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, September 29, 2011

"Gold Water Plants and Reflections" Landscape

Original oil, 6"x8.5"
in classic custom frame
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


Plein air events are a challenge in many ways. Simply finding a good spot off the road to paint awhile is the first challenge.

What to look for in the available landscape that will make an interesting painting? I liked the contrasts in this scene, especially the glowing water plants in the morning sunlight with the complementary colors reflected in the water.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

"Silver Ribbons" Plein Air Oil Landscape

Original framed oil painting, 5"x7"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


Overlooking the Clark Fork River, I painted as fast as I could before the light totally changed. I've revised this a couple of times, upping the contrast some to make a better painting with more depth.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

"Morning Sky and the Peaks" Plein Air Oil Landscape

Original framed oil painting, 6"x8"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

This quick study, painted on location for the Scotchman Peaks paint out was near Johnson Creek. The morning was mostly overcast but occasionally some blue sky broke through as I was blocking in the shapes.

The piece is hanging in the plein air exhibit which opened this past Sunday. If you're interested in this painting, please call Kally at Outskirts Gallery.

Monday, September 26, 2011

"Morning Trees by the Lake" Plein Air Landscape

Original oil painting, 7"x5"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


The annual paint out this past weekend for Scotchman Peaks was challenging and fun. Because most artists typically work alone, the camaraderie of being with the other painters is a big part of what makes group plein air events exciting.

Of course the beauty of the landscape inspires, but, along with the chance of creating paintings on location, being in the company of other artists brings opportunity for learning, sharing, and commiserating.

My oil study shown above was awarded third place at the show yesterday. The painting sold to a lady and her husband who coincidentally had bought one of my paintings at another show a few years ago. It was encouraging to connect with them and hear that they've enjoyed my work in their home.

At the plein air show, the couple ask for my painting (which had been hung quite high) to be taken off the wall so they could see it better. A few moments later I saw the husband clutching their new found treasure to his chest after they had decided to add it to their collection. It is moments like these which make all the hard work of painting so rewarding for me.

I left the event yesterday with mixed feelings: gratification/regret, happiness/insecurity, competence/ineptness, exuberance/fatigue, etc.

There was gratification with having connected with a number of people, but regret that I didn't get to share time with more. There was happiness about some good work having been accomplished during the weekend, but insecurity about whether I could've worked harder or smarter. I felt competence painting in the field and enjoyed the kudos of the award and words of encouragement from others, but also felt ineptness wanting my work to be better. The exuberance of creating new work and being with friends was real, as was the physical fatigue because painting out and being away from one's accustomed mattress and quiet life can be exhausting.

I like this quote I recently posted to my facebook artist's page by Charles Horton Cooley, a sociologist. "An artist cannot fail; it is a success to be one."

That was pretty much the content of a short speech which the judge for the Scotchman Peaks show, Ben Mitchell, gave yesterday when announcing awards for the plein air paintings. It is an act of bravery to share our artistic efforts with others, whether the piece is poetry, literature, dance, music, or painting.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Headed to Another Plein Air Event

Tomorrow begins the 4th Annual Scotchman Peaks Paint Out. I've participated in this event every year since its beginning and enjoyed the challenges of trying to make paintings that capture the area's beauty and interest. For a review of paintings for Scotchman Peaks, here's a link.)

This past week, I've been preparing canvases and frames, getting my paint box in order, and gathering items I'll be needing for the next three days. I cleaned the van, inside and out, because I'll be spending a lot of time in it this weekend. And I think I'm caught up on laundry.

In the morning I'll load up all the stuff, with my husband's help, and drive to the Sandpoint area.
I'm hoping to get some painting done from Lake Pend Oreille before the opening for the "All Creatures Great and Small" show in Sandpoint. Because I have several pieces in the group exhibit, I'd especially like to drop in and see everyone's work.

Tomorrow evening, there is a gathering in Hope at Outskirts Gallery for the Scotchman Peaks participants. Lord willing, I'll be able to get there before it ends. It's not too far from Sandpoint.

Actually doing paintings this weekend will be the easy part, even considering the substantial challenges of plein air work. If you ever hear someone remark about how an artist "did that painting in only a couple of hours and look at how much it costs", remind them please, that getting paint on canvas after all the preparation is only a small chapter in the story of how the art came to be.

And so, we'll see how my art comes out in a few days!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Fires on Hood" Columbia Gorge Plein Air Painting

(left) Original unframed oil, 4.25"x6.25"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

Here is another fire study of Mt. Hood with interesting smoke shapes, a companion piece to the study I posted yesterday.

The mountain seemed practically engulfed in smoke.

I painted away, concerned but fascinated, and knowing there was nothing I could do about the fires except pray. I thought of friends who are smoke jumpers and wondered if they might be involved in efforts to contain the damage.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

"Still Standing" Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood Fires

(left) Original framed miniature oil, 2.25"x3.25"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

On the last day of the Pacific Northwest Plein Air I got up and painted a couple more studies of Mt. Hood from where I was staying, north of the Columbia River.

Fires had increased on the mountain, which was alarming, but made for interesting effects. The day before, smoke was noticeable but didn't look so encompassing. Although the forests took a hit, the mountain still stands as strong as ever.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September Painting Challenge: Party Dress

(left) "New Dress"
Oil on hardboard
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin
Ruth Andre picked our Challenge this month which was a hit with all the group. I had the idea to dress up the grandgirl in a party dress, but didn't get the chance.

Instead, I chose to work from an existing photo taken by my daughter. I loved the pose and mood, but the angle of the face was quite a challenge. Nostrils, upraised little chin and those ears down low were all out to get me! Even so, I'd like to try some variations of this one again some time. Please contact me if you are interested in this painting, or something like it of your own darlin'.

Every month each member of the Challenge Group emails their painting to the other members and then we post them all on our blogs. It is so much fun to see how each artist approaches the chosen subject. I especially love this month's spectacular array of paintings for "Party Dress". Please visit the links to each artist's blog to read the story of how all the dresses came to be painted.

above) "Stephanie" Oil on canvas, 12"x6" ©2011 Ruth Andre
(center, above) "That Party Dress" Oil on canvas, 24x18" ©2011 Suzanne Berry
(right, above) "Faire Dress" Oil on panel, 16"x12" ©2011 Robin Cheers

"Party Dress on the Beach"
©2011 Vicki Ross

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Pacific Northwest Plein Air 2011: The Exhibit

Back in Hood River for the opening of the plein air show, I arrived early for Jim Lamb's painting demo that afternoon. It's always fun to see how other artists approach their work, mix their colors and lay them on the canvas. The show was absolutely lovely at the Columbia Center for the Arts. So many wonderful paintings had been created for this exhibit, it was difficult to choose a favorite for the Artists' Choice award.

Talking with one of the artists, Joe Howard, I discovered we both had been commercial art freelancers in Oklahoma City decades ago and knew many of the same people. Small world.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

"Calapooia View" Oregon Willamette Valley Study

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


The Pacific Northwest Plein Air event drew to a close on
Monday, August 29. Artists were invited to paint downtown Hood River or at the Marina on the last day.

Our plein air pieces for exhibit were due that afternoon at the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River. I'd been painting Mt. Hood again that morning (I'll post them soon), so needed time to get work framed for the gallery.

Because the gallery opening for the plein air show was not for several days, I left Hood River and drove to see friends' near Corvallis and rest up. I also managed to do this small plein air study one evening. The title is a reference to the river that runs through the valley.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Plein Air Studies from Gorge Crest Vineyard

Our Sunday paint out location was on the Washington side of the Columbia River at Gorge Crest Vineyard.

This beautiful spot boasted amazing views of Mt. Hood and the valley. The winery was closed to the public that day, and invited artists enjoyed time to paint, tread barefoot on the expansive green lawns, have a picnic, or nap in hammocks under the trees.
I painted this morning scene, above, near my van with the back hatch raised above me to shade me a little while I worked in the hot sun. The smoke from fires on Mt. Hood was getting more noticeable and I debated whether to put that in the painting. The scene seemed so peaceful without it, but I finally decided to record the conditions. 

(left) "Smoke Signals"
Original framed oil, 4"x12"
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin


Later in the day I managed this long format study of Mt. Hood and the gorge from a different spot at the winery. All the other painters had left and I had the place to myself, except for the kind owners nearby and a few coyotes I could hear singing not far away. I enjoyed painting on the vineyard's porch in the lovely evening light and the previously mentioned kind gifts from a loving Creator.