Friday, October 31, 2008

Go Go Go Go Go

After much painting and stitching and masking tape, I present to you...

Speed Racer...

Racer X...


And a cake to finish it off.  Holy cow - isn't it cute?  I got the idea here.

The knitting pictures will have to wait until later - I just didn't get any thing finished before the light went away.  Still loving that Toasty pattern from over the last weekend - Doodlebug has a new pair and Junebug's are almost finished.  I'm making myself another pair now that I've perfected it!  

Alright, peeps. 



What? October 31 Already?

I've been in a frenzy of knitting and costume-making...creative, to be sure...but no time to stop and take pictures.  I'll take some when the boys put on my marvelous costumes later this afternoon and post them later this evening.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I Like You Berry Much

And I'm so glad that some of you are taking me up on the NaBloPoMo front - and maybe even NaNoWriMo!  Yippee!!

Well, I promised I'd tell my secrets today, so I suppose it is time.  Last year, when I decided to try NaNoWriMo, I was a little nervous about it and wasn't really sure I wanted anyone to know.  I told Dr. SmartyPants because I was afraid he'd  wonder what on earth I was doing with all my time and why didn't he have any clean underwear.  I told Melinda, because I know she thinks I'm insane anyway and I knew I could trust her to keep my secret safe. 

Except she didn't. 

But that's another story. 

And I still love her, anyway.  

So, anyway - I decided to write under the name Dari Malapert and set up an entirely separate blog for NaNoWriMo.  This year, I'm writing under my own name, but I'll be posting any excerpts I decide are worth reading over at Dari's blog, Patois Poppycock.  The excerpts from last year are still there, and shall remain, so if you want to go check them out, feel free.  On November 1, I'll add a link on my sidebar to the Poppycock blog if you want to follow along in the frenzy!

Listen - you really should give it a whirl.  It's fun and nutty and crazy and sleep-depriving, to be sure.  BUT - if you've ever read a novel and thought, "I could write better than that..."  you need to see if it is true!  There are all sorts of tips and tricks at the NaNoWriMo site, and even a book on how to write a novel in 30 day that is extremely useful (and funny.)

In any case - I'm looking forward to November and all the craziness it entails.  I've got another crazy thing on the horizon, but without a firm date yet, I'm not going to announce it.  Just know that it involves much change and I'm ridiculously excited about it.  (And no.  I'm not pregnant.)

4 more days, Artoberites!  Rock on!

Monday, October 27, 2008

If You Leaf Me Now

The leaves were not as showy this past weekend as we had hoped.  Last year the leaves were magnificent, and there were a few standouts this year, but it just seemed that the trees had either dropped their leaves quickly, or had just decided to go a kind of pallid shade of yellow.

The maples, as always, put on the best show, and I stopped on one of our walks to pick up a couple of small leaves to take back to the camper and sketch.  I liked them so much, I put them into my japanese album Moleskine along with the drawing.

So.  November.

Only a few days left in Artober, and I've loved having you all along for the ride.  So much so, that I don't want you to go!  So why don't you join me for one (or both) of the two things I've got planned?

See - November is the month of NaNoWriMo (also known as National Novel Writing Month) and NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month).

nanowrimo_participant_icon_122x244 nablo1108_120x240

I'm doing both.

Because I am obviously insane.

My plan for NaBloPoMo is the same as last year.  I'll post a photo and a thought each day.   If you decide to join in, be sure to come find me and friend me!  The rules are more strict than Artober - in order to qualify for the prizes (and there are prize drawings) you have to actually post once per day, every day in November.

Same with NaNoWriMo - I'd love to be your friend.  Sign up and search for me and be my buddy, okay?  All you have to do is write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  In November.  You know.  The month of Thanksgiving?  Easy peasy.   You don't actually have to finish the novel - just make it to 50,000 words.

Stay tuned - tomorrow I'll reveal my secret nom de plume under which I wrote last year's NaNoWriMo novel (over 50,000 words, as yet unfinished), and another drawing from my weekend...

Sunday, October 26, 2008

How I Spent My Autumn Vacation

In this.

And in this.

Doing this.

And occasionally, this.

To make these (modeled by Junebug).

So my hands could stay super toasty warm while I took pictures like this.


(I'll be back tomorrow to post a drawing or two and to discuss November with you people.  Demanding, aren't you?)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Brother, Can You Sparrow Dime?

I'm taking Toni and Teri's word for it - that it's a sparrow.  Not sure about the white-crowned or throated part, as it seemed to have neither a white-crown, nor a white throat, but what do I know?  (that would be nothing...)

In any case, they are fun to draw and I like birdy eyes a LOT.  So perfectly beady, don't you know?

I'm off to pack up the camper for another trip.  We're headed back to the Cherokee National Forest for another long weekend.  We're creatures of habit after all - we're even staying in our favorite camp site.  It feels secluded and far away from other campers, somehow. 

And we don't like people. 

I mean in our personal space.  You understand.

When we get back, I'll have to MacGyver some Halloween costumes for the guys.  I hate store bought costumes, and of course - they love them...SO, I'll be spending the week with duct tape and baling wire trying to construct the perfect Speed Racer and Racer X costumes out of whatever we have lying around the house.

Wish Me Luck.

And Ai sent along a notice that the next World Wide SketchCrawl is coming up in a few days.  Click the link and see how you can participate - either with a group or on your own! 

It would be a great last push to finish out Artober!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

A Bird in the Moleskine

Bird in Colored Pencil, originally uploaded by diahn.

is worth two in the bush, no?

Dr. SmartyPants walked in just as I started this post, so I'll keep it short. We're off to pick up the camper so we can get it ready to leave on Thursday.

I picked up some cheap colored pencils at Border's bookstore today, because I really liked the tin they came in. I used one in the Japanese Moleskine and loved the way it turned out. My scanner, on the other hand, HATED it.

This little birdy came around begging for scraps the other day - I took some photos of it - I'm not an adept bird-sketcher, so I have to use tools! Maybe Toni can tell me what kind of little birdy it is...

Monday, October 20, 2008

Wherefore Art Thou?

Hello, my Artober peeps.  What a weekend!  I am afraid I have no drawings for you today - I'm in process of transferring computer stuff and I haven't been able to scan anything, but I will and I will catch up!  We're in the final two weeks of Artober - I'm excited to see where it takes us!

We had a fantastic weekend.  The Leonardo da Vinci show at the Birmingham (Alabama) Museum of Art was, well, illuminating.  I can't even find the words to describe it - it was just that amazing to see in person.  Steviewren did a wonderful job writing a post about it, so I'll let you go over there and read what she said.  All I can say is, "Ditto."

The Kentuck Festival was great fun, as usual.  It's been many years since I've gone, but it did not disappoint.  It is larger and busier than ever, and I can't help but be inspired to make something really fantastic, now, right?

The boys did great, but started getting a little tired of walking around toward the end.  I passed them my little camera and set them out on a mission to find all the things they really liked and take some interesting pictures.  So, my art for the day is actually theirs...








I'll be back tomorrow, and I'll post AND catch up on all my commenting then.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Winging It

Wingin' It

Another gourd in the japanese fold Moleskine. You can see part of yesterday's off to the left. I don't usually work in such a small book, but I found this one the other day. It was up in my studio and I had totally forgotten about it until I cleaned the joint up over the weekend. (Obviously I need to clean the cat hair off the scanner...lower right...I just cleaned that doggone scanner, too...)

We're off to the Deep South in just a little bit, so there will likely be no posting for a few days - at least no posts of drawings. But, I'll still be drawing every day and I'll post them when I get back.

We're halfway there, Artoberites! Keep 'em coming!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Never ending, everlasting, ceaseless, endless, timeless, pearmenant.

Pear 4

Five more remain. Time to take a break from the pears. I'm starting to feel pearplexed and pearsecuted.

Artober is turning out to not only include my own art, but the art of others as well. The boys and I went with our friends to the Knoxville Museum of Art today and spent a couple of hours wandering through the exhibits, which was lovely. The Ott crew is heading to Birmingham, Alabama, on Thursday evening so we can see the Leondardo da Vinci exhibit at the Birmingham Museum of Art on Friday morning. Then, we are heading down to Tuscaloosa to wander through the park at the Kentuck Art Festival. The Kentuck festival was the first art festival I ever experienced, and 20 years later remains one of the highlights of any year I get to go. I haven't been in a long time, so I'm very much looking forward to getting there and spending the day and seeing all the wonderful things that are displayed.

So - what kind of art have you seen lately? How has it shaped your perspective on life? How have you changed as a result of experiencing it? If you are participating in Artober, or if you had already been drawing daily, how has your daily drawing discipline been? Have you learned anything about yourself or your habits, your strengths and your weaknesses?

The month is nearly half over - I'm going to be thinking about all of those questions, and I'd love to hear all of your input on them - feel free to comment!

Keep drawing, peeps -

Monday, October 13, 2008

What's My Pearpose?

Okay, I know I'm stretching it a bit with these "pear" titles, but a girl has to have a little fun somewhere, doesn't she?

Pear 3

I beat this pear into submission after it went horribly wrong a few days ago. My brand new Jerry's supplies were just what I needed to make it work, I guess. I'm not as pleased with this one as I am with the last two. This is the perfect demonstration of why I've never successfully worked in a series. I do a couple and things go well and then all of the sudden - BLAM - something terrible happens and I'm no longer able to make the paint go where I want it to go.

I'm very pleased with this one in one way - I didn't let it grind the whole process to a halt. Maybe the point of doing a series is to work through some things and find a new way of seeing what it is you are painting/drawing/sculpting/photographing. Hmmmmm.

It's interesting. I'm kind of looking forward to seeing where the next 6 pears take me on this little painty journey.

But I need some new titles. Maybe I'll waste invest some time browsing through my thesaurus.

Or I could vacuum.


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Backin' It Up

The boys (small and big) and I are training for a 5K race next month. We don't have high expectations - we just want to finish, together, have fun and MOVE a little.

Anyway - every day,when Dr. SmartyPants gets home from the think tank, we've been going out for our run/walk on a newly constructed, yet-to-be-opened road behind our neighborhood. As we walked past the "Road Closed" signs on Friday, Doodlebug called out that he had found something REALLY COOL. I THINK IT IS BONES! He then wished aloud that we had a scientist that we could ask about them, whereupon I gave him a withering look and reminded him that he lived with TWO. Sheesh.

In any case, it was bones, and after our walk (where I found a tattered plastic bag) we picked them up and brought them home. After a great deal of boiling and bleaching and boiling again, we determined that they were vertebrae, put them all back together like a puzzle and started investigating online.

Snake Vertebrae

They are definitely snake vertebrae - when put back together in a neat little line, they wiggle perfectly back and forth on the prettiest little ball and socket joints I've ever seen.

And I've seen alot. Granted - most of the ones I've dealt with were 150 million years old and petrified, but that doesn't mean I don't know anything.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Mess of Pumpkins

Literally. I have no excuse. I was jealous of Linda's free-spirited backgrounds on her pomegranates and pears and I got a little crazy. I started spattering and that was okay, but then I started dribbling and things went wrong in a hurry.

Note to self: Dribbling is fine in basketball. Not so good in just about everything else.

A Mess of Pumpkins

On the plus side, Linda and I did meet up to go to Jerry's and ogle purchase a few art supplies and she gifted me with my choice of pomegranates! I chose this one.

Thanks Linda - you're the best!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Chalk It Up

The boys and I went to the grocery today for a few items, and saw some wonderful, tiny, alien-looking ornamental gourds in the produce section. These show up this time of year, designed to decorate your table centerpiece for the autumnal season and every year I get taken in. They are just so darned cute. I picked a few out to paint this evening, and worked on them while the rest of the family watched a movie.

That painting is not dry yet.


Here's the other drawing I made of the cute little punkins today instead.


I did mention at the beginning of Artober that sidewalk chalk was an acceptable medium.

For more chalky fun, head over to the can see what the monkey-bugs were up to.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


Can't leave out the little brother.


I had intended to work on my pears today, but it just didn't work out that way. Too many items on the lists. Too many hands needing assistance. I finally managed to sit down just a few minutes ago and draw this from a photo I took over our weekend in the mountains.

There are many things I could point out that are not wonderful about this drawing, but I'm not going to do it. One of the reasons I wanted to draw or create something every day in October was to just draw without any of the pressure of having to be perfect.

Goal met? Check.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Knit My Average Art

It rained today. It hasn't rained in about 700 years, I think. It was a beautiful rainy day, too - not too hard - just a light soaking tenderizing kind of rain. Ahhhh.

Anyway - it was a day that called for pajamas as long as we could manage it (we did get dressed to go to guitar lessons, but changed right back to PJs when we got home). It was also a knitting kind of a day. So...that's what I did. At first I thought, well, I should go paint or draw or something, but then I realized - hey...this is ART man!

I've been working on this blanket for Junebug since the spring - I'm not a fast knitter, nor a terribly consistent one. I knit when I watch TV, which is rarely. I knit while I watch the boys' baseball games, but this blankey got too big to haul to the ball park, so it has been on the back burner. It's a cushy blanket - knit with two strands together at the same time so it is nice and thick.
The joke has been that I'll never get it finished because he keeps growing so fast that I have to keep adding to it.
And that is entirely possible.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Pearhaps You've Seen It Before

Pear No. 2

The second of nine completed. Number 3 is in bad shape. It may end up being a set of eight.

Nah. It's acrylics - everything is savable...right?

And hey, peeps - thanks for clicking the Follow Me! link - I feel a little better now! Ya'll are the best.

Keep drawing, Artoberites!

Monday, October 06, 2008


Doodlebug - ish

What can I say. He has his father's nose. I tried and tried and kept making it worse, so I just erased most everything and left the line drawing. It is what it is. Tomorrow will be another day.

And hey - I don't know if you've noticed, but there's a new boost Diahn's ego button over on the right...feel free to follow me and make my sidebar look nice and full. I never got to be one of the popular kids in high school.

Oh, and go check out all the Artober participants in the sidebar as well - they're having fun and making art! Join us anytime - no need to try to catch up! Just be sure to link here and leave a comment so I can add you to the list! And if you are playing and I don't have you listed, please let me know!

Happy drawing!

edited to note: I've been re-reading The Lord of the Rings trilogy and OMG, I think I made him into a hobbit...looks a bit like Samwise Gamgee to me. (But only because he's my favorite hobbit. I know - Frodo - but he never would have made it without his Sam.)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Can You Still Smell the Smoke?

As chief fire-maker in the Ott-clan, I can. But - I have more important things to do than to shower the scent of campfire from my hair - I must post some drawings! See what I go through for you people? Aren't you lucky?

The weather was SPECTACULAR in the Smoky Mountains over the weekend, people. I mean - really phenomenal. The kind of weather you pray for when you are going camping. Downright chilly at night (and perfect for a roaring campfire and delicious s'mores) and a little cool during the daytime. The sky was that kind of cobalt blue that only happens in the fall, the leaves were just starting to show us some color, and the visibility was wonderful.

It was so clear, in fact, that we decided to head up to Clingman's Dome as soon as we set up the casita. We could see all the way to Mt. Mitchell, which is something like 83 miles away. Amazing. Too often, it's hazy and hard to see to Mt. LeConte, a mere 7 miles as the crow flies.

Clingman's Dome

On Saturday morning, we got up to go ride the Cades Cove loop, but when we got there we found out that it isn't closed to cars on Saturday mornings any more. Last weekend was the last Saturday for early morning biking without having to worry about cars full of tourists running you down. At least until mid-May when they start shutting it down again on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. We were disappointed, but drove around anyway - hoping to see a bit of wildlife. We saw plenty of deer and turkey, but no bears this time. We did witness one really amazing thing, but you'll have to wait until November to find out what it was, because it will definitely go in my photographic review for NaBloPoMo. We headed to Townsend, TN afterwards, and rode their bike trail instead. Six miles instead of the eleven we had planned, but it was fun anyway.

I had a chance to sketch a couple of drawings - one of Dr. SmartyPants after he went to sleep, and one of a leaf that had just gone gold. I had forgotten to bring the boys' sketchbooks, and picked up a park newspaper for them as a surface on which to draw, and decided to try it out for myself. Both were done in my watercolor Moleskine sketchbook.

Dr. SP sleeping

Autumn Leaf

I'm compiling a list of everyone who is participating in this month's draw-a-thon, so if I haven't heard from you yet, send me an email or leave me a comment with your name and blog address. I'll be putting a box in the sidebar with links to everyone's sites. I'm really enjoying seeing what everyone is doing - and meeting some new artists, too!

Happy Artober, peeps!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Benji in brown

Brown Ben

We're getting ready to go camping tomorrow, so my day was filled with lists and piles and extra schoolwork to make up for half a day tomorrow. I finally had a chance to sit down and draw just a few minutes ago and decided to just play and have a little fun. This is in my new big sketchbook - using a sepia Pentel Brush Pen. Quick. Fun.

And that smudge in the upper right hand corner? Let's just say that someone needs to clean her scanner...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Don't Be Chicken


I whipped this one out in just a few minutes right before the boys' bedtime. They've decided, at least for now, to join me in my daily drawing endeavor, so I let them pick out my drawing subject for the evening. I have this strange obsession with roosters. I don't understand it - I've blogged about it before, so I won't bore you with it again. This was really rather hastily done, and I'm not all that proud of it, but I wanted to post it...first day of Artober and all.

So - Margie is going to play along, and so is Teri (although she always draws everyday - but I'll still claim her). Linda is too, but she's having a scanner problem right now, so she may not get to post today. At least that is her story. My boys and Dr. SmartyPants started out with me, as can see there work over at the Monkey Mama Hoedown.

I'll be back tomorrow, hopefully with something a little more finished. I've got 8 more pears to paint, and 3 of them have already got a couple of coats of glaze on them...maybe I'll get another one of those done. We're going camping this weekend, so I'll be drawing then, but not able to post until I get back.

Until tomorrow, peeps...