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, December 29, 2012

Good Gifts

"Dancing in the Spotlight"
Oil 12"x24"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

My painting at left pretty much illustrates my current mood.

I received news on Christmas eve that I've been selected to receive Oil Painters of America's Shirl Smithson Scholarship to attend an art workshop. This was truly a delightful surprise and a wonderful Christmas gift!

I'm excited and thankful. I'll keep you posted on my workshop plans, as I've mailed my deposit to enroll but haven't yet heard back whether I'm in. I'm hoping this particular workshop has not filled up already!

Thank you to all who visit this blog, comment on my paintings and drawings, and encourage me in my struggles to create something beautiful, day after day. It is good to share my art with you here online and get your feedback. And I love visiting your blog pages to see what latest inspiring work you've done!

All my chicks were gathered under my wings for Christmas: a sweet gift and better than any wrapped present. It was fun, though, making or finding some special things for each other and opening the gifts to see the surprises we had prepared for each other.

I hope your Christmas was filled with rich moments, good remembrances of family and friends, and the One whose birth we celebrate as the Greatest Gift of all.

Wishing you each blessings in this coming New Year!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Our December Painting Challenge: Old Age

"Contrasts of Life"
Original framed oil 8"x10"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

Our Challenge this month is the conclusion of the last few which progressed, starting with Childhood in September. Time marches on, like the progression in our Challenges.

I wanted to show contrasts in this painting and as I was working on this piece with the baby and the great-grandma's hands I thought of the childlike quality of old age, too.

I also thought what a nice job it is to hold and rock a baby at any age. The great-grandchild is one of the best rewards of life for this woman, a great-grandma who is a widow, in her 90s, nearly blind, and confined to a wheelchair.

I really like the other paintings for our Challenge this month. I hope you'll visit Mark and Vicki's blogs to read their take on this month's subject.

(left above) "Self portrait with Sammy" Oil on panel, 6"x8" ©2012 Mark Adams
(right above) "Mary and Delys in Salzberg" Pastel, 20"x16" ©2012 Vicki Ross

Monday, December 10, 2012

Creating Suitable Art for Special Conditions

(left) "Back Lights"  24"x30"
Original charcoal and pastel drawing
on special board with waterproof coating
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

Special conditions of temperatures or humidity call for unique solutions for the art environment, unless the art itself is not created to be permanent.

For instance, one of my sculptor friends, Lee Harris, who, along with making art with lasting materials, creates snow sculptures that can be enjoyed for only a short time. She and her team compete in winter events and work in the freezing cold to create amazing pieces that will last only as long as cold, dry winter conditions cooperate. Lee and I worked on a joint sculpture of a mama and baby bear a few years ago with more lasting materials.

How long should art last? It depends on the medium and the artist's intention, I think.

The recent large drawing commission I did for a collector's bathroom originally had me flummoxed. I wanted it to last longer than a few months, especially since the client did too. A drawing on paper simply wouldn't fare well in a humid bath environment. Eventually, a drawing on paper would buckle, mold would grow inside the glass on the matting and paper, and condensation would obscure the picture itself. What to do?

(photo, above) Applying the humidity resistant coating after the drawing is completed. The art doesn't need to be framed or put under glass.

In October I posted about my new process so I could create the work for a bathroom.

(photo, left) "Back Lights" is wrapped, boxed once, cushioned well, and then boxed again for added protection. That's the large sturdy package waiting by the door to go to the shipper.

Here is a photo of the finished piece hanging above my client's very large tub. She noted, "In the picture, she looks a little small in the space, but in person, she is a great size." How nice to know my reclining lady is enjoyed there in that lovely room!

(final photo) 
"Back Lights" made it safely to the collector, was unpacked successfully, and then carefully hung in the spacious bathroom above the very large bath tub.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Light and Color in the North Country

(left) "Afternoon Outlook" Oil
5"x7" Original plein air painting 
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin


Up here at the edge of the earth, days are short this time of year, and many of them are grey and dark. When the sun shines it is a welcome tonic for body and soul. Color! I'm so thankful for it, and eyes to see it. These are blessings I try not to take for granted by thanking the Creator for such miracles of life

"Sky and Water Colors" 4"x4"
Original miniature oil painting
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin


Monday, November 19, 2012

Scotchman Peaks Paint Out

(left) "Blues and Greens"
Original oil
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin


These were painted en plein air last month near Hope, Idaho, for the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness Paint Out.

I've participated in this event for several years and always enjoy the camaraderie of painting with other artists, even if the weather is a bit cold for me.

If you'd like to see these paintings in person, you can enjoy them at OutSkirts Gallery in Hope. It's a lovely drive around the lake from Sandpoint.

(left) "Companions" Original oil, 10"x8"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

(below left) "Limelight" Original oil, 5"x5"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"Adulthood", our November Painting Challenge

"New Family"
Original oil on hardboard, 6"x8"
in handsome custom frame
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

I named our focus to paint this time, following the lead of our last two month's subjects. You'd think I would have more of a plan about what to paint when I chose the idea, but I did not.

I simply thought it would be an interesting challenge to continue the progression from childhood to adolescence on to adulthood.

What does it mean to be an adult? Is it being of legal age to buy alcohol or tobacco? Is it that one is old enough to vote, or enlist in the military, or get married? Does it mean getting a job, or buying a house? I thought about all these, and more, as I was considering what to paint for this month's Challenge.

I don't think I actually felt like an adult until I became a parent, even though I'd been on my own, working, and married, for a number of years before I had children. It was only when I had my own babies that I truly felt like an adult.

And you know, some people never grow up. Adulthood signifies responsibility, and there are those who have lived many decades who have not yet grasped that concept.

On the flip side there are young persons who've had to take on responsibilities beyond their years and have had to grow up with hardly a glance at childhood. I suppose I could paint for a year and not exhaust all the possibilities for ideas about our subject this month.

Fellow Challenge participant, Mark Adams waxed eloquent about our subject at his blog post today. Here is his lovely painting.

"Father Frederick Hanna"
Oil on Canvas
24" x 36"
©2012 Mark Adams

Challenge group member, Suzanne Berry painted a lusciously rendered small oil for this month's puzzler. It speaks volumes, don't you think?

Oil on linen 
©2012 Suzanne Berry

Monday, November 12, 2012

Those Summer Painting Days

This miniature at left was painted on the first day of the Columbia Gorge paint out and served as a warm-up for me.

Plein air season for me is when the weather is warm enough to be outdoors most of the day. In the Pacific or Inland Northwest, that's pretty much summer, at least for me.

Mornings and evenings can be quite cool even in the summer. They are my favorite time to capture the colors and mood of a scene, however, whether in a little oil sketch like this one, or something a little larger.

(upper left)"View of Adams"  Oil, 3"x4", framed ©2012 Diana Moses Botkin 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sunny Day at the Columbia Gorge

(first painting) "Waterfront"
Oil on deep canvas, 6"x6"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

(second painting) "At the River"
Oil on deep canvas, 6"x6"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

These pieces were painted during the plein air event at Hood River at the end of summer. I wanted to do some touching up on a couple of them, so I didn't show them here when I posted the others in September.

Today I'm enjoying the memory of that hot, sunny day, painting on location. It's cold and snowy here in Idaho right now, so it's especially nice looking at the warm colors in these little jewels.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sandpoint Solo Show Starts Sunday

Original oil, 10"x8"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

This Sunday from 11 to 1, I'll be on hand at Monarch Mountain Coffee Company in Sandpoint, Idaho for a reception to open "Figurative Statements", an exhibit of my paintings and drawings.

(second painting at left)
Original oil, 10"x8" 
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin


In the show are images fitting the theme, derived from realistic human figures or abstract form.

A Sunday opening is a first in my experience, but the coffee company owner suggested the time frame for a relaxed gathering. She had told me she wanted more paintings after my ArtWalk show of portraits and still life paintings. She suggested "something more edgy, like nudes".

 In addition to the bath drawings, I'll be showing other nudes including large framed studies on paper and small original oil paintings, like these two at left.

(third painting at left)
"Fiery Flight" 
Original oil, 18"x24"
©2010 Diana Moses Botkin

Along with the figurative pieces, I'm exhibiting some abstract work, which makes an interesting contrast to the familiar forms of the figure paintings and drawings.

Although I paint a variety of subjects, I regularly return to the figure. It's a lot like comfort food to me on a cold rainy day. The figure itself can be simple or complex, depending on the pose and lighting.

And abstract work can be similar, although for me it is more about experimentation and exploration than comforting familiarity with beautiful form.

What's your take on nudes and abstracts?

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

"Theological Studies" My Newest Giclée Reproduction

This image is the most recent addition to my print gallery.

It is available on canvas and other surfaces, in several sizes. Additionally, framing can be easily ordered, which gives you ready art for hanging on your wall, or for gift giving.

More information and order buttons are at this page.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Figurative Art for the Bath

(left) "Arm Shadow"
Charcoal and pastel
with acrylic coating, 7"x5"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin


I've been working on that large nude figurative commission for my client's bathroom.

It's been a bit of a challenge to find the right materials for this piece and develop a suitable drawing surface, then add some kind of appropriate coating to protect the original charcoal drawing without framing and glass.

(second drawing at left) 
"Light Dance"
Charcoal and pastel
with acrylic coating, 7"x5"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin


I do like a challenge, so it's been an interesting process to experiment a bit for this. I wanted to get familiar with my new materials and the technique I needed to use for the collector's large custom drawing so I decided I should do some smaller pieces first.

(third drawing at left)
"Morning Stretch"
Charcoal and pastel
with acrylic coating, 10"x8"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin


After some mess-ups and unsuccessful color/surface applications, I did several keepers, which will fit right into an upcoming solo show I'm hanging soon. (I'll post about it in a week or so and tell you a little more about it.)

It's good to be doing some figurative work again. I felt quite disoriented back home in my studio space after working outdoors doing landscapes at the plein air events at the end of the summer.

(fourth drawing, left)
"Bathing Pose"
Charcoal and pastel
with acrylic coating, 10"x8"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

I like this drawing technique and am getting used to the new materials. I'm feeling less clumsy with it, finding out how it behaves, learning what to watch out for and prevent as I work.

It is not as forgiving as a nice soft cotton charcoal paper with a laid finish, but it's workable, and allows me to do original drawings that can enjoyed in the bathroom environment. Nudes seem an obvious choice for art in the bathing area.

Please contact me if you'd like to purchase these or commission a similar large work for your own bathroom or spa.

Monday, October 15, 2012

October Painting Challenge: Adolescence

Welcome back to the Challenge, Suzanne, and thanks for picking our subject this month!

This one is a continuation of sorts of last month's theme. I enjoyed thinking about what adolescence might mean in a symbolic way (and, I admit, stressed over it a bit).

That preteen age is still rather care-free for most kids, but thoughts are taking shape about adulthood. I wanted to show something of that transition in life.

(image above left) "Soothing Break" Oil on hardboard 6"x9" ©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

For my reference I used a photo of my youngest from a few years ago that I'd snapped while he was enjoying some relaxing time in the warm sun and the company of our fuzzy orange cat. I thought he looked like he might be pondering some of life's questions while lying on the ground.

We've all been super busy lately but I'm very glad we've managed to keep up our monthly puzzler. I think everyone's paintings are stellar.

Every one of us has had our own challenges to deal with, so it is especially delightful to me that all of the group was able to come up with a painting for this one. You can see larger images at each artist's blog link.

 (first painting)
Oil on canvas
©2012 Suzanne Berry

(second painting)

"Tyler the Teenager"
14" x18" Pastel
©2012 Vicki Ross

Mark's painting, an early work of his, is impressive for a youngster, and perfect for our theme! 

(third painting)
"Self portrait 1968"
Oil on canvas
27" x 18"
©1968 Mark Adams

Friday, October 12, 2012

Driving and Painting, and Driving, and Drawing

During the past couple of months I've participated in several plein air events. This means I've put a lot of miles on my van. I've also painted some decent work, sold some, and won an award. All good.

Besides the finished plein air pieces at the shows, I also have over a dozen new unfinished pieces now sitting in my studio space. These are paintings started en plein air which needed more time to bring to a good conclusion. Looking at them now, I think several can be finished up in the studio. We'll see. Plein air work is a challenge in itself, and finishing a piece off-site can be even more difficult.

I'm also working on an interesting figurative commission, which is presenting some unique challenges. The client originally wanted a charcoal figure drawing for her bathroom. I advised her that works on paper, which need to be matted and framed under glass, would not fare well in a humid bathroom environment. Think rippled paper and mold under the glass in a few months.

She then considered a giclée reproduction on canvas of one of my figurative pieces, but the size she wants is much larger than the art would reproduce well. Finally, I came up with a plan for an original drawing on a surface suitable for a humid bathroom environment with an applied protective coating. So I've been experimenting with the drawing surface and coatings.

And another challenge is coming up right after the weekend when it will be time for our monthly Challenge! I hope you'll check back here on Monday to see what the group creates this time.

Friday, September 21, 2012

My Critique Group Article

Recently I wrote an article about art critique groups. It is now out in this month's issue of Professional Artist Magazine.

I've enjoyed our local gathering for over a decade since I first heard about it and have found it beneficial. It's easy to be too close to our own work sometimes, so getting a fresh perspective is helpful.

If you've ever wanted to attend a critique group or start your own, the piece covers basic guidelines and suggests practical plans for making it successful.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Columbia Gorge Plein Air Paintings

(first painting)"Morning Sails” Oil 8"x10" ©2012 Diana Moses Botkin  SOLD 
(second painting) “Evening Garden View” Oil 8"x10" ©2012 Diana Moses Botkin SOLD

(third painting) “Evening Highlights” Oil 7.5"x13"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin


The town of Hood River, about an hour east of Portland, sits on the Columbia River in the gorge. The area is full of amazing views. Mt. Hood is always inspiring and this year at the paint out I was especially pleased to have an evening panorama of the mountain for my wide format painting "Evening Highlights" above. Another artist and I stayed at that particular location for the evening light (my favorite to try to capture). I'm willing to forgo supper and keep painting for a view like this, even after working hard all day. 

Last year was my first time participating in this plein air event and I enjoyed it so much I applied again for 2012. I was very encouraged to win the Best River award this year for my painting of "Morning Sails". Please contact me if you are interested in these paintings.

(left) “Glowing Hill” Oil 5"x7"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"Childhood", our September Painting Challenge

"Summer Coolness"
Original unframed oil

on hardboard

©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

Mark named our Challenge this month and it turned out to be more difficult than I had anticipated, coming up with an idea to fit the theme. Other members were not able to participate this month, but Mark and I managed to meet the deadline. 

The Challenge continues to be fun for our group and challenge us to come up with something we might not normally think of painting.

It certainly got me to thinking about the idea of childhood. I wanted to portray something of the innocence and playfulness of that stage of life, plus some fascination that children have with the way things are in the world.


"Willow - May Day Celebration"
Oil on panel

8" x 10"
©2012 Mark Adams

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Paint Out in the Columbia Gorge

After the paint out for the Trail in Sandpoint, I drove down to the Columbia Gorge for the Pacific Northwest Plein Air in the Hood River area.

The Trail paintings were a perfect warm-up for the Gorge paint out. I think I felt more comfortable with the plein air experience and paintings seemed to be working better for me. Or maybe I was just working better.

The Gorge is such a beautiful place to paint and I was pleased that I was juried in again this year for the paint out and show.

I about froze the morning I was painting "Morning Sails" up above the Columbia River last week. That's the painting with the ribbon (Best River award) in this photo. The one above it is another one of my oil paintings from the plein air paint out. I'll post images of them, and others, soon.

Our monthly Challenge is coming up on Saturday, so that's what's on my plate (er, easel) right now.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Plein Air Paintings of The Trail

"Painting the Trail"
Oil 8"x6"
Diana Moses Botkin


"Evening on the Trail"
Oil 8"x6"

Diana Moses Botkin


These two small works are what I chose to submit for the Bay Trail Paint Out show in Sandpoint the end of August. Although I painted several other pieces, none of them seemed finished enough to put them in a frame and show them at the gallery.

These two were the last ones I did during the paint out. I had fun with these after struggling with all my other pieces. These felt a lot more playful, especially in those dappled shadows and the various colors of the water.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Painting Out

Last week I participated in a plein air event in Sandpoint for the new Bay Trail at the Lake. What a wonderful walking and biking path! I had a chance to paint with several friends. It's always nice at these paint outs to socialize with other artists. Most of us work in solitude much of the time, so events like these give us a chance for some company while we work.

And this week I am in Hood River, Oregon for another paint out. Oh so fun, and oh such hard work it all is!

Here's a link to the Hood River event. You can see photos of all the artists participating at each day's location. Sometimes I go to the arranged spot and sometimes I find a view on my own that I want to paint.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

"S Curve" Charcoal and Chalk Figure Study

Original charcoal and chalk drawing on paper
Approximately 18"x12"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


Friday, August 17, 2012

To Be or Not to Be... a Daily Painter

One of my blogging friends, Mark Adams, who also happens to be a member of my monthly Challenge group, wrote recently about daily painting and the thorny issues that accompany the goal of painting a new one every day.

I left a comment that I totally identify. I confessed that my dailies have fallen off too, and I've come to realize that I can't keep trying to come up with little masterpieces almost every day.

I have never reached my goal of 365 paintings in a year since I've been attempting this. It is an admirable goal, though, still.

2004 was the first year I tried daily painting. I managed to paint 104 pieces that year, most of which were a lot smaller than what I'd been doing previously. The number of completed pieces rose during the next few years, peaking in 2010 at 236. Last year and this year, I've worked more slowly and with more deliberation. I've purposely painted some larger oils, and commissions. There is simply no way I can do work like that in one day.

Be that as it may, rest assured I'll still continue to do the little 'uns and show them here at my blog for several reasons, along with some larger pieces with more thought and effort behind them. If my labors do not produce something new (and complete) every single day, then so be it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My New Shipping Article Now Published

Many of you know I write for Professional Artist Magazine (formerly Art Calendar). You can read my piece "Getting It There: Packing and Shipping Art in Mailing Tubes" in this month's issue.

The article is an expansion of a previous piece on packing and shipping flat art, such as framed paintings. I won an award for that article, which was a first for me. I hope this new piece is also helpful and well-received.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Moses Botkin August Painting Challenge: Statue

"Tale of Woe"
Original oil sketch on hardboard

©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

Vicki chose our subject for this month's Challenge. When she named a statue to paint, I thought of several ideas and settled on this one, based on a sculpture I saw of Cain outdoors at the Louvre.

At the time I had jet-lag and had been scolded at Musee d'Orsay for putting my feet up.
I had actually been reprimanded a couple of times by the guards at d'Orsay (in French which I don't speak well but I pretty much read their gestures).
And I had been chewed out (in French) by the maid earlier that morning at our cheap little hotel in Paris for having food in our room. This sculpture spoke of how I felt when I saw this piece. I hope this makes you smile, as it does for me now.

Here are this month's paintings from the rest of the group, which I like very much. This was a good Challenge and got me to thinking, which is one of our goals for the monthly exercise.

It gets us out of our comfort zone a little, motivates us to paint something we might not normally think of, and is "fun" in a punishing stressful sort of way. Month after month, we accept the difficulties and yes, the dare, to paint our Challenge.

below left) "Nymphs and Satyr" Oil on Canvas, 22" x 28" ©2012 Mark Adams
(below right) "Love" Oil on Panel, 16"x12" ©2012 Vicki N. Ross