Monday, July 29, 2013
20x20" oil on linen
Meet Zhen-Zhen! She's a Chinese Crested and a donation portrait. This is my first dance with this breed and did I have a field day with her flowing locks! And the bi-colored eyes! Shades of David Bowie! I thought I'd have trouble with her but a pooch is a pooch and I dearly love all pooches so once I got going I had a great time. I hope her pet parents are pleased.
Okay, I'll admit that I can't think of a clever way to segue into a Tim tale so I'll just dive right in if you don't mind.
A few months ago I received an email from a friend of Tim's who is a member of the band "Blow Up Hollywood." They're on Wikipedia! Anyway, Steve, Tim's friend was so very caring when Tim first left and called to check up on me periodically to see how I was doing which I really appreciated.
The email offered band merchandise and an opportunity to support them in their efforts. He was really kind and explained that if I wasn't interested he would certainly understand. I made a mental note (not a good idea for me) to indeed log on and make a donation but, unfortunately, all but forgot about it until...
About 2 weeks later I was sitting in the back yard and suddenly the email popped into my head and I felt compelled to go to the computer and do as I'd promised. I found the email, clicked on the link and took the appropriate steps.
Later that day I received an email from Steve thanking me for my donation and asking how I was doing. He then went on to say that something strange had occurred and he had no idea what to make of it.
He went on to explain that the night before he had been dreaming about something completely unrelated when suddenly Tim appeared out of nowhere in his dream! He said it was vivid and Tim looked great and was happy and they had a nice chat but avoided any reference to his passing. When he woke up and remembered seeing Tim he was surprised as he hadn't thought about his friend in a while but didn't think anything of it until...
he logged on and saw a donation had been made in Tim Berry's name! A coincidence? I think not! You can imagine how good this "sighting" and coinciding donation made me feel. You are too cool Berry!
Thanks so much for dropping by, I so appreciate your comments, thoughts and support. Happy creating!
Monday, July 15, 2013
48x36" oil on heavyweight canvas
Well this month's challenge subject should be fairly obvious at this point. I love painting eggs. In the shell, out of the shell, cooked, raw...there's just so much going on at any given time with eggs, vibrant colors, the googlies, almost as if half of the sun was (should that be were or was?) encased in clear liquid.
There's this great gourmet market a bit up the road that I just haunt. Amazing collection of treats, both savory and sweet. They carry eggs with double yolks and when I discovered Vicki's choice for this month, those yummy double yolks popped right into my mind. I set up a photo shoot and snapped over 50 shots so there will definitely be some protein-laden canvases in my future. And, for some reason, I feel as though I need to paint everything on large supports here lately!
I decided not to rush into the painting and did some thinking and even with that I had to begin over again having started working on a lighter cotton canvas with far too much play in the surface. A very unique thing happened during this process. It dawned on me that far larger brushes might be a big help and they were! Who knew? I went to Home Depot and purchased the regular brushes one would use to paint the wall and they worked perfectly.
I would normally start by looking at my reference and try to capture the deep reddish orange and nearly white highlights in one session but since the previous few paintings have fared well with layering I thought it best not to futz with the streak.
I painted the predominate color with lots of Liquin so the next day I could paint the next layer and so on for three days. I actually finished on time!
Brenda Ferguson (I love her work) suggested that I include a snap showing the scale of the canvas in real life. Thanks Bren, great idea!
There's a feeling of fullness, of working on 3 different challenges, commissions, mentoring and donation work all at the same time. My head hits the pillow and I'm feeling satisfied because there are paintings waiting for me when I get up the next day. Tim you were so right. Working really, really helps. Repeating myself, I know. And speaking of himself, what would a post be without including Tim?
Sitting out reading a book last week before it got oppressively hot, I saw a rather large crow perched on a branch nearby. He was incredibly loud, cawing and cawing, when suddenly he began making this soothing clucking sound. He stayed there for the duration of my reading session making that soothing sound. Once or twice I looked up, laughed out loud and asked him if he was Tim. He was there when I went back inside, having stayed on that branch cooing sweetly for an hour and a half! The next morning when I took the boys out into the back for their morning toilette, I found a big black feather right in front of the door. Now me being me, it was validation that Tim did indeed join me while I read. A more rational person would pronounce the crow annoying and ignore the feather, however, clearly, I'm not rational and for that I am so grateful.
That said, please enjoy the Egg Specials of the day:
Original drawing on paper
Approx. 7.5 x 9"
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin
12 x 16" pastel
Monday, July 8, 2013
14x14" oil on heavyweight canvas
Well I did it and since I approached it as an adult it worked out okay! Besides, it's just a face. That it happens to be mine makes it difficult to see it that way however, no matter how grown up I try to be.
But the face comes with a story. I painted myself as joyful because joy is my daily goal and how I've decided to tell my story. I saw all sorts of images in my head given the portrait assignment for the group Artists Growing Together was to convey how we perceive ourselves and what our life experience has been. And, I would like to say that choosing a smiling pose was due completely to my new outlook on life, but sadly, no. The shots taken with sadness and loss etched on my features really showed my age. (Hmmm...vain much Suz?) That said I'd like to offer a tip to aging hippies and baby boomers out there. Smile. A lot!
It doesn't read in the photo of the painting, but there's a bright light over my right shoulder, and I'm sure I don't have to tell you who it represents. Himself is present and accounted for! Tim is with me, always. I know this because I can't fake feeling good.
I originally saw myself standing in front of a window, the light falling on my features showing a reflective, distant gaze painted in strong dark hues and bold strokes. But that's not what I feel, how I look or how I paint. I thought it would be cooler than just a smiling face but I don't want my story to be tragic, sad or difficult. I read that we don't live the life we deserve, we live the life we think we deserve and I think I deserve to be joyful. And I know Tim wouldn't have it any other way.