Tuesday, March 19, 2013

MORNING WALK - Refreshed

48x36" oil on heavyweight canvas

So, looks familiar right? When I posted this last June, I always had plans to revisit it. I rushed through it back then for two reasons. I always rush through a painting (in the process of correcting that) and I just wanted to see if posting a painting I was really proud of would help the grieving process. (My sweet Tim had only been gone 4 months at the time.)

It did as it turns out. Tim's message was to keep working and now that I've actually been in the studio consistently for a week straight, showing up on time and leaving on time, I can see how much it helps my state of mind, so much more than my previous sporadic visits. Right again dude! I talk to him more, I'm actually walking around the place humming and the Raz and Blu are thrilled that mommy is becoming much more patient.

This is the original version. In my head it was much more sketchy and unfinished. I needed a break from work that had to get done and decided to spend a few days on this.

I've been studying the work of so many artists online whose work I admire and I realized that I leave a lot of unfinished thoughts...or brushstrokes. I decided to really take my time...in the bright light of the new studio, music playing, the pups curled up snoring near my feet and Tim chirping away over my shoulder. "Don't touch it!!! You'll overwork it! Leave it alone!" Sorry sweetheart.

I found the warm spots were much to hot and their legs and hind parts were unfinished. Some shadows too dark and cool and some highlights too light and warm. There's still tons of work to do on the leash, rings and connectors. Taking my time, studying the reference, even trying out new methods to achieve the result I'm looking for are improving the creative process in ways I didn't expect.

 When Tim would use a brush to do quick character studies, he would often load a toothbrush with ink and splatter it in certain places on the paper for effect. I decided to load up a brush with thinned titanium white paint and flick the bright reflective particles that seem to be everywhere embedded in the pavement and I think it works. I had a really good time with this painting and I'm still not done, but when I am it will be the first painting that I've actually really totally finished!

I'm thrilled with the road. Can I say that? Not too arrogant? In my original post I was tickled that splashing in the road took only minutes and I thought it read okay but I think the darker, more detailed version anchors the boys more solidly. They seem to fit better into their surroundings. I want to feel that I can walk over and scoop them from the canvas, hear their panting and little toenails on the pavement. Not yet but I'm getting there.

There's another waiting in the wings. Maybe I'll actually do a series this time. Another reason for posting this is so that I didn't have to see that pile of dirty tissues every time I log in to my blog. And thank you so much for your kind words, the thank you's are on their way, but I'm not feelin' those clouds, at all. Just one of those things I guess.

I hope Tim approves of the new version.

Friday, March 15, 2013


"Storm's Comin!"
18x18" oil on heavyweight canvas

The Ides of March was the subject this month, chosen by Vicki. Great choice but I had no ideas. Well I did, but they all included bloodied togas. I'm too literal. Gotta keep those vibrations high, so I thought storm clouds might be a good idea. And it was except I can't decide whether I hear distant thunder or see a pile of dirty tissues.

Whatever, not my best effort but I'm okay with it. I did try, in fact I started it over a week ago. Very responsible for me, as admittedly, I usually require adult supervision to get things done on time. In my head it was very dramatic and imposing. Guess that will have to do.

I love the solutions that Diana and Vicki came up with...hmmm... perhaps my vibes aren't raised as high as I'd like them to be..

"Ides of March of the Penguins" 
Pastel on Canson 9"x12"
©2013 Diana Moses Botkin

"Bloody Caesar"
16 x 12" Pastel on sanded board

So...until next months challenge, if you'd like to become a part of this monthly creative endeavor please email Diana at: diana@dianamosesbotkin.com 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


18x24" oil on heavy canvas

This is Chloe. She's also kickin' it over the Rainbow Bridge. Lot of that going around. Anyway, she was a pleasure to work on. A great photo and a wonderful, calming palette.

Still working on getting into the studio on a daily basis and trying to figure out how to keep mixed paints usable. I had a real epiphany. Use them more than once a month. Who knew? Still, I bought a ton of those little plastic cups in all sizes and mix the colors I need right in them. When it's time to work I have what I need right there, available and mixed. I store them in the fridge and they keep for at least a week without that nasty covering that forms like the coating on Jello pudding. Even then, just poke through and there's lots of usable paint. So far I think it might work. Again, working daily helps.

I'm also working on a 36x36" portrait of two young women and Chloe, another commission for the same client. The girls are lovely, blond hair for days and Chloe is as cute as she can be but I arrogantly thought I could jump right in after a year of what can only be generously called "sporadic" studio time. Not!!!

Really having trouble getting a likeness of one of the girls. The other one was no problem, but I'm on my fourth incarnation and the canvas tooth is quickly disappearing. I put it away and will take it out in a month or two when I get caught up. I really miss help from himself with likenesses. He was incredible with features. He would stand in front of the painting and in less than a minute make a few notes and instantly the portrait would ring true instead of resembling the subject's first cousin. Another bullet point on an incredibly long list of why I miss that man. Oh well. I'll ask for his help and see what happens. Couldn't hurt.

This is the new studio, formerly our den. We did some serious TV watching in here. Used to be really dark but Jason, the contractor working on the house, thought the windows on the wall you see would help. Genius. I don't even have to use the studio lamps I bought. Shared many a meal on that farmhouse table with Tim and his folks so that's a special addition. Plus the two little furry creatures in the corner on the right are great company, that is when they're not tearing up the fuzzy bed I bought them that's under the table.

Figured I'll keep the space sparse and airy. Some books, a chalk board, music and that chair you see. Good move on my part. I had such trouble finding something that worked until I saw this puppy in Home Decorators Catalog. I love that it looks like a 40's office chair and even though it's made of molded plastic it's a keeper. There's a groove for the hind parts that really fits and it has wheels. The flooring is rubber penny tiles that clean up easy which is a good thing because I do tend to get sloppy.

All in all it was a great day in the studio. Nice music, rain beating on the window pane. The boys running in and out and the distinct feeling that Tim was peering over my shoulder trying to keep me from overworking the painting. Sweet.