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, December 17, 2014

Charcoal and Chalk Portrait Study

charcoal/chalk on cotton paper approx. 16x11" ©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

This study is a demo from a two-day portrait workshop I taught this past September at Artisans at Dahmen Barn in Washington.

I enjoy teaching this forgiving technique for capturing a fairly quick likeness, using charcoal and chalk on toned paper.

Hannah was one of the models for my class. She was a pleasure to draw with those expressive eyes and her loosely styled hair.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Portrait Workshop Charcoal Demos

Last month I taught a portrait workshop in Oklahoma City at Geatches Studio. My demo sketch of our first model is shown at left and below, along with the demo sketch of another model.

I like to start the class showing how to look for shapes and build the form with darks first and then add the lights.

Charcoal and chalk on toned paper are ideal for quick studies and the medium is easy for making corrections. It's always fun to introduce this drawing technique, especially to those who have not yet tried it.

(left) "Anna" charcoal/chalk on cotton paper approx. 16x11" ©2014 Diana Moses Botkin
(right) "June" charcoal/chalk on cotton paper approx. 14x10" ©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Painting the Brilliance

“Late Light on the Marsupials”
Original oil, 8"x10"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

Available on PayPal
$300 USD + $12 SH

I've been finishing up a few pieces lately which needed some work. This is one I started on location at Smith Rock over a year ago as the sun was setting.

At such times, I try to capture that last golden, rosy light, working as quickly as I can to get something on canvas of the spectacle. It's impossible to paint fast enough to really get any detail and I'm lucky if I can record a bit of how those few minutes of glory left me feeling.

So, this sat in a corner of my studio, lonely and neglected, but full of promise if I could just do enough to bring it up to snuff. How to do that exactly played in my mind every time I looked at the unfinished piece.

Now, I've added some detail, construed from a photo taken at another time, because I hadn't attempted one while working on this painting. The rapidly disappearing light at the time made it impossible, plus I simply didn't bother to use the camera in my hurry to paint the moment.

Three times I changed the sky, and finally settled on a violet shade of blue that remained in my memory even after the other attempts. I think it's close to what I saw at the scene.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Last Light Study

"Palouse Sunset" oil, 8"x10"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

Available on PayPal
$300 USD + $12 SH

This piece is one I painted en plein air a few months ago. I'd driven out looking for a good spot to paint, pulled over a couple of times, then changed my mind and drove on, looking for something to catch my eye.

The light was going fast, so I parked my van and got my paints out to catch the sunset light on the Palouse hills. But then I turned around and saw the sun peeking through that tree and knew I had to try capturing the contrasts and color.

As sometimes happens when painting at the end of day, the light simply disappears. At such times, one is left nearly painting in the dark. Colors are especially difficult to judge. Edges are too, with fading eyesight and failing light. And there is no snapping a photo reference for later reference, as it is an exercise in futility.

So, I've been revisiting this study off and on for several months, fixing an odd shape here or there and evaluating the piece, trying to remember the colors while I was there. And so, here it is, the impression of the moment that caught my eye.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Painting Headed to Scottsdale Soon

"Uriah's Wife"
Oil on linen, 12"x9"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

I'm pleased to announce that this painting has been juried into Scottsdale Artists’ School’s 2015 Best and Brightest. Last January when I attended the Artist Guild week there in Scottsdale, I enjoyed the 2014 exhibit.

The 2015 show and sale opens January 9 and hangs through February 27, 2015.

Two other pieces I submitted were not accepted and when I first skimmed the rejection letter I thought that all three of my entries had been rejected.

Those letters of non-acceptance (I've gotten many) are usually very gently worded to let us down easy, but I confess I was disappointed. So it was doubly joyous to get the acceptance email for my painting of "Uriah's Wife".

Friday, October 31, 2014

Portrait Workshop in OKC

I have another Portrait Workshop scheduled in Oklahoma City soon. Dates are Thursday and Friday, November 13th and 14th. It will be held at Geatches Art Studio in the Paseo District.

I'll be doing demos from live models and teaching how to capture a likeness in charcoal and then in oil.

My goal for this workshop is to help participants see the model, and develop skills in capturing a likeness. No matter the style or experience I will try to assist and encourage each one. Students can follow my lead for using charcoal to start with and then trying a portrait in oils. Or if some would like to work in charcoal for all sessions, that's okay.

Please message me if you'd like more info, or visit the event page about it on facebook.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fall Plein Air Painting

"Slice of Light" Oil, 7"x5"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

Earlier this week I went with a fellow artist to nearby Kootenai Wildlife Refuge to paint en plein air. It was a beautiful afternoon and we actually had some sunshine after a week of rainy, grey days.

We drove to a couple of spots before settling on this place to get to work. I wanted those water reflections and the dramatic sky.

The sun was setting quickly and the mountain shadow darkened most of the scene before me after I'd been working only a short time. Which was actually quite nice, as it contrasted with that last bit of sunlight in the distance and lit up that glorious orange tree. Sometimes on-site paintings don't work well, but this one serendipitously came together nicely.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Sunset Painting Finished

As I mentioned recently, that pile of unfinished paintings in the corner taunts me from time to time. This one needed something even though it had a lot going for it. It had been sitting for a couple of years, so I added a few touches to tie it together and am calling it done.

That amazing show of glowing green sky at the horizon contrasted with the scarlet clouds is what captured my fancy.

"Sunset Splendor Show" Oil, 8"x8"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

Monday, October 13, 2014

Another One from Scotchman Peaks Paint Out

(left) "Monarch Morning" oil 8"x10"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

This is the piece I started Saturday morning at the Plein Air event. I felt it needed a little more something than what I got on location.

I've bumped up contrast a tiny bit. I resisted doing much to the piece, so perhaps this is enough to call it done.

Friday, October 10, 2014

End of Day Plein Air

(left) "Bright Evening at the Flats"
Oil, 5" x 7"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

The Pack River Flats of Lake Pend d'Oreille is one of my favorite spots for plein air painting. This little study is one I did about a month ago but felt it needed a few touch ups before it was ready for prime time. I think I'm done now.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Scotchman Peaks Paint Out 2014

The knats and flies are swarming these days in our neck of the woods. This makes for misery when painting outdoors... not as bad as mosquitoes biting, but annoying none the less. Crazy making if they're really active: bugs in the eyes, ears and nose and flying into one's clothing and into wet paint. Ah the joys of plein air painting.

This past weekend was the annual paint out for Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. It was a Saturday one day event this year, although some participants started the night before.

(left) "Pink and Green" oil 6"x8"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

Evening paintings are really my favorite for plein air, so Friday evening I headed to a spot I love to capture what I thought might be a good sunset. Even though I was pretty much painting in the dark at the end, the piece turned out to be satisfying, even in the light of day next morning.

Early Saturday I downed some coffee after sleeping (sort of) in my van and headed out from my camp spot to see what the light was like on the lake. Those evil bugs kept me company as I worked on a study of the Monarchs in the early light by Lake Pend d'Oreille. Early and late light changes pretty fast, so I snapped a few photos to finish the piece later.

My middle of the day painting wound up being scraped off. I'm trying to use more paint in my work, but sometimes it gets me into trouble and this was one of those pieces that just got  worse the more paint I put on. No big deal... it's just some wasted paint and time. Even though I had the bugs for company I did get some sun while I worked, so that was something.

(left) "Fall at the Creek" oil 5"x7"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin


I managed a little study at the last minute of a distant scene I'd had my eye on while I was working on the failed one. That one, and my evening painting from the night before, would suffice for taking to the gallery (Outskirts in Hope, Idaho) for the show. I wouldn't be in the competition this year anyway, as I was the judge, having won first place last year.

Judging, as is usually the case, was a challenge. There were quite a few really lovely paintings. Of course we all have our prejudices. It was fun to be able to pick my favorites for the prizes. I wish I had a link to the winners. Maybe soon they'll post something on facebook so I can show them to you.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Three of My Paintings Juried in The MAC Auction


(above, left) "Way Over Yonder" oil 8x10"
(above, right) "Hood Awakes"  oil 8x8"
(below, left) "Clear Palouse Afternoon" oil 10x10"

I'm pleased that three of my paintings have again been accepted this year to the MAC Art Auction, benefiting the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.These three plein air pieces are framed and delivered to the museum for the auction preview.

The gala event happens on November 8, 2014 at the historic Davenport Hotel in Spokane Washington. Please visit this link for tickets, information and online catalog.