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.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

This is Number 30 of 30 Pieces This Month!

"Carrying the Ball" 
Charcoal/chalk on matt board
Unframed, approximately 10"x5” 
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

It's been an interesting excursion doing the challenge of 30 pieces in 30 days! A number of tasks were set aside this month as I made sure to create something new for each day.

Today I had a very difficult time trying to come up with a final piece. I had originally thought I would finish a small oil I started last week but realized today that I would need more time to bring it to completion.

So I went on a hunt for an interesting reference and finally found one that seemed just right since Super Bowl Sunday is this weekend.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Twenty-nine = One to Go!

"Insight" Charcoal/chalk
on charcoal paper
Unframed, approx. 8"x10” 
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


You may have noticed I've done several dark shadowy pieces lately. I am enjoying the way the faintly perceptible images create an interesting mood. They seem somewhat dreamlike, or perhaps like waking from a dream state.

Have you ever arisen from sleep with insight about something that's been on your mind?

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


"Morning Prayer”
Oil, 9"x7” unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


I originally wanted to put a sky in with this figure but when I tried it, the painting lost the air of mystery I saw in the pose. It just looked contrived, even corny. So, something simple and subdued for a background seemed best.

Monday, January 28, 2013

This is Twenty-seven. Three to Go!

"Soothing Sunshine"
Original pastel on Canson
6.25"x10.25", unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

I'm craving sunshine and we've had a little but I sure would like some more!

Thinking of how nice the warm sun would feel on my pale skin, this was a fun one to paint with the warm and cool colors and that bright green grass.

Sunday, January 27, 2013


"Sleek Lines” 
Oil on canvas with
black painted sides
can hang unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

I was pleased with the way this one went, and felt like I got the feel of the pose without painting in too much detail. Maybe fading eyesight has some advantages.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


"Dawn Stretch" 
Charcoal/chalk on Canson paper
Unframed, approximately 8.5"x8.5” 
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

This is a small quick study of more chiaroscuro lighting. It is very dramatic and I like the way it expresses form.

Friday, January 25, 2013


"Awake, Sleeper”
Oil, 10"x8” unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


I've been working on a couple of other paintings but am not ready to show them to you just yet.

One is a larger piece and the other is similar to this one and the same size.

This dark technique does not photograph well and much of the subtle detail gets lost. This is much nicer, viewed in person, but I hope you can get an idea of what it looks like.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Twenty-three Means a Week to Go!

"Hands Behind" 
Charcoal/chalk on grey cotton paper
Unframed, approximately 11"x8” 
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

Hands can be tricky. Sometimes the position makes it hard to see how many fingers are there. The mind wants to put them in whether they can be seen or not. So, ideally, the brain fills in what the eyes can't see.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Here is Number Twenty-two

"Snuggling Roses”
Oil on linen 4"x3”
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


Tuesday, January 22, 2013


"Watching Drama" 
Charcoal/chalk on brown art paper
Unframed, approximately 15"x11” 
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

You can contact me if you'd like charcoal studies or oil paintings of your family members.

This one was done from life, which is my preference, but I can also work from photos if they have good directional light to show features. At rest poses work best with a relaxed expression rather than an open smile.

This young man was watching a movie while I sketched his features. The overhead light worked surprisingly well for capturing the bone structure, especially when I added the white chalk.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Twenty is Two-thirds

"Perchance to Dream" 
on grey charcoal paper
8.5"x12.5” unframed  
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin 


I have only ten more to go in this thirty day challenge doing thirty pieces! As you've probably guessed, the paintings, even though small, take more time than the drawings. I've enjoyed doing both and each medium presents advantages or limitations.

The drawings are especially good for focusing on ideas and composition. Mentally, they seem less intimidating.That's a good thing as I'm trying to come up with something new and interesting every day.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Number Nineteen of Thirty

Charcoal and chalk on
grey Canson paper
8"x11” unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Eighteen Down. A Dozen to Go.

"Basking in the Light”
Charcoal and chalk on
orange textured paper
5.5"x9.5” unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

An alternate title could be "She of the White Skin". Another one that comes to mind is that third grader riddle, "What's Black and White and Red All Over?".

Friday, January 18, 2013

Number Seventeen

Oil on canvas 
Framed in custom
gold and black frame
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

If you're an artist, I'm guessing you might go through what I sometimes do with paintings.

I have an idea, references, model, or wonderful landscape before me, and excitement for the painting. As I begin the piece, I think, "This is going to be the best painting I've ever done". After a little while working on it my thoughts shift to, "This is the worst painting I've ever done!"

As I continue painting on it, I think I may be able to get it to work. A little later I start to realize it's not half-bad.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Number 15 = Half Finished!

"Stretching Up" 
Charcoal/chalk on grey cotton paper
Unframed, approximately 18"x11” 
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

I thought about naming this "Torso Stretch for Short Lady Godiva".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

January Painting Challenge: Sunlit Room

Vicki chose our subject this month and I had the perfect reference all ready, one I'd been wanting to paint.

I worked on this little detailed painting over the course of several days, painting layers to get the effects I wanted.

I had fun painting this little cutie in her polka dotted dress!

(left) "Party Balloon"
Original framed oil 8"x6"
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

There are three of us doing the monthly Challenge now. I'd like to add one or two new members to replace Mark, who will no longer participate. We will miss him!

I started this Challenge four years ago to ...well, challenge myself and the group. I wanted it to be for fun, painting something we might not normally think to do.

We take turns picking the puzzler and post on our blogs on the 15th. You can see all the Challenges at my sidebar. If you would like to apply to our little merry band, please contact me with your blog link and email. I would love to see your work and share with you what the Challenge entails every month.

Here are Vicki and Suzanne's stellar paintings for this month's theme: so bright and sunny!

(left, below) "Exhibition Hallway Late Afternoon" Oil on Panel, 12"x6" ©2013 V.N.Ross
(right, below) "Light" Oil on canvas, 6"x6" ©2013 Suzanne Berry

Monday, January 14, 2013

Lucky Thirteen

Charcoal/chalk on 
cotton charcoal paper
Approx. 11"x17", unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


Diaries and pets are sometimes the easiest to talk to, no?

Sharing one's deepest thoughts can be a challenge. Challenges can useful, though, like my self-imposed test of doing thirty pieces for January.

I'll show you another challenge here tomorrow: my monthly Moses Botkin blog Challenge. There are three of us who are still committed to do this every month. It's a pleasant theme that was chosen by one of the members so I hope you'll look in tomorrow and see what we've painted!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

A Dozen Down

(left) "Mona Lisa's Legs"
Oil 6.5"x11", unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


What do you suppose daVinci's Mona looked like as a figurative model?

I'm guessing she was more plump than this young lady, but perhaps if Leonardo was working nowadays, he'd chose someone lean and muscular.

The challenge this month to do a new piece every day has been good in many ways. The daily practice has been instructional to me and even though other tasks are not getting done, it is good to set aside a large chunk every day to paint and draw.

Some days I have started paintings but needed to work on them longer. The drawings served on those days as faster pieces to post for completed work.

My inventory list is off to a good start this year. Last year I was much slower with work and did not have this many pieces done until March. Granted I had been working on a commission and another pretty large painting, so those took up a lot of my painting time.

Speaking of inventory: have you seen my newest article? It's about making an inventory list: how-to, advantages, and practical hints. You can check it out in the latest issue of Professional Artist Magazine.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Number Eleven

"Stepping Out" 
Charcoal/chalk on brown art paper
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin 

You'd never even know this woman had legs in that long garment unless she showed them off a bit.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ten of Thirty = One Third Done!

"Compact Model" 
Charcoal/chalk on Canson
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin 

Hooray! I'm a third of the way on this thirty day marathon.

I'm starting to enjoy it and not feel so stressed about what I'm drawing or painting every day. And I can tell that the daily practice is having a good effect.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Number Nine

"Dream a Little Dream of Me"
Charcoal/chalk on grey Canson paper
8"x11", unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


Okay I almost named this "A Hard Day's Night" but the Dream title won out, even if this one is number nine. (Maybe if the drawing had been white on white.) "Fever" also came to mind. I'm thinking it would be fun to fit song titles as art titles for a series, sometime. Or maybe for one of our monthly Challenges?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Eight Down... Twenty-two to Go

Yes, I'm still at it: creating a new piece every day for my January challenge. Granted, they are mostly small (as my daily paintings typically have been in the past), but so far I'm keeping up. I do have larger ones in mind to do, so we will see if I can get them done.

Charcoal/chalk on cotton charcoal paper
11"x8.5", unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Number Seven of Thirty

Original pastel on Canson
6.5"x8", unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

Several titles suggested themselves as I was working on this one. "Headache" seemed too negative, however, as did "Woe is Me".

But I was really quite tempted to go with "I dreamed I was at the prom and forgot my Maidenform Bra".

Monday, January 7, 2013

Six Down ... Only Twenty-four More to Go!

"Sweet Dream"
Oil 8"x10", unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

Where is this young lady relaxing in her blue evening gown? What's she dreaming about? Or is she the dream?

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Day Five of Thirty

On January 1, I shared here at this blog that I'm challenging myself to do 30 new pieces in 30 days. Here is the fifth piece.

This project is quite consuming, but "it's all good" as my kids sometimes say.

Although the laundry is piling up and I'm not cooking much in the way of meals, I feel much more on top of my game with this project. It's forcing me to think of what I'm drawing or painting every day and that next good piece.

Sometimes ideas simply present themselves, sometimes they are inspired, and sometimes they have to be sought, I think.

"Gliding Arms"
Original charcoal and chalk drawing
approximately 7"x12", unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Number Four of Thirty

The serpentine curve and lines of this pose make me appreciate the natural grace of the shapes our Creator has put in His creation. 

"Arm Stretch"
Original charcoal and chalk drawing
approximately 12"x8", unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

Friday, January 4, 2013

Day Three of Thirty

"The Lone in Winter"
Original pastel on blue paper
Approximately 12"x10", unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


Alternate titles for this could be "Winter", "Naked", or "Somebody Give That Girl a Sweater". What would you name this one?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Two Down and Twenty-eight to Go!

"After the Dance"
Original charcoal and chalk drawing
approximately 17.5"x12"
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin


This is the one I wanted to post yesterday since it fit a New Year's party theme.

We've had some sunshine today so I was able to take a photo of the drawing.

I think it would make a fun painting. What do you think?

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

My Challenge of 30 Pieces in 30 Days

Yesterday I shared here at this blog that I'm challenging myself this month to do thirty new pieces. I also have other commitments and projects so we will see what happens.

I am going to do my best to make it all happen, though, even if I don't get time to do much else.

Here is one of the thirty.

This is actually not the first one for my challenge, but the piece I was working on for the first one today needs to be photographed. It's too big for the scanner, which I realized only after finishing it late this afternoon, when there was not enough natural light to get a decent shot. Bother.

It's actually a more fitting image for the day after New Year's but it will have to wait for some sunshine. Maybe tomorrow.

So, I started the next one, small enough to put on the scanner for an image to share here.

This young woman doesn't work out at the gym to stay in shape. She didn't get this buff at a desk job, however. Besides her employment doing physical labor every day, she skins animals and makes leather garments as a hobby. She's very industrious and creative, and such an interesting model.

(above) "Hard Worker" Original pastel 6.5"x7.5", unframed
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

A New Year and New Challenges

Here it is a new year! The last twelve months have zipped by for me... for you too?

As 2012 drew to an end I finalized a commission and began forming some new ideas for work I want to do.

That's always the challenge before me... to create something beautiful or thought-provoking. Something fresh. New. Really, just how do I make a good painting... or a painting good? I want it to be more than just good enough.

These sketches are a hint of what has been jiggeting about in my brain. I'll show you some more later. (Please contact me if you would like to purchase any.)

Now it is January first. What does that mean? The first day of the year brings promises of things to come in my minds' eye. Does it for you? Some people feel like we get a fresh start with a new year, and I think there is something to that.

Although I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, I do have some new goals I'm challenging myself with this year. Or maybe, like so many New Year's resolutions, they are merely old goals with a fresh face.

Whatever they are, the first one I'm tackling starts tomorrow: 30 pieces in 30 days.  I've picked faces and figures for my month's theme to keep my interest and energy strong.

Can I do it? Will I get the other paintings done I want to do? Will I get any sleep? Will the family have any meals or clean laundry? We shall see!

It shouldn't be too hard, right? Many of you who are artists know that it is hard, sometimes really hard.

Just before Christmas I received a book in the mail that I'd been looking forward to seeing in print.

The book is Artists Speak, published by The Philadelphia/Tri-State Artists Equity Association. It is about "the revelations of contemporary artists, their lives, dreams, problems, joys and craft".

I was asked months ago to write the introduction to the chapter Balancing Art, Work, and Family. I considered it a privilege to share my thoughts regarding those specific challenges!

I am so impressed with the lovely work in the chapter by the men and women who are making art while working jobs and taking care of families!

Indeed the whole book is filled with outstanding and thought-provoking images and words regarding the challenges of being an artist. You can order the book at the Artists Equity page and see it for yourself.

So, what are your challenges? And do you have some new ones you've picked for the upcoming weeks and months?