.

It was a gamble nine years ago. They hadn't known each other long - just 3 months, in fact. But, it has turned out to be a winning proposition. A whirlwind courtship, and whirlwind wedding at the coast, and a whirlwind of activity over the last nine years - they've made 2 beautiful children, built 3 houses, raised dogs and cats, bought countless cars and a pop-up camper. They've laughed and cried and held hands and traveled and grown in faith and love and joy and promise.

Nine years is not much in the great scheme of things, I know, but it represents so much to this couple. It's a number on the way to a greater number. Her parents just celebrated their 45th anniversary, his will have their 50th at the end of the month. There are people who said this crazy marriage wouldn't last a year, maybe three. But this couple knew better. They knew like you know when you've walked in the door to your home.

It just feels like home.

I love you, R. More now, 9 years later, than the day on the beach when we held out the camera and took this picture.



Tuesday, January 08, 2008


Rooster, originally uploaded by diahn.

What is it with me and roosters? I don't know. This handsome little fellow was one of the photos on this past weekend's drawing event over at WetCanvas, and I couldn't resist him any more than I can resist a Hershey's Kiss.


More gouache on cold press. I'm really liking these paints a LOT.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

An Apple A Day

An Apple A Day, originally uploaded by diahn.

There's nothing like finishing your painting for the week at the last possible moment of the week. 11:45 pm and I just finished. I've also got 2 others in the works, so I think it was a productive day!

Okay - get ready - I think I'm having an epiphany over here. Have you ever worked really hard at trying to be something and then you do something else and you wonder if maybe you should concentrate on that instead? Here's the thing - I work really hard on my acrylic paintings. I LIKE them, but every now and then, I wonder why I'm not doing this kind of thing every day.

This is gouache on paper - not acrylic on canvas. Linda filled a palette up for me when she bought some gouache a few days back (yes, she really is that kind and wonderful...I'm completely blown away by her generosity.) So - I thought, while I waited for the layers to dry on the acrylic painting I'm doing, I would work on this painting - just to pass the time and play a little. Not serious work - that's the stuff on the canvas.


I love it. I got finished and I loved it. I loved painting it. I slung some paint around and got it on my jeans and I loved it.

And then I added another glaze of paint to my acrylic painting. And then I came back to my desk and flung some more paint.


Thoughts, anyone? Can one be both a paint flinger and a meticulous layer builder? Am I developing some sort of artistic multiple personality disorder. Is it a psychartic break?


This obviously bears much more experimentation and thinking. I started this apple with the thought that I would incorporate it into a larger, acrylic mixed media canvas, but I like it too much to ruin it. I think I'll go have a mat cut for it and frame it. It's 7 x 10.5, by the way.

It's late.

I'll go ponder this while I drift off to sleep. Thanks for listening...

Sleeping Ben

Sleeping Ben, originally uploaded by diahn.

I took some photos of Ben around the house yesterday and as he was trying to sleep on the couch in my studio. He'd had about enough and was shielding his eyes from the flash, so I put the camera down and decided to draw him instead.

I've never used gouache before, as is quite evident in the painting - but I'll learn. (Thanks, Linda!)

Friday, January 04, 2008


Garnet, originally uploaded by diahn.

One earring from my favorite pair of garnet danglies. These are the kind of earrings that you put on and just immediately feel a little more feminine, but not you know what I mean?

Pencil and Lyra Aquacolor in my large Moleskine sketchbook.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


I just ordered one of these from Ms. Janey's Etsy shop. There are only 2 left, so you should hurry on order and clean her out.

I'm gonna get some mail...I'm gonna get some mail...


Wednesday, January 02, 2008

That seems fishy...

This drawing is for Linda, who thought the idea of a fish-themed sketchbook was strange. I think it could work. Really.
And I thought I'd show off my new personalized Moleskine sketchbook I tricked out today. That's a glossy postcard of one of my favorite paintings and a stripe of aluminum tape. (You can get aluminum tape at your local home improvement center in the a/c ducting aisle...)
Cover of new Moleskine Sketchbook
In real life the postcard and the stripe are straight. I'm too lazy to straigten it in my photo editing program, and I didn't put it on the scanner straight - just tilt your head to the right about 2 degrees.
You'll be fine.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


Primitive Baptist Church Steeple

Linda and I met for lunch and goal-tending today. We haven't met in a while, the last quarter of the year getting far too full of other life necessities and obligations. So, as usual, we spent a lot of time on ridiculous stories and guffawing and causing the other patrons of the eating establishment to wonder who those crazy (but undeniably gorgeous) women were.

We also managed a little business. One year ago, we sat down at the same restaurant and did the same thing. We set goals and talked about them - sometimes to calm each other down and other times to encourage us to stretch more - and then went about our year with a plan. It was a great success. We had goals and accountability and nudges and we really accomplished what we set out to do. So...we're going to try to build on that success in 2008.

My goals are lofty again, I think, but I'd rather have to work hard to rise to the occasion. I feel the need to s t r e t c h. So - in no particular order...the 2008 goals...

  • Work in mixed media - canvas and paper, watercolor, acrylic ink, acrylic and gouache. I really feel like I have two parts to myself - the painter who uses acrylics in a modified flemish technique to produced very modeled forms (which I really enjoy doing) and the painter who likes to fling watery thin paints around on paper and see what happens (which I also really enjoy doing). I am going to work this year on combining the two into something fresh and exciting. I would also like to try my hand at assemblages and mobiles - this is not as urgent as the other - just something I'd like to try this year.

  • Paint still life from life - I don't know why - but I really want to explore the still life - from it's classical aspects to a more modern, contemporary approach. I've not done many - at least not with more than one object, so this will be a stretch for me, and combined with the first goal, should make for some interesting experiments.

  • One Painting Per Week - Yes, I know people do one a day these days, but you can't do flemish technique in a day, even with acrylics. So - I am going to produce one painting a week. That's 52 in one year. Dang.

  • One Drawing Per Day - I almost did this in December, and I really enjoyed the kind of meditative, zen aspect of just grabbing an object and concentrating wholly on it for a few minutes. I'm planning to continue that discipline. I'd kind of like to have a plan for the types of items I'm going to draw in month to month divisions, but it's already January 1 and I don't have the foggiest notion of what those will be, so I think I'll let it be an organic process...

  • Time Management - I have 3 mornings a week, when the boys are at the co-op school, to concentrate on painting, uninterrupted. My plan is to guard those 12 hours with locks at the door and telephones on mute and electric fences if necessary. THAT is painting time. I can buy groceries and vacuum floors when the boys are with me. It's just that simple. I will also use 2 other half days to plan out marketing my artwork.

  • Collaborate - This is something Linda and I have talked about before, but we're making it a priority this year. We're going to collaborate on some artwork. We don't have a clue what that means yet. So - we'll be meeting in mid January for a brainstorming session, and then make a decision on what we'll be doing no later than Valentine's Day. Why Valentine's Day? It's a month after our brainstorming session, it's pink, there's lots of love. Why the heck not?

So - that's that. I've got some other things in the furnace of my brain, but they're not quite ready for the public yet. Maybe next week. One of them involves changing blog platforms and incorporating my photography more regularly, as I really enjoyed that in November. Stay tuned.