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, March 29, 2012

"Snowy Groove" Small Landscape, Winter Painting

Original oil, 4"x6"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

We are still having snow in our part of the world, but it comes and goes. Spring is peeking up through the ground in scanty displays, most of them unpretentious and humble. One has to look for the signs closely, but they're there.

Under melting snow are the millions of maple seeds that have fallen from last fall's seed crop. Most of them are trying to take root anywhere and everywhere. Although I fight them in my gardens every year, I marvel at their capacity and productiveness.

This little oil painting is one of those passing scenes I couldn't help but notice: the snowy blanket covering the landscape and that silent channel cutting through the fields that will be a chattering stream very soon.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Two Minis and Why I Like Oil Paints

I've been asked why I choose oil paints as a medium for most of my paintings. Although there are times when I use pastel or charcoal, most of my art, currently, is done in oil. I've used acrylics and found the fast drying time to be an advantage for some techniques and a disadvantage for others. Although I appreciate the spontaneity of watercolors and the happy accidents, the unpredictable nature of the medium does not suit me.

Oils have many advantages. The slower drying time allows for blending, which is useful whether I'm portraying skies or skin. Acrylics have their advantages but blending wet-in-wet is not one of them. The slower drying of oils makes them very forgiving. If I decide I don't like a passage I painted, I can wipe it off, even hours later.

I'm currently working on a commission piece in which the background is mostly green grass, which can be difficult. The subject is fairly close, so grass texture is important. I'm wanting to show some of that detail without laboring over each blade of grass.

I've built up several layers and let them dry and today added a lighter texture against darker greens. My first efforts with this layer were just too light, and too stark, so even though I'd been working awhile on it, I was thankful I could simply wipe it down to the previous layer and start over.
I'll show it to you later. For now, here are a couple of little warm-up miniatures I hope you will enjoy. The light and contrast of each scene was the inspiration for these little 'uns. I can paint large commissions, too. Let me know if you'd like these, or something bigger.

(first painting)
"Gold Smolder"
Oil, 2"x3"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin


(second painting)
"Vapor Tower" Oil
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

Thursday, March 15, 2012

March Painting Challenge: The Zorn Palette

(painting updated since original post)
Oil sketch on canvas

©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

This month's puzzler, named by Vicki, was to paint with the limited palette attributed to Anders Zorn. Vicki suggested those colours are: cadmium red light, yellow ochre, ivory black, and titanium white. 

Looking online to validate this produced a few alterations to those specific colors.

It appears that the exact colours which Zorn used are not actually known. Most references I found referred to his limited palette as vermillion, yellow ochre, ivory black and titanium white.

However, considering Zorn died before a suitable titanium white was manufactured for use in oil paints, it is my guess that Zorn used lead white, which is somewhat warmer than titanium, or perhaps zinc white.

And since vermillion is not widely available these days, most references for Zorn's palette substitute a cad red medium. Once source used alizarin.
I used titanium white, ivory black, yellow ochre and cadmium red scarlet (since I had no cad red light on hand). If I do this again, I may try the alizarin to take advantage of its somewhat cooler and darker properties, or the cad red medium.

I really missed having a blue pigment. I decided on a figurative subject because most of my landscapes need blue. From looking at Zorn's work, I concluded the limited palette would work well for portraits and nudes, as much of his work was.

Those in the group who did landscapes were especially brave, I think! Becky's and Mary's pieces worked amazingly well. Mary reports that she used Paynes Grey as her black, so since that colour is a mix of lamp black and utramarine pigments, that explains how she got the bluer background greys.

This was such an interesting challenge. I'd like to do more of these limited palette pieces. All of these paintings are so delightful and I truly love each one!

(above left) "Isabelle" Oil on Linen Panel 14"x11" ©2012 Vicki Ross
(above right) "Laura and Vincent" Oil on panel, 8"x10" ©2012 Mark Adams
(below left) "Water" Oil 6"x6" ©2012 Becky Joy
(below right) "Travelers" Oil 9"x7" ©2012 Mary Maxam

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Still Life Art Available as Giclées

These three images of my work are now available, reproduced by the exacting and beautiful giclée process on art paper or canvas, in several sizes.

The steaming hot drinks paintings are part of my coffee and tea series I started doing a few years ago.

I'm still fascinated by steam, smoke and clouds of all kinds and continue to explore these ideas as painting subjects.

I also love detail, as you may have noticed if you've followed my work. The Dutch realists are some of my favorite artists and I admire the rich detail they've painted in their evocative paintings.

Although not all my paintings are this detailed. Some pieces demand it, though, which is why I've put in all the hours it takes to paint work like this.

Please visit my giclée still life reproductions gallery to order these and additional artworks.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Selection of Figurative Works Available as Giclées

Because I've had requests for reproductions of some of my lovely lady paintings, I've added a new figurative/portrait section to my giclée reproductions gallery.

These pieces (and others) are now available on canvas or art paper, in several sizes, unframed or framed.

I'm offering a special selection of five popular images to purchase.

Ordering from the website gallery is user-friendly, service is prompt, and the reproduction quality is lovely.

I've mentioned a few advantages of the giclée process in my last post.

I hope you'll give it a go next time you're looking for a gift or something new and inspiring for your walls.

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Landscape Giclée Reproductions of my Art

I've added several new images to my reproductions gallery.

These three landscapes (and others) are available as giclée reproductions on canvas or art paper, in several sizes, unframed or framed.

There is quite a nice selection of framing options and prices are reasonable. Orders are packed carefully for shipping, too.

The giclée process uses pigmented inks and produces colors very much like my original paintings.

Of course, no reproduction can be quite as beautiful as the original art with the subtle light plays on the brushstrokes, or capture the varying depth, sheen and transparency of the oil paint.

But since the original oil paintings have each been sold to individual collectors, I'm glad a larger audience can enjoy these works as reproductions. It is also an advantage that the giclées can be offered for a fraction of the cost of an original painting.

This makes them affordable for almost anyone who loves art.

They are also ideal for high-traffic areas in settings where irreplaceable original art could be damaged or stolen. I've sold giclées for homes and offices. I think my favorite setting for my art in this application, though, has been a large hospital who placed a group of my landscape reproductions in various locations for patients, staff, and visitors to enjoy.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Snowy Miniature Paintings

As I'm working on larger pieces, it is satisfying to be able to do the little daily paintings as warm-ups. It helps to maintain creative energy to be able to finish something, even a miniature piece, before diving in for painting sessions on the big ones.

These are some winter scenes I've done lately that have turned out well. It's very snowy in our part of the world right now. I thought I'd try to capture some of the passing glory while it lasts.

(left) "Gold Mirror"
Framed miniature oil painting 2.25"x3"
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin


"Snowy Scene"
Unframed mini oil 2"x2.75" with display easel
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin

"High Snow"
Unframed mini oil 2"x3" with display easel
©2012 Diana Moses Botkin