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

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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.