A Current Painting by Diana Moses Botkin

Welcome to my Art Blog! I paint or draw most weekdays and sometimes finish a painting a day. I fondly call them my "Postcards from Paradise" because it's such a beautiful place the Lord made here for us.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Newest Article in Professional Artist Magazine

The June/July issue of Professional Artist Magazine is out now. My most recent piece is on pages 62 - 65. It tells how inspiration and practice can be found participating in open studios with live models. I touch on materials to use, the challenges of working from life, plus common practices and guidelines at open studio sessions.

Open studios is a good opportunity to draw and paint from live models. As you've likely guessed from this blog, I am a big fan of working from life, for figurative work and other genres.

I interviewed several respected artists for the article. They graciously sent me photos and quotes. Morgan Weistling, William Whittaker, Sherrie McGraw, Mary Qian, and Yer Za Vue each comment on how open studios have helped and inspired them. Additionally, Za shares about the challenges of running open studio sessions. There are also suggestions on how to find open studio sessions in your locale.

If you are not a subscriber to the magazine, you can buy a copy of the digital issue here.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Finishing Touches

I'm working on a commission and at times I need a break from it for various reasons. The reasons differ, depending on the need. The particular piece I'm painting has required additional references.


During a break, there is always yard work or some other chore to do, of course.

But if the chores aren't too pressing, I can pick up an unfinished painting from my studio corners to bring something to completion. That helps my outlook, especially if a bigger project is weighing down on me.

(left) "Pink Blouse" Oil 8"x6"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

Buy this painting on PayPal
$200 USD plus $10 SH


Each of these two pieces shown here have gone through at least a couple of stages to work out the kinks. (Some paintings do, at least in my experience.)

They both had been set aside, needing something. Now I can finally feel that the finishing touches have been added.

(left) "Red Bow Tie"
Oil 10"x8"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin 

Buy this painting on PayPal
$300 USD plus $12 SH

Monday, April 13, 2015

New Nude

"Turned Away"
Charcoal and Chalk on cotton paper, 12"x18"
©2015 Diana Moses Botkin

SOLD

The past weeks have been taken up with paper work for Uncle Sam, but I've been able to work on a few new sketches including this one.

I'll show you more later, so please stay tuned.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Another Drawing I Did for Staedtler

You may remember other drawings I've shown here at my blog that I did for Staedtler. Those were each for product lines the company markets now. This sketch, at right, appears on packaging for their tonal set of compressed charcoal and pastel sticks.

I'm delighted that the company is pleased with my work. Besides showing off my art on their packaging and in their advertising, they've added my original drawings to their permanent collection.  It is an honor to be associated with such an illustrious company.

Staedtler goes way back. Headquartered in Nuremberg, the company is a manufacturer and supplier of writing, artist, and engineering drawing instruments. Long before J.S. Staedtler founded his pencil making factory in 1835, the Staedtler family had been hand-making the beloved writing instrument for generations.

I still have some very fine point (000) Mars Staedtler technical pens. I used them a lot back when my eyes and back were better suited to bending over a detailed pen and ink drawing for a week's worth of hours making dots or lines. I also own some Staedtler tin pencil boxes that are about as old as I am, casual gifts from my artist father decades ago. They still carry pencils and other useful devices in my sketch bag.

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Charcoal Drawing for Staedtler

Not long ago I showed a drawing I did for Staedtler's new pencil packaging at this blog and promised to reveal other pieces I did for the company's products. The sketching pencils, packaged with my art on the box, are now available.

Here is the sketch for their charcoal line. And yes, it is like the one I did with the pencils.

The company wanted me to use the same model and pose for several products.  There is more to show you, too. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Rejection and Acceptance

Earlier today I found out the results of a competition I had entered, and learned that my work had been rejected. That's a hard word rejected, and it's a hard road, and a hard rain.

My work has been rejected from more shows than I care to remember. It's part of an artist's life for those of us who try for exposure and awards.

It's tempting to give up sometimes, but one must learn to accept the failures in stride and work harder and better. There are also many successes for which I count my blessings.

(left) "Morning Shadows"
Oil on Raymar panel, 8"x10"
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin 

Later today I opened my mail and learned that this piece is accepted to a museum show. I'm pleased to announce that this painting is to be part of the 18th Annual Art Auction at Paris Gibson Square Museum of Art. The show opens Thursday, March 19th in Great Falls, Montana.

Saturday, April 11, 2015 is the Gala, with a live auction, music, and food. That sounds like a lot more fun than a pity party for not getting in the other show.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Another Piece I'd Been Looking For

"View from the Gîte”
12"x16" pastel on Canson paper
©2005 Diana Moses Botkin

Recently, I've shown work here at my blog which I have now finished after having set it aside months or years ago. Or, as in the case from my last post, finished art was hiding in my studio.

This pastel study is another one I had been looking for, from that 2005 journey to France. After spending time in Paris on that trip, we drove to eastern France and stayed in a gîte we had booked ahead of time, online. 

The drive from Paris was lovely except for the crowded conditions in the vehicle we had rented. The description online for what I signed up for was, I thought, something like a minivan. It was supposed to seat seven people.

The rental company was obviously thinking of seven small French people. And, in order to accommodate that number, the third row of seats when unfolded in the Opal, obliterated the luggage space. All seven of us had a suitcase. After scratching our heads awhile and inquiring if there was a bigger vehicle available (there wasn't), we folded up the third seat, stacked our luggage there and put the two smallest family members (my youngest, and me!) on top of the pile. That left 3 to squeeze in the back seat. My husband drove and my second child navigated.

It was a very chummy drive but we made it to the gîte, where the friendly owners met us and showed us the place. The house was clean, roomy and reasonable. It fit our low-budget trip to buy groceries nearby and cook our own meals. The location was a beautiful setting and I did several plein air studies while there, a few in oil and this one in pastel.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Uncovering Buried Work

This year, one of the tasks I've been tackling has been to go through corners of my studio to deal with unfinished and abandoned work. For the pieces I'm finding, I've set several objectives: either file, finish, or put in the fire. 

Digging through the stacks of stuff, I discovered a few pieces I'd been looking for, buried in a pile of half-done work. These particular pieces were some sketches I did on my trip to France in 2005.

During the first part of our stay there, we were in Paris where I was able to make my pilgrimage to the Louvre. My family and I ventured to the museum right away. What an amazing collection of world treasures is there! The drawing at left was done from Michelangelo's Dying Slave, a most inspiring and beautiful sculpture from the Master.

It's interesting to run across the studies from a decade ago. I can see improvement in my drawing skills since I did this study. 

(left) "Study of Michelangelo’s Dying Slave"
16"x12" charcoal and chalk on cotton paper
©2005 Diana Moses Botkin

A different sketch (not worth showing you) I did while at Musée d'Orsay, which is another colossal treasury of art. When at the Louvre the previous day, I'd had no trouble when I scooted an unused chair over by The Slave, to sketch the piece. At Musée d'Orsay the next day, I also found a vacant chair and moved it by the statue I admired, for observation with my sketching materials.

Soon after I sat down in the chair near the beautiful Oedipus at Colonos by Jean-Baptiste Hugues, the guard on duty told me something in angry French. Now my French is very bad, limited to a few words and phrases. But I was able to tell, from the guard's body language and gestures, that I should move the chair back to its original location. I complied and then sat on the floor by the sculpture to study.

Not long after that, I noticed the guard was on the phone, gesturing toward me and speaking in urgent angry tones. There I was, in a foreign country with jet-lag and extremely limited language skills. I had visions of being carted away by the gendarmes for lock-up in some lonely Paris jail. I was able to manage only a quick drawing, not much more then a gesture, before hurriedly putting away my supplies and moving away to the ladies room to compose my rattled brain.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Painting at Yellowstone Art Museum Gala Event

(left) 
"Trees on the Hill"
Oil 5.5"x7.5"
©2010 Diana Moses Botkin

I'm pleased that my work is showcased again this year at the Yellowstone Art Museum Exhibit and Auction in Billings, Montana. You can visit the link to see show information and the catalog, and even make an early bid for the art.

The show opened last month on January 22 and continues to March 7, 2015 when the gala and auction is held. That night is very festive, with delicious food, live music, and of course, the auction of beautiful art.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Win a Free Painting for Your Valentine!

(left) "Pie Cherry" 
miniature oil painting, approx. 2"x3"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

(lower left) "Cherry on Granite" 
miniature oil painting, approx. 3"x3"
©2009 Diana Moses Botkin

I haven't done a giveaway in a long time. Valentine's Day seems a nice reason to do that.

You can enter for a chance to win one of these little jewels by leaving a comment here at this post, or sharing this blog link at your facebook page. Either at this post or on facebook, tell me why your sweetheart would like some sweet art!

Please also send me a private email to let me know which you did (comment here, or share my link at your facebook page) and also tell me how to get in touch with you if you win.

I'll put your name in the hat and pick a name at contest ending. This giveaway opportunity will be open only until February 14 at midnight, so don't delay.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Oil Portrait Study from Life

(left) "Stevan"
Oil, 10"x8"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

I'm still catching up on adding finishing touches to paintings I started awhile ago. If you're an artist, you probably know what I mean when I say there are pieces sitting in my studio waiting.... either to be finished, painted over, or thrown in the fire.

That last choice is usually out of frustration from ruining a painting by working on it too much or trying to finish without good references. Or simply because it was terrible.

This is one I did in OKC last fall at Geatches. I was able to get a good likeness of our model during the Saturday morning Open Studio, but I needed to clean up a few areas. There were some scratchy brush marks that were distracting. Sometimes those can be useful, like the effect in hair edges, and Stevan's unshaved jaw. Since I didn't have a reference photo to use for touching up the painting later, I kept my additions to a minimum.

It is not uncommon for Open Studio policy to be no photos allowed. Unless the model will pose after the session for a quick snap, that's the way it is.

I really miss the Open Studio sessions in OKC, and also in Scottsdale. The group in my area is a bit of drive and sessions can be hit and miss.

Open Studio means that anyone can join in, working from live models. Model fees are reasonable, models are professional and able to hold poses, and the camaraderie is a welcome change from working alone. There is no instruction at these sessions but it is fun and often educational seeing what the other artists draw or paint.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Oil Sketch to a Painting Only Took Me a Year

Well, I didn't actually work on it all year. After I did the initial live study last January, I set it aside, wondering what to do with it.

The piece showed potential and I liked it even in the rough stage. But there wasn't enough there. So, months later I tackled it again, working from the limited information in a quick snap the model let me take at the time, which was mostly overexposed from the strong lighting.

The painting went through several changes, as sometimes happens.

It would've been a lot easier to have this model pose live for all the painting sessions, but that was not possible. So I did the best I could from memory and my vague photo reference.

The lean and muscular young man sat deep in thought as he posed and the visible ear looked like he had done some boxing. It was really just a mood as a sketch, but the added detail now contributes to the story. I still like the painting, and I'm happy I didn't ruin it.

(above left) "He Carries a Reminder" Oil on canvas, 10"x8"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin