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 Botki

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. If you can't see the show in person, you can enjoy it online here.

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.

The sun set quickly and the mountain shadow darkened most of the scene before me after I'd been working only a short time. This 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.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


(left) "Sky Light" oil 4"x6"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin


Here is a simple little study from a brief glowing moment. This was a plein air piece I did during a paint out a couple of years ago on a day when nearby forest fires pretty much ruined long-distance visability.

The three studies I did that day seemed like failures but this one just needed a little more color and contrast to represent the drama I'd seen.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Two More Orphan Drawings

(top left)
"Deep Slumber”
Original drawing, approx. 10"x18"
Charcoal and chalk on grey paper 
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

I mentioned in a previous post about uncovering previously undocumented and unphotographed work while straightening and filing in my studio space.
Although there were some pieces which were not worth saving, here are a couple which I didn't relegate to the wood stove. To purchase, simply contact me.

(lower left)
“Deep in Thought” 
Original drawing, approx. 16"x11"
Charcoal and chalk on grey cotton paper 
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Plein Air Skyscapes

"High Against the Sky" Original oil 10"x8"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin

Although portrait and figurative subjects are my favorites, I also love painting skies. Landscapes, especially in beautiful light, continue to inspire.

When I first tried plein air work, I was surprised how impossible it felt to capture a scene before it changed completely! During the past decade of painting on location I have managed to pull together some decent pieces and also wipe off more than a few failures. Rubbing shoulders with other plein air painters shows me I'm not alone with the difficulties.

"Storm Silhouette"
Original oil, 7"x7"
©2014 Diana Moses Botkin 

This second painting I've been looking at for almost a month since I put down the paint. I knew I wanted to tweak that cloud shape just slightly. I noticed after I painted it that it was a little too symmetrical, so I've finally added a teensy bit of volume to one side.

I can show you these two small pieces that I'm not wiping off or painting over! I hope you enjoy them. Please contact me if you would like more information about them.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Charcoal Drawings

Since the return from my winter art trip I've had more catching up to do than I care to mention. But I've checked stuff off my to-do list. That, at least, feels like some things have been accomplished. Doing taxes, major cleaning, and weeding are certainly not what I like doing, but I'm glad to get them done. I'm enjoying having them done (at least for a little while).

During some recent organizing of my limited studio space I discovered a small pile of drawings I'd set aside before my journey. The sketches had not been photographed or put in my inventory list. At the time I had lots to do to get ready for my extended trip.

I had also been asked to do more evaluations of art materials for a well-known company. These first two sketches shown here, I did to assess sets of charcoal sticks and the last one I did using a line of charcoal pencils they plan to market.

Please contact me if you would like more information about these studies, or my other work.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I'm Pleased to Finally Show You This

Over a year ago, I was contacted by Staedtler after they saw one of my figure drawings.

The international art materials company based in Germany was redesigning several lines of supplies and wanted me to develop art for each line, similar to my drawing they liked. They planned to use the pieces for their new packaging and related advertising.

So, finally the first product line is ready for market, the Tradition® pencil sets. I created this special drawing you see at right, using their products. 

Last year when I was testing out the pencils and working on this drawing to meet their deadline, I hinted at the process in some blog posts. I'm so happy to finally be able to show you my work.

I saw Staedtler's advertising for the first time yesterday for the Tradition® pencil set (in Drawing magazine), which shows my work in the ads. I feel blessed and honored to have my art shown off by Staedtler. Soon there will also be a couple of other products with my work on the package. I'll let you know when those are out! 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"New Place" Available

One of my larger paintings I completed during this past year brought some interesting remarks. One friend noted that she had stood in doorways of new residences many times like this, wondering how to make the empty place seem like home. 

(left) "New Place"
Oil on hardboard, 24"x18" 
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin 

Monday, July 14, 2014

Giclées Available of "Afternoon Study"

This painting of a woman behind lacy curtains, peeking out from the window in an old house is sold, but reproductions can now be ordered in several sizes, on canvas or art paper, framed or not. They are available at my online print gallery, in the figurative/portrait section.

And there's a special offer this month when you purchase any size print from the gallery: order before the end of July and receive a $100 gift certificate from NakedWines.com!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Trompe l'oeil Reproductions Available

This whimsical piece is now available in the humor section at my online reproductions gallery. Trompe l'oeil art (French for "deceive the eye") aims to give the impression of being actual 3-dimensional objects, rather than painted 2-dimensional ones.

While this is generally what many painting styles try to do, trompe-l'oeil presents the piece in a format that invites the viewer to believe the objects are real, rather than painted.

There is room on my "bulletin board" to tape a photograph or other real item, (which is sometimes done in this genre to assist the illusion). Any number of items would be fun additions to my little lego boxing man who has been working out, the needle and thread with the button, the keys, and my lists. What would you put on there?

And don't forget the fun deal for print orders through July: purchase any size reproduction, framed or not and receive a $100 gift certificate from NakedWines.com!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

New Repros and a Wine Certificate with Orders!

Two new pieces have been added to my giclée reproductions gallery. You can find them in the figurative/portrait section. Both images are available on canvas or art paper, framed or unframed, in several sizes. Cards and phone covers can also be ordered.

And here's an amazing deal: order during the month of July and receive a $100 gift certificate from NakedWines.com! 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Pastel Figure Studies on Black Paper

Three different models posed for these studies. These are all I have left to show you from my trip this winter, except a few pieces that still need work.

Now that I'm back on the farm at home, I sure am missing the Open Studio opportunities from my travels. Of course I have plenty to do here, and it's time to get out and about for plein air painting. But I do miss studying with the models.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

More Drama

Three different models posed for these studies, in the dramatic lighting I like.

Upper left study is pastel on watercolor paper. Upper right drawing is pastel on black Canson, as is the third piece. These are all different models. The second study was an interesting combination of patterns and weirdness. That wild tie-dyed t-shirt with the stripped leggings and heavy boots were topped off by extensive arm tattoos. All this was quite a challenge to capture.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Studies on Black

Here a more drawings: studies of two different models. As you can probably tell, I prefer dramatic lighting. It's especially interesting on the dark background. Using the black paper really forces some concentration.

One has to work backwards from the usual practice of blocking in shapes with the darks. Laying down the lights first to define the form feels quite awkward when one is used to doing shadows first. I'm usually pleased with the results, though.

These studies from life are all drawn in pastel on black canson. Please contact me to purchase them, or others here at my blog.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Charcoal Studies on Watercolor Paper

These drawings on watercolor paper turned out to look quite different from the ones I've done on charcoal paper or the grey paper I often use for quick sketches.

More often than not, I prefer to work on a medium tone paper (such as grey or tan) but I had this heavy white watercolor paper in my drawing satchel and it sort of called to me.

I think it said, "Try something different for a change"... or maybe it was, "Don't be afraid to work out of your comfort zone".

I liked using it, although it was not forgiving for changes. That's one of the reasons I usually prefer the cotton charcoal paper. It's fairly easy to wipe lightly drawn mistakes off with a sleeve or rag when using the cotton paper. But I did adjust to the working qualities of the watercolor paper, and the texture made for interesting results.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

More From Life

"More from life" could mean several things. There is a lot from our lives which we could share: our stories of happiness and heartache, a bouquet from the garden, a meal, a cup of coffee.

And life drawings. Here are a couple more from my winter hours working away. This is the same lovely model in the vintage dress from my last post.

The drawing at the top left is from that open studio session in the costume and the one on the right is a separate occasion where she modeled nude. Her pose in shoes with the phone is quite fetching, don't you think?

I'm glad I can share these with you. I'll have other pieces to show you as the weeks tick by and I get them online.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Costumed Model Drawings

This lovely model was such fun to study in her antique costume and hairstyle.

Even the simple warm-up sketch ("Shift", at left) has interesting line and pose.

These were some more of the studies I did this winter on my trip at open studio sessions. Looking at them now, weeks after I drew them, I see this young lady moving from pose to pose in an intriguing dance. The connection of drawing or painting from life builds a strong artistic bond with the subject, whether it is a still life, a landscape, portrait or figurative study.

Friday, May 23, 2014

More Life Drawings

In the Open Studio sessions I attended this winter, there were different body types and ages in the models.

Some were more challenging for me to find ... what do I call it?... inspiration, beauty, grace... that certain something that makes a pose or figure interesting and aesthetically pleasurable. These ideas are, to many modern minds, rather old-fashioned. So be it. Beauty is what motivates me to make art. Without it, painting or drawing is merely an exercise.

That is not to say, I always get it. I might try on any given occasion and fail completely.

Last week I painted over a number of ugly paintings. There are probably many many more of my works that should go in the burn pile. With a little time and distance emotionally from any of my paintings or drawings, I expect more and more will wind up there. Maybe these. For now, I'll show them to you.