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.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Pushing Through

Carbon pencil with chalk highlights
on grey paper 12"x17"
©2015 Diana Moses Botkin

Days turn into weeks; weeks into months. Time passes like rivers flow to the ocean. We all have it. We all lose it. Or use it.
(left) "Moonlit"
Charcoal with chalk highlights
on grey paper 17"x12"
©2015 Diana Moses Botkin

I've been laboring for months to find that place again where the mind tells the hand what to do and it's done with ability and intelligence. Various concerns have taken the forefront the past couple of years and time to draw and paint has suffered. The only way to make it better is to work it.

After scores of attempts and many sketches destined for the fire, the skills are peeking through. I'm finally feeling like I remember how to draw.

(left) "Secluded"
Charcoal with chalk highlights
on grey paper 17"x12"
©2015 Diana Moses Botkin

It's easy to let a skill get out of practice. Just let it slip, let it slide awhile, whatever it is... playing a musical instrument, dancing,... drawing, painting.

The good news is that it's not impossible to renew art skills. Although it has felt like giving birth every day, I see progress. Those earlier sketches which seemed so clumsy and ill-made can go in the fire and no one even has to see them. Oh that all our failures would be so easily swept away!

(right) "Slope"
Charcoal with chalk highlights
on grey paper 12"x17"
©2015 Diana Moses Botkin

Friday, October 30, 2015

Soon at the North Idaho Plein Air Painters Show

(left) "Shining Evening"
Oil, 5"x9"
©2015 Diana Moses Botkin

It was a lovely afternoon during the first week of October, not too cold, with a promise of evening color. So I set out on the hour-plus drive to one of my favorite plein air spots. This place.

It looks quite different now from last year's more abundant water in the marshes.

In a small painting like this, I can set up the composition and lay in shapes in less than an hour. Lots of painters do that much more quickly. I keep thinking one of these days I'll pick up speed but I think I'm getting slower. Sigh.

So after the shapes are in, I can have fun with that glowing sky and the sparkling reflections in the water channels before the light disappears and the cold benumbs my body and mind.

At home, I set this piece on my easel. Then I see a couple of spots I want to tweak, just a little. They are the tiniest of corrections and adjustments. And the next day and the next... small steps to the finish line.

This little jewel is going to the North Idaho Plein Air Painters Exhibit soon. Opening artists' reception is 5:30 - 7:00 pm on Friday, November 13th at Panhandle State Bank Building, 414 Church St. in Sandpoint, Idaho. The show will hang through February 19, 2016. If you're in the area, please drop by to see the beautiful work at this group exhibition!

Friday, October 16, 2015

2015 Scotchman Peaks Paint Out

(left) "Hopeful Morning"
Oil, 5"x10"
©2015 Diana Moses Botkin

Last weekend was the annual Scotchman Peaks Paint Out. There was no competition this year, which made for a friendly gathering.

Outskirts Gallery hosted the event again this year and organized three demo/lectures by Aaron Cordell Johnson (demo on painting clouds, only one of Aaron's notable skills), Greg Caudell (demo/talk on exploring color), and Alison Barrows Young (overview on plein air history).

I was happy to get out and paint early before the demos started, and encouraged that I haven't totally forgotten how to paint. The morning oil study I did went well and helped my confidence level.

(left) "Shining Afternoon"
Oil, 4"x8"
©2015 Diana Moses Botkin

This summer and fall have been busy with other projects and plein air painting has taken a back seat. After the demos Saturday I ventured out to paint again, hoping for some rosy late light. Clouds moved in and rain started, but I managed to get this little autumn study to a decent point before quitting.

(left) "Bright Evening at the Flats" 
Oil, 5"x7"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

Then it was time to put the wet paintings in frames and take them to the gallery for the reception. I also hung this painting from 2014 that didn't get framed last year for Scotchman Peaks. The show will continue at Outskirts through the end of the year.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Three Works to the MAC Gala Auction

This past week I delivered these three paintings accepted for the 2015 MAC Art Auction in Spokane, Washington. They're each framed in a presentation that shows off the art.

Event dates are October 2 through November 7 to preview the many beautiful works of art offered at the show. They can be viewed at the museum.

The gala reception and auction will be on 11/7/2015 at 5:00 pm at the historic Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane.
For more information, please visit the museum's event website.
(top left) "Palouse Sunset" oil 8"x10"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

(middle left) "Last Light on Hood"  
oil 8"x10"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

(lower left) "Verdant Valley" oil 8"x12"
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

Monday, September 7, 2015

Recent Events

Well, I haven't fallen off the edge of the earth. But it has been a busy last couple of months with a family wedding and visiting family and friends. All wonderful.

There have been the day to day chores this summer, too, of course. The big deal here in our area since the end of July were fires on nearby mountains. A couple of weeks ago they moved down the mountain and across the valley quite close to our place. We were told to evacuate when the fires moved within a couple of miles and the strong wind was blowing it our way.

My husband and I proceeded to load up our 20+ photo albums plus 3 xerox boxes of additional pictures. We packed up a lot of my paintings too. However, there are so many here I knew they would not all fit in our two vehicles. It was quite the experience going from room to room to pick which ones would fit. Some of my older pieces are very large, especially the abstracts.

What a terrible choice to have to decide which pieces to save. Thank the Lord, the wind died down and then switched direction. And even though all the those hard-working fire personnel fought hard to keep the fires from spreading, there simply wasn't enough manpower to stop the fires. Local farmers saved the day by plowing fire breaks through the fields as the fire moved toward them. True bravery and brotherly love were demonstrated in their actions.

We've had rain since that scary night, and the fires here are at an end, although there are still many areas out here in the west which are still burning.

Those dark areas on the mountains near us testify to the fire damage. We give thanks for the mercies of God.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Staedtler Ads with my Drawings

In my last post, I told about the commissions I was asked to do for Staedtler's new lines of art supplies.

Here are two of the ads the company is running with my art. My name appears in all their ads and on the product packages. It's such an honor to have my work associated with this company's art materials!

The graphite pencils come in a range of hardness/softness, giving the user various choices for drawing pressure. The charcoal pencils and sticks do that, as well. 

Soon, I'll be doing another commission for Staedtler for another soon-to-be-released artists' material. I'm looking forward to trying the new stuff, giving the company my evaluations, and then creating beautiful art with the final product.

All this will take awhile, of course, but I'll show you results later if all goes well.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Here Are The Staedtler Products With My Drawings!

I've mentioned here at this blog about doing some special commissions for Staedtler to use with their new product line. I'm very pleased to finally see and handle each of the packages which show my work!

The two pencil sets on the left display my drawing I created with the pencils. The third package exhibits the piece I did with Staedtler's new charcoal pencils. And the one on the right was done with the hard pastels shown.

On the back of each package is a brief step-by-step demo on how I developed the drawing which is on the front. I'd love to hear from you if you purchase any of these new products and how you like them.

I'm very happy to have my work associated with the Staedtler name. This all started almost two years ago when Staedtler contacted me to do the work after seeing one of my charcoal figure drawings online.

It's an honor to have been chosen to do the drawings for these new materials. And besides showing off my art on their packaging and in their advertising, I'm pleased that my original drawings are now in Staedtler's permanent collection.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Another One Done

"Toothbrush Break"
Original Oil, 7.5" x 13"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

This painting has gone through a couple of transformations to progress to something that looks finished and with which I'm also happy.

It has evolved into this simple study of the model during her break from poses. I liked her unusual uninhibited position while she stretched out her foot and simultaneously brushed her teeth as she relaxed.

This figurative piece and another one, is to be shipped this week to Tidewater Gallery in Swansboro, NC. Please contact the gallery if you would like sales information.

Monday, June 15, 2015

One of the Ones I Finished

"View From the Vineyard"
Oil, 4"x8"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin 

I mentioned recently that I was working on a commission and finishing up a few other paintings.

Here's one that I brought to completion while waiting for passages on the large commissioned piece to dry.

This little plein air oil was sketched in on location and then I set it aside, hoping to do more to it later. It's nice to be able to add a few more finishing touches to it. I wanted to add just enough texture and detail to make it look more finished without ruining the original mood of the piece. It feels just right now. Please contact me to purchase.

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, nude or costumed. 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


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.