Monday, April 28, 2008

042808 - Now for the Paint!

With all of those reference photos of such GORgeous could I resist painting at least one?  I had one last spread in my little Maruman watercolor sketchbook, and those poppies were calling my name.  

Poppy in Gouache

Gouache and ink.

If you click here, you can see all the paintings in this little book in one Flickr set.  If you want to...

042808 - Can You Stand One More?

One more slide show, that is?  It will probably be the last one for a while.  I took my parents up to Asheville over the weekend to see the brilliant flower festival at the Biltmore house.  STUNNING.  Really.  Wow.

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

042308 - Art Fair Day!

My boys do me so proud.  Last year they did great...this year - great again!

My big man D won the 2nd place ribbon for 2nd grade,

and little man J won the 1st place ribbon for 1st grade.  So symmetrical, don't you think?

Their work will now go on display at the Ijams Nature Center for 2 weeks, along with the other grade level winners.  The fair this year was themed to reflect it's proximity to Earth Day, so all the entries had some sort of reduce, reuse, recycle, conserve theme.  The boys decided on sculptures of animals that were on the endangered or threatened list.

D's is of an American Alligator, which has Threatened Status.

And J's sculpture is an Ivory Billed Woodpecker, which is technically on the Endangered Species List, but none have been seen for decades, I believe.  Some feel it should be on the extinct list.

After they decided what they wanted to make, I gave them a large pile of recyclable materials - soda cans, juice and water bottles, milk cartons, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, boxes, et cetera.  They made the choices of what to use and how to put them together, and then learned how to use the hot glue gun.  THAT was an adventure...glue stringies everywhere...

I made suggestions and held things where they told me to hold them, but other than that it was all theirs.  I also reattached a few things when the KITTEN knocked D's off the table the night before we submitted them.  grrr.

They are fantastic artists and engineers - they have great problem solving skills to fit all these parts together.

I'm a proud mama.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

042208 - Smoky Sketches

I did a little sketching while we were gone, but not nearly as much as I would have liked.  There was so much to look at, but keeping up with two young adventurers slows down the drawing activities considerably.

We took the very easy hike to Cascade Falls, near the Sugarlands Visitor Center on the Gatlinburg edge of the park.  There is a log bench just in front of the falls that sits under a large rhododendron bush.  I leaned back against Dr. Smarty Pants and drew the leaves over my head. 


 I decided to leave them as the contour drawing that I started with - I loved the holes in them and the patterns of shadows they created on the ground.

I tried to draw Oscar as he rested in front of the camper one afternoon, but I think I had my book at an angle or something because his snout is decidedly wonky.


And then...the trillium.  Lovely, marvelous, delicate and yet strong.  What else can I say - they are beautiful.  My drawing...not as beautiful, but at least I have a record of what I saw, no?  (If you want to see some really nice trillium drawings, go see Linda.  She painted the ones in her backyard!


Sunday, April 20, 2008

042008 - More Smoky Fun

We're back - it was great! I'll have more drawings tomorrow, but until's some more photo fun...

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

041708 - Hooky!!

We've thrown off the bonds of cooperative schooling and fled to the hills.  The quiet rush of the stream across the lane is lulling me to sleep, but for you, dear reader, I blog.  Yes.  I mean you...the one with the bleary, bloodshot eyes.  And that other guy over there with the t-shirt that says "beer."  I know my readership, people.

The dogwoods are a-bloomin' here in East Tennessee, and their white blossoms brighten up the landscape considerably.  So lovely, in fact, that on our adventures today I sat right down next to the east or west prong of the Little Pigeon River and drew one.  (I can't keep those prongs straight.)  

Dogwood in Bloom

This is the first time I've ever camped in a place with internet access. It feels a bit like cheating, except that it is very quiet, I can see every single star in the sky and the only light pollution comes from the almost full moon outside. That, and the fact that it touches the boundary of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park is good enough for me.

We had a fantastic, blue-sky, robins-singing kind of day today.  Even the dogs had fun, except our long walk left Sr. Chico rather kaput, with his herniated disk and all.   But that's a story for another day.  Here's a little slideshow of what we did and saw and picked up...

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

041308 - Bait of Champions

Bait of Champions, originally uploaded by diahn.

That's what the packaging says, anyway. I'm thinking it's what champions use...not what lures champions?

Anyhow...we're gearing up for our first camping trip of the season. On my list - nature journals, bird identification books and wildflower guides. On the boys' fishing lures, line and a brand spanking new net. We'll all get our ways - I don't have a fishing license, so we'll be doing nature walks and sketching while Daddy is gone to his meeting and they'll do lots of fishing when he's with us. (I'm not opposed to fishing...there are just alot of other things I can find to occupy my time when we're in the woods...)

The weather looks like it will be fantastic - warmish during the day, coolish at night. Maybe a little rainy-ish over the weekend. We're very hopeful that the 30% chance of rain is more like a 70% chance of NOT rain, though.

I'm really ready to see some stars away from the glow of the city - to hear the choruses of frogs in the trees - to smell the sweet decaying leaves that litter the ground next to the stream - to see the dappled sunlight that makes its way to the ground through the new Spring leaves - to taste s'mores and maybe s'more - to touch the smooth river pebbles on the bank of the river - to hear the smack of the water as they skip across to the other side - to wake up with the rising sun and the chirping of birds.

Only three more sleeps until I can recharge my batteries...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

041208 - A Perfect Day

Perfect Day 2, originally uploaded by diahn.

There are some days that defy description. They start out beautiful and just get beautifuller. (Yes...I know that isn't a word. Thanks.) Today was one of those picture perfect, postcard kind of days. The sky was almost too blue, the flowers were almost too pink. Just lovely.

We went out driving around the countryside, looking for our own slice of heaven. Dr. Smarty Pants has about a 2 year limit on any given living situation. He starts getting restless and internet shopping for real estate. We'd both like a little more land and a little less neighbor, but, as you might have heard, the market isn't at it's strongest, and we do have a house we'd have to sell.

It's still fun to dream and wonder and imagine. We drove into one valley today just as the sun had moved to above the ridge on one was spectacular. I saw an old farm house with 'UGE TRACTS O'LAND up on the edge of the woods and wanted to go up and knock on the door and ask the people in it what the heck they thought they were still doing in MY HOUSE? Everywhere we looked there were cows and horses and tractors and trees and birds chirping and lawn ornaments and perfect little white churches with perfect white steeples...

It may have actually been animated.

So. I haven't drawn today. And that's okay. I used my camera and captured a little perfection with it instead. It's supposed to be cold out tomorrow. I'll bundle up and draw something then.

Until then...I'll be dreaming of my sweet little valley and the 100 year old farmhouse I'll have someday. With chickens.

Friday, April 11, 2008

041108 - Oscar

041208 - Oscar, originally uploaded by diahn.

On the right is the drawing I did while lying in bed, half asleep. I made my Oscar look like a bull mastiff. Way off...

I tried again yesterday, and that's on the left. It is MUCH better, so I added a little cyan gouache to highlight it.

He really is the best dog. EVER.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

041008 - I am not a jellyfish

I have drawn.  I haven't posted.  I will.  I've been MULCHING.  And I'm still not done...

This conversation is from a run to the Home Depot.  When we got there, I stopped the truck, pulled out a sheet of paper and a pen and immediately wrote it down so I wouldn't forget it.


D:  (after saying something inappropriate to his brother).  I'm sorry.  I can't help myself!

Me:  Yes you can help yourself.  You are the only one who can help yourself.  You are the only one in charge of your mouth.

J:  And your body.  And your testicles.

D:  We don't HAVE testicles.

J:  Yes, we do.

Me:  Yes, you do.

D:  Where?

J:  Right here (I hear rustling noises in the back seat)

D:  Oh.  I thought you meant stinging testicles.

Me:  What?

D:  Stinging testicles.

Me: ...................................................................Oh.  Like jellyfish?

D:  Yes.

Me:  Those are called TENTACLES.

D:  Oh.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

040808 - Bleh

040808 - Bleh, originally uploaded by diahn.

I swear. I love spring - warm weather...pretty flowers...pollen.

Oh, shoot. I always forget the pollen.

I hate using this nose spray, but desperate times call for desperate measures.

I think my head is about to explode...

Monday, April 07, 2008

040708 - It's a Flower

I don't know the name of it, though. I'm not good with flower names.

I worked in the yard all weekend, and something has created a great deal of pressure in my sinuses that makes me feel as if my entire head is likely to explode. Gah.

I asked the boys what I should draw today, because I couldn't even THINK of it. J said..."Draw a flower." I said..."Okay."'s a flower. I took a picture of it when we were at the Biltmore estate a few weeks ago. If anyone knows the name, I'd appreciate it if you'd let me know so I can file it away in my head where it will promptly disappear, but at least I'll have a copy of your comment saved somewhere and I can remind myself.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

040608 - At Borders

IMG, originally uploaded by diahn.  pencil and gouache in large Moleskine sketchbook.

Linda and I had a chance to meet up for a cup of coffee, a slice of lemon loaf, and much hearty guffawing this afternoon. You'd think two women on this side of FABULOUS would be mature enough to handle being out in public without driving off other customers at the coffee shop.

But you'd be wrong.

For one thing, only one of us is actually on this side of FABULOUS, the other won't be there for another few months.

For another, we actually got dirty looks from the lady sitting across the shop from us, who was apparently trying to read a newspaper in solitude. Anyone who is so easily distracted, obviously needs to read in private.

When she got up and left, she slipped a couple of pointed glances at us and shook her head in disgust. The thirteen year old boy inside of me made a semi-covert gesture.

Which then sent us into peals of laughter again.

Who needs liquor when you have coffee and lemon loaf? And the company of a friend...that's what makes it all come together.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

040508 - Ovation in Orange


I couldn't get to my scanner tonight, so I took this photo, instead.  I decided to draw my Ovation acoustic guitar, resting comfortably in her little guitar stand.  My favorite orange (Uhh...MANGO) leather chairs are right behind it.  This actually started out as a blind contour drawing (check the right hand side of the fret board), but I was just so far off, and I wanted to do her justice, so I switched to looking. 

I really like the way this sketchbook folds out - long drawings like this can happen so much more easily!

And to follow up on a previous post - the new tower of Crayola markers arrived Thursday afternoon.  The boys wasted no time testing each and every one.

Crayola Marker Test session

Crayola Marker Test Session

The were all deemed "Crayola-worthy."

Thanks Crayola - you have great products and magnificent customer service!  

My Strange Sons

This cracks me up every time I watch it.  You can hear me laugh-wheezing in the background like that dog Mumbly from the old Hanna-Barbera cartoons.

I'm trying out Vimeo as an alternative to YouTube - I keep thinking when I see videos on Vimeo, they are better quality - let me know what you think, if you have a minute!

Friday, April 04, 2008

040408 - Go Man Go

These little lovelies were on sale 10 for $10.  Why not just advertise them as $1 each, I don't I supposed to think I'm getting a better deal because 10 of them are $10?  It's not like I have to buy 10 in order to get the deal.  

In any case, they were so pretty - like mutant Christmas Easter eggs - that I had to paint one.  I set it on a white surface, and the colors in the shadow were really incredible.

Go Man Go

I'm still not able to scan the green as well as I'd like.  I'm using a little mixing set of Holbein gouache - it's really quite nice - magenta, cyan and yellow.  Makes lovely mixes, but when I scan, the yellow separates out in the image and shows up as a bit garish.  I'm much happier with the green I actually achieved in the real painting than I was with yesterday's, so you'll just have to take my word for it...

Thursday, April 03, 2008

040308 - Uhhh...Not Exactly

Uhhh...Not Exactly, originally uploaded by diahn.

I started out with such high hopes. I ended with...uhh...this. It was supposed to be a tulip beginning to blossom. In my defense, the greens are not this weird in real life - no matter what I did, I couldn't tone down that yellow. It's not so garish in the sketchbook.

But...that's okay. I drew something and I painted it. That's the point, right?

gouache in Maruman watercolor sketchbook

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

040208 - Diana

Diana, originally uploaded by diahn.

This is another in the little accordian-fold Maruman sketchbook I recently started. It's a beauty of a little book - recently suggested by Laura on the EDM group. I love it when she gives recommendations - she's just always right!. It is a sweet little book.

This is a watercolor of the statue of Diana at Biltmore Estates.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

040108 - Magnolia

040108 - Magnolia, originally uploaded by diahn.

I think I painted this. I actually do remember doing it. BUT - look at those subtle, muted colors...I think I was channeling someone else. Strange...

But I kind of like it. I especially like my pretty brown branch. I mixed that brown...yes indeedy, I did.

Fiddle-faddle, Folderol and Foolishness


It's SPRING and optimism reigns. No more stump-funk. No more whining. I'm sick of it. I'm having a little self-motivation party here this month. Time to bust through the fog of winter and just get on with it, already.

Here's the deal...I'll be posting a drawing a day in April (assuming I have internet access on the one trip I'm taking). In any case, I'll be making a drawing a day in April, and hopefully posting them each evening. I've even made myself a little logo...

Want to join me? I'd love to have the company! Feel free to grab the logo and post it on your blog - just link back here, so I can see who is playing, okay?

Wishing you much love and creative energy on this lovely April Fool's Day.