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, July 27, 2011

"Sweet Cherry" Miniature Daily Painting

Original oil painting, 3.25"x2.25"
in mini frame
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


So luscious. How can you resist?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Pie Cherry" Miniature Daily Painting

Original oil painting, approx. 2"x3"
unframed, with free mini easel
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin
I wait all year to enjoy fresh fruit right off the trees. It's a lot of trouble to pick and pit enough cherries to make a pie and I haven't gotten around to it yet this year.

I'm still trying to get caught up with so many chores that were put aside while I worked on my recent big project. But I've still managed to eat a bunch of these luscious fruits and yes, even find time to do some tiny little oil studies, which are almost as much fun as eating the cherries.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Paint Out and "Evening Light on the Grand Fir"

Last week was the paint out which my husband and I host once a year for our local art group. We meet for monthly critiques and treats at artist Jean Mace's home. She and husband Lew have hosted the monthly gatherings for a couple of decades.

For our paint out, everyone gathered here to paint and share a pot luck meal.
The weather was good for painting outdoors, with partly sunny skies. We'd had rain the day before, so I was a bit concerned that we might get wet.

But it turned out to be a great day with some clouds for variety in the sky.

We all enjoyed the good food each person brought for our lunch, and the camaraderie of painting together.

It's always interesting to see where everyone decides to paint. Even when I've painted side by side with other artists, we usually are not looking at exactly the same spot. Like my Challenge Group, everyone has their own ideas about what they want to do or learn.

I chose to paint this favorite tree. It's quite tall and even though it has had some breakage from wind, it's very graceful.

I see it often and especially enjoy it in the evening light when the bark lights up with warm colors.

(left) "Evening Light on the Grand Fir"
Original oil painting, unframed
plein air sketch 10"x8"

©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Evolution of "Festival Sunset Dance", Part 3

These are the final two studies I painted as I planned my art for The Festival at Sandpoint. The sixth study in the series, at left, started to look more like what I wanted for the festive atmosphere of the concerts. But it was looking awfully busy with all the crowd in there too.

"Sunset Swing"
Original oil on canvas, 10"x8" 

©2011 Diana Moses Botkin 

And one of the most fun aspects of the dancer references I had shot was the backlighting on the long hair of some of the girls. Plus, I wanted more focus on the dancers and less on the crowd. So, I made the dancers more in the foreground in this seventh study, at left, and used the moving hair catching the light. This was almost it!

"Twilight Delight" Original oil
8"x6" unframed

©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


Here again is the final art for The Festival!

"Festival Sunset Dance" Original oil
20"x16" in black and gold frame

©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


I added that fifth figure as a main focus for added foreground interest and to make an odd number of figures. The foursome was okay but a little bland. Someone at the unveiling commented about there being so many women dancers. Yes, those women make it interesting and fun, don't you think?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Evolution of "Festival Sunset Dance", Part 2

Here are the next two studies I did during the development of my finished art for The Festival at Sandpoint.
I liked the feeling of that third piece, but I started to realize that the art needed more of the actual look of The Festival setting. After all, the lake setting and the clouds are a fun background for the dancers and they all combine for a happy painting, but the scene doesn't really say much about The Festival for viewers.

So, I added the performance tent and audience in the background. Although I really like the exuberance of those leaping dancers, I decided they looked a little too much like they are flying... high. Maybe that sends the wrong message about The Festival, a respectable family type community activity.
(above) "Jump for Joy"
Original oil on canvas, 12"x9" unframed ©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

"Festival Dance"
Original oil on hardboard
10"x8" unframed

©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


Lowering the dancers made them more grounded, and I liked the idea of the sunset sky. This one's really close to the feeling I wanted for the poster art.

Tomorrow I'll show you the final development of my idea. Please contact me if you are interested in owning any of these studies, or go to my DailyPainters gallery page and choose "Buy Now" for the painting you'd like to purchase.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Evolution of "Festival Sunset Dance", Part 1

I told you I'd share about my process for my finished art for The Festival at Sandpoint.
These are the first two studies I did, using my references from the photo shoot with my young friends who danced and jumped in the evening light.
(left) "Sundown Dance"
Original oil on hardboard
10"x8" unframed

©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

(left) "Afternoon Dance"
Original oil on hardboard
8"x6" unframed

©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


I had envisioned dancers at sunset near Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, which is the setting for The Festival.

The first study was pretty much what was in my mind but it seemed like too many dancers once I painted it. So, I tried another study with a smaller group of dancers and a simpler afternoon sky, with more focus on the dancers.
For the third study in the series, at left, I wanted to see how it would look with the jumping dancers.
"Jumpin' Jive"
Original oil on canvas
10"x8" unframed

©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

That title, by the way, is a reference to an amazing music and dance number in the 1943 movie, Stormy Weather. You can see the greatest pair of acrobatic tap dancers of their day (or perhaps any day), the Nicholas Brothers. Enjoy their athletic choreography, leaping and dancing over and through Cab Calloway's orchestra, at this link.

None felt quite right for The Festival art, although they were fun paintings. Stay tuned to see where I went next with my idea.

By the way, these studies are for sale. Please contact me if you are interested in owning any of them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Evolution of "Festival Sunset Dance"

Original oil on hardboard
20"x16" in black and gold frame

©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

Yesterday on this blog, I said I'd share about my process for how I developed this painting for The Festival at Sandpoint.

Because there was not a predetermined theme, the creation and execution of the idea was entirely up to me. The selection of each year's Festival artist is not a competition with submitted entries. Each year's Festival artist is chosen by a committee of past Festival artists.

You can imagine how pleased and honored I was to be picked by my fellow artists. It always means a lot to me for other artists to choose my work for awards, recognition and to add to their own collections.

So, how did this painting evolve? The only guidelines I had were to paint something 20"x16" or larger (a LOT bigger than my daily paintings!), and a deadline of only a few weeks away (not much time for a large piece!). The race was on.

I actually had several ideas for a theme and settled on the one I liked best. My main goals for the art were to portray the mood, setting, and activity of The Festival.

I set to work doing studies to develop my idea, one of dancers under a glowing sky. Sometimes, in planning a painting, I have an idea in my head and it works out easily to construct the composition and details. And other times, it takes blood, sweat and tears. What's that old saying by Thomas Edison? "Genius is one per cent inspiration, ninety-nine per cent perspiration."

Before I put brush to canvas, I needed references for my dancers and the other elements, including the setting. Fortunately, some of my younger friends jumped and danced for me in the sunset lighting I envisioned, so I'd have accurate figure references. The energy of the dancers made this part of the process a lot of fun.

I wound up doing 7 studies to get a plan that I felt was good. All this time, the clock was ticking for the deadline. Stay tuned to see the studies in the coming days here at my blog!

By the way, if you would like to get in on the bidding for the original painting, simply call The Festival office at (888) 265-4554 or show up at the concerts August 4-14 and place a bid. Signed posters of my art will also be available.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Unveiling of My Art for The Festival in Sandpoint

Well, I can finally show my painting to you!

All that work I was doing for weeks and weeks here in my little studio on this big project and I had to keep it under wraps.

I did seven studies before painting this large piece. I'll be sharing the studies in the coming days here on my blog so you can see the process of how the idea evolved.

The unveiling was this past Thursday, on the 14th. It was a festive event in a nearby resort area, Dover Bay. Everyone oohed and ahhed when we took the covering away to show the painting for the first time. I was supposed to say something about my art there in front of everyone at the event. I know I said a few words about the painting, but all I remember now was, "I'm glad you like it".

Then I signed a bunch of posters for people.

It was fun to talk with the line of folks who bought posters, even with the loud band playing (they were quite good, by the way).

Folks were so excited about the art. I felt like
Queen for a Day. Or at least, Queen for a Couple of Hours.

"Festival Sunset Dance"
Original oil on hardboard, 20"x16"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

The framed painting is being auctioned off with silent bids to benefit The Festival of Sandpoint. Last I heard, the bid was at $2,500.

If you would like to get in on the bidding, you can call the Festival office at (888) 265-4554 or show up at The Festival August 4-14 to place a bid while you enjoy the fabulous concerts. Here's the line-up of music artists scheduled to appear.

You can also order a signed poster at the phone number above. Or you can purchase one at The Festival for an amazing ten bucks, and I'll be on hand to personalize it for you.

Friday, July 15, 2011

July Painting Challenge: Eyes

I picked the Challenge this month. It's always fun (and a bit challenging) to name the subject or object the group will paint when it's my turn to choose.

We each take turns naming what we'll paint, month by month. It's supposed to be primarily for fun and give us each an opportunity to learn something and create work apart from the usual concerns of pleasing clients or entering shows.
Several things came to mind but I settled on "eyes" or "an eye" as the puzzler this time for several reasons. One reason was that I thought it would be fun/interesting and another was because a couple of the members mentioned last month when we did self-portraits for the Challenge... something about avoiding painting eyes.I had also been thinking about doing a different self-portrait than my burned-out one last month. This one is still intense (my mood lately) but not so absolutely ugly."Eye of the Storm"
Original oil on hardboard
5"x3.5" framed miniature
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

I really love the approach taken by each member of my Challenge group. I hope you enjoy them all!(left)
each, 8"x10"
Oil on canvas
©2011 Vicki Ross
(below left)
"Helen's Eyes"
Oil on canvas
©2011 Suzanne Berry

(this row, right)"Just Thinking About You"
4"x4" oil on canvas board
©2011 Ruth Andre
(bottom row, left)
“Lashing Out”
5x5” Oil on board
©2011 Sharman Owens

(bottom row, right)
"My Daughter's Eyes"
5"x7" oil on panel
©2011 Robin Cheers

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Orange Cat, Blue Shadows" Animal Daily Painting

Original oil painting, 4"x6"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


Our cats never fail to make me smile, whatever they're doing... or not doing.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

"Sky Curtains" Dramatic Landscape/Skyscape

Original oil painting
8"x10" unframed
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


Dramatic weather is a challenge to capture, especially with fleeting effects of rain.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Festival Poster Art

The art for the Festival is now at the printer's. The layout for the poster has been hashed out and I met with the printing rep from Couer d'Alene today to check the color proof against my painting. A few adjustments will be made and then the press proof will need to be okayed in a few days. It's important to get it right.

And all this is very hush, hush! Only a very few people have seen my painting. It will be beautifully framed by Ward Tollbom at Hen's Tooth Studio in Sandpoint. Ward (who designed The Festival poster art in 1988) helped me pick a beautiful frame to show off the art.

The public unveiling is scheduled for next week, July 14, at Dover Bay from 5 - 7 pm. And I'll be on hand for the excitement and to sign posters. The public is invited!