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.

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Shiny Red Kiss" Mini Valentine Daily Painting

Original oil painting
unframed, with free tiny display easel
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


This small candy wrapped in red foil seems like the perfect icon for Valentine's.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Gold Foil Heart" Tiny Daily Painting for Valentine's

Original oil
2"x3" in mini frame
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

It's so fun this time of year to see these simple little candy hearts wrapped in gold foil: symbols of love and affection.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

"Two Kisses" Miniature Valentine Daily Painting

Original oil painting

in mini frame
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


A couple of these little chocolates seem fitting for the upcoming festivities of February 14.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Free Shipping for Valentine's

Order by February 7 at midnight and I'll pay your shipping for any miniature purchase.

You'll find sweet selections like these little jewels at my DailyPainters Gallery page.
You can easily purchase there with Paypal and I'll refund your shipping costs in the USA. Just make a note that you want the free shipping offer.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

High Contrast Figure Drawings

These dark drawings are difficult to photograph and show off to advantage. I may try some different light and see if I can get better representative images. For now, you can get an idea of what they are like, but they really do look a lot better when you see the actual drawings which I did at our local Artists' Salon Open Studio.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Charcoal Figure Studies: Gestures and Longer Poses

In our Open Studio sketch group with the model, we usually start with a bunch of 2 or 3 minute warm-up poses, then go to a few 5 or 10 minutes poses. The last studies are usually 20 minutes which is a long time to ask a model to stay in one position without a break.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Catching up with Drawings

I'm still catching up with my figure drawings, spraying, photographing and documenting.

Here are a few more, from two separate Open Studio drawing sessions and different models.

You can purchase my figure studies on my DailyPainters Gallery page, or by contacting me.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January Challenge: Something That Begins With "Pi"

This month's subject was chosen by Sharman Owings. She specified that we paint anything that begins with “pi” – pilot, pig etc. Yep... another brain teaser!

I made a whole list of ideas. A few jumped off the page as particularly promising for possibilites: pizza, pigeon, pineapple, pilgrim, pipe, pistol. My teenage son especially encouraged the pistol idea.

Seeing fresh pineapples in the grocery store cinched the idea for me, though. I'd previously wanted to use one in a still life and had just never quite gotten around to it. This seemed like the perfect time to buy one.

I decided a contrast was in order for the tropical fruit that had made the trip to our frozen region. It seemed pretty amazing, really, that the fruit could be cultivated, grown, harvested, packed and shipped across the ocean for retail sale in a north Idaho grocery department for four bucks.

"Pineapple on the Snow"
Original unframed oil on hardboard 8"x10"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

(left) "Apples for Pie"
Pastel on Pastelboard 11"x14"
©2011 Vicki Ross

(below left)

"Piggy" Oil on linen 10"x10" ©2011Suzanne Berry

(below center)
"Pink Piglet" Oil on canvas 6"x6" ©2011 Ruth Andre

(below right)
"Old Pickup Truck" Oil on canvas panel 6"x8" ©2011 Robin Cheers

"Pilsner" Oil on masonite 6"x 6" ©2011 Sharman Owings

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Challenge Group Members

Since I started my little online painting Challenge and announced it two years ago, the group has changed a bit.

It's been fun working with all the wonderful artists who accepted my invitation to join the group. Different ones had to drop out through the months due to family illness or other commitments. Other artists were asked to take their places. Of the original members, three of us remain: Robin Cheers, Vicki Ross and yours truly.

I recently asked Ruth Andre if she'd be interested in commiting to the Challenge and she said "yes". We're all very pleased she's jumping right in this month. You'll be able to see what she's painted on the 15th, along with the rest of us. It's a fun one!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Little Abstract Daily Paintings

It's nice to have the photographing and inventorying of drawings from last year caught up. Now I'm back to daily painting. But first I had to prepare panels, as my supply of various sizes was dwindling.

The prep work takes more time than you might think. Many of the sizes I use are not easily available for purchase, especially the miniature panels. So I buy larger sizes and cut them down on the saws in the garage. It's really cold out there this time of year!

After the panels are sanded, I add more primer front and back. Sanding between coats keeps the surfaces smooth, although I don't mind a little bit of texture. But very much texture, is hard to work with for miniatures.

I have several paintings in the works that you won't see for awhile, but here are a few fun miniature abstracts. They're my little "sandbox" pieces because they are just for amusement and don't have to be anything reconizable or make a serious statement.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Challenge of the Figure

Attending Open Studio is helpful and inspiring. It's good exercise: drawing from life. The figure is more complicated than most still life subjects, however. And models simply can't hold a pose as long as a piece of fruit.

I enjoy the challenge of drawing the figure and striving to get the proportions right, the weight
of the pose natural, the body forms and curves convincing, even with foreshortening or odd angles.
Drawing the landscape is complicated too, and there is a lot to think about for composition to work well with all elements. But a tree still looks like a tree even if it isn't drawn accurately. And sometimes forms in a landscape actually need to be changed to work better with the particular set of elements in the scene. That tree taller there. That one left out.

But I must study the figure for what it is. Oh sure, I can trim a waistline or widen a foot for better balance or form, but
the challenge of portraying the human form realistically is to capture the sitter's pose in a short time and make marks on paper that look convincing.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Drawing from Life

I love the immediacy of sketching from life, especially with charcoal. The velvety black produced by a big stick of soft willow charcoal is very satisfying. It's such a simple medium, as old as drawing itself.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Saving Figure Drawings

There are drawings I keep and drawings I don't keep. Not all are worth the time to spray, photograph, inventory and the archival space to store them.

But the ones that capture a pleasing movement, or something of the sitter's personality and beauty are judged keepers.

One model might provide more interesting poses or form than another. I might wind up with only a few pleasing sketches in a session with an uninspiring sitter. Some drawings have a simple charm in only a few lines and shadows, while others that I've spent more time on might be boring or just "off" enough to merit the fire.
Here are a few more of the ones I've saved from recent sessions at Open Studio.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Progression of a Quick Sketch

I guess the end of the year is pretty jam-packed for most folks. It's usually that way for me, anyway.

So, I'm finally getting caught up with a few tasks I set aside, including getting recent life drawings sprayed, photographed, inventoried and stored. Simply making the drawings at the model sessions is only part of the art-making process.

Those three minute warm-up sketches, and longer pose studies of twenty minutes or so sound easy enough to make... right?

But first I have to get to the model sessions. That's over an hour's drive each way (and a lot longer if it's snowing or foggy). Participation in the artists' salon where our model poses for us is a weekly commitment that consumes half my day, driving and drawing.

And that's after I have gotten my ducks in a row. I must have supplies at the ready, paper ordered and in my big satchel with drawing board, charcoal and chalk. (Reminder to self: it's time to find some more of that nice soft white chalk and order a bunch. I'm down to the crumbs. Now where DID I get that stuff?)

After I'm back home with drawings, there is still work to do. I clean up smudges and lines on the sketches I want to save. Some I don't bother to keep. Occasionally, I'll work on a few of the sketches to bring out form or contrast. A sunny day works best for taking photos of each sketch and then spraying them with fixative outdoors. I use a spray recommended by the National Gallery (never hair spray as some people do). As with my other art materials and methods, I try to make good choices that will help my work last for the special people who are my collectors.

After the photo documentation and the spray, I label each sketch with a title and copyright information, and give it a unique inventory number. Photos are uploaded from the camera, tweaked in Photoshop to adjust color and contrast, and then images are filed digitally. The best ones get uploaded to my DailyPainters gallery and here to my blog. Each sketch is then documented in my inventory file, and physically stored in acid-free flat files until someone buys it or I frame it for exhibition.

So, three minutes is actually more like three days. I never was very good with the passage of time.