Thursday, December 31, 2009

Year's End


12x9 oil on carton board
nfs

Today I painted my contribution for Different Strokes for Different Folks' final challenge - we submitted and then were sent random photo portraits. I waited until the last minute practically, as usual. But enjoyed it thoroughly.
And this is my last painting of 2009. What a year. Its been up and down certainly and I hope for a more stable 2010 for us all. I am excited to start a new body of work next week.
Happy New Year!!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ella sketch


12x9 oil on paper
nfs

At Christmas we draw names to exchange gifts among my husband's numerous siblings. Last year I got my sister in law Johannah and I painted a little sketch of her older daughter from some pics I took of our kids playing at Grandma & Grandpa's house.
This year she rigged the draw so I'd get her again. So here is a sketch of her younger daughter. Hope she doesn't look at the blog and see it before Christmas. You can see last year's gift here.

I've not touched a brush or pen to sketch for the whole month. Been very busy with the usual holiday rush - those important things like school parties, our annual gingerbread house making party, friends and family time, etc. I hope you are all doing the same.
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Moses Botkin Monthly Challenge

I did not rise to the challenge. Lately, I've struggled to rise from the couch! Not that bad, but I've been up and down emotionally and energetically. I finished my kitchen cabinet makeover. I am suffering allergies or a cold. My daughter has had some 'behavior issues', my husband at the track a lot and I'm struggling to get all the Christmas prep done. My parents arrive on Saturday and I cannot wait! I am blessed to have a wonderful, friendly relationship with them.

My artist friends did rise to the challenge though... and it was something complex. Hot and Cold. Together. I really had a hard time thinking of anything but am glad to share their work.


Warm Cool Colors
10x8 Oil on canvas
(c) 2009 Marie Fox



Waiting for Global Warming
4x6 Oil on hardboard
(c) 2009 Diana Moses Botkin



Winter Rooftops
6x6 Oil on Board
(c) 2009 Michael Naples



Fire and Ice
9.5 x 7.5 oil on board
(c) 2009 Suzanne Berry



Iced Coffee and a Biscuit
8x10 oil on panel
(c) 2009 Vicki Ross

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Progression


20x10 oil on glass

This was an experiment I did a week ago. While I am online here (updating my pet project Austin Art Openings) I thought I'd show you all this. I am sticking to my plans though and all my focus lately has been on Christmas and home projects. Who knew I had so much to do - art is an escape as well as a demanding boss.

What to do with a painting on glass? Its just a thin piece I had laying around and was too small for a palette. It was an interesting surface. Every brush stroke shows. Pretty cool. But fragile.

I plan to do this same scene as a very large painting (on canvas) soon. I still seem to be drawn to these very stark, simple scenes.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Purge

Well I've finally decided to stop fighting the "block" and just turn my attention to other things. I've struggled for two weeks trying everything I could. I painted in my car, and wiped two starts. I met the plein air group (on the coldest day!) and failed to even be able to get excited about the farmers, the good light, the chickens, etc. I've worked in the studio and not finished anything I've started and I've sat in several coffee shops and been uninspired. Its time to stop. It can't be forced and I need to relax.
So, I am going to turn my attention to Christmas. The line "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas. May your heart be light." struck a chord this morning. My heart has been heavy and my head too full of myself. I'm getting the house in order, I took 20 pounds of magazines and papers out to the big blue bin, I need to go through my daughter's toys and clothes and get them donated. This post from Jennifer King really hit home too. She wrote on Wed. about getting rid of those useless things that have cluttered your life. I felt so good yesterday after I moved furniture and purged some clutter. Now I can start with a clean mind, spirit and house after the holidays.
I am sure I will post here and there. And update Facebook. But I will now wish you all a blessed Hanukkah and Christmas season. May your hearts be light and from now on your troubles out of sight.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Paint Blog

My thanks to Eric Cator at Paintblog for featuring my artwork on his site. Paintblog brings the galleries to your desktop by featuring the work of talented and interesting contemporary painters that you should know. I am amazed at being included... lately, my work has been bonfire material.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all a lovely holiday celebrating all the things we have to be thankful for. For me personally; my husband's return to health, my wonderful daughter, fabulous family & friends, a good dog, a great job, lovely weather and the backyard to enjoy it in our great country.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Out of the Shadows


7x5 oil on panel
$100 + s/h
And once again, we have Sherbet. Let's see if I can paint anything else next week.

Artistic Drought

What an enjoyable lunch I had yesterday. I met with 4 other artist friends and we talked about life, art, business and family. I am so blessed to have such a great group of people who share something in common with me. My family can't quite understand or know what art is and how joyful it can be, and how low it can bring you. I am at a low right now. I can't paint. I'm sitting here going through my photos, through sketchbooks, watching the rain fall outside, and nothing is sparking my imagination. Its frustrating, to say the least. I know I need to relax. I know I need to push through some of the starts I have sitting around.
On the other hand, I can't force it. Its been an incredible year for me. New representation across the country, selling work internationally, shows, awards, travel, and a large body of work. I have some 60 paintings out at galleries right now. There was a time when doing half that many in a year was inconceivable. I owe my growth, in part, to this "daily painting concept" that was born out of Duane Keiser's genius. I still boggle at the explosion of art and artists who are directly reaching their audience through the internet now. Which has created an even larger community for me to share with and learn from.
Yesterday's spot was nice and comfortable, but lacked patrons and good lighting... so I think I will take myself off to... Starbucks! Maybe there I will at least feel less daunted by my empty easel and palette sitting there gaping at me. I will post another cat painting I did yesterday next. (above)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Le Chat Orange


6x6 oil on panel
$100 + s/h - sold

I was told this guy's full name is 'Orange Sherbet Kittie Moss' and he is a very fun resident of the Mud Creek Pottery studio in Calvert. He was highly disappointed when the little laser light was put away and the painting lessons began.

You might remember a painting I did of him a few weeks ago. I have been having trouble "seeing" lately and not been able to finish anything - I can't bring my paintings "out of the dark" (blank?), so I revisited this subject to try to loosen up and remember how I work!

Today, I am going to meet some artist friends at a coffee house (no not Starbucks this time!) to hang out and chat. I will be sketching, naturally, but I look forward to just catching up and sharing ideas. Those attending... shall I be a name dropper? You probably ought to check them all out, they do some fabulous work. Laurel Daniel, V Vaughan, Kate Merriman, Terri Wells, and maybe others. I get to hang with some pretty inspiring ladies. Austin - live music capitol of the world, and visual arts hub. As further evidenced by the E.A.S.T. (East Austin Studio Tour) going on this week. Ok, I have given you enough to play with and explore today. My work here is done. Now, to the easel!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Passenger


7x5 oil on panel
$100 + s/h - sold

I tried a couple of different things today and wiped them off. I think I was starting with something too ambitious after having been on hiatus. And while having limited time to work. My schedule couldn't be more full this week. I needed to pull back and just do something simple and allow myself to see and paint loosely. As a note, I often work from photos, but I squint quite a bit when looking at them and when looking at my painting. I'm going to be very wrinkly when I get old I think. There must be a better way!

Disregard my gloved thumb in the lower section of the painting. Its late and I'm too lazy to edit it out.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Moses Botkin Monthly Challenge


This month's challenge subject was
the view out our studio window. Very interesting. Mine turned out to be a watercolor sketch. I tried it in oils, but was really unhappy with my efforts. Those rocks are hard to paint and it was an overcast day.

If you look in the middle back behind my fence is a deer. He really did walk by there. Several did. We are blessed to have this 'green belt' area behind our house so we have a lot of privacy though we are buried in suburbia. We have a lot of wildlife too. Armadillos, skunks, opposums, deer, foxes, roadrunners, tarantulas, scorpions.... along with the traditional birds and squirrels.



Green Belt
8x8 watercolor sketch
(c) 2009 Robin Cheers



Studio View
8x8.5 oil on canvas

(c) 2009 Silvina Day



Studio View
24x18 oil on canvas
(c) 2009 Marie Fox



View from my Studio
8x10 oil on panel
(c) 2009 Vicki Ross



Outside My Studio
16x20 oil on canvas
(c) 2009 Suzanne Berry



The View
4x6 oil on hardboard
(c) 2009 Diana Moses Botkin



Electric Highway
8x8 oil on board
(c) 2009 Michael Naples

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Drafting


6x8 oil on panel

Ask Loretta Goodwin Gallery about this painting.

This beauty was cruising along Central Park South. I'm reminded of something poetic about horses I read ages ago... "Thou has clothed his neck with thunder..." But I can't for the life of me recall it all or find it. I thought it was something in the bible, but I haven't ever found the reference. Anyway - this horse in particular has an impressively massive, strong neck.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Starbucks Sketches



End of last week I needed to just be out there, observing. I sat in Starbucks friday afternoon for 2 hours covertly sketching my fellow Buckians. There is something very comforting about the chain, though I suppose some see it as the McDonalds of coffee houses. At any rate, I like their hot cocoa and there are always lots of people to sketch.
I am getting some ideas together for a mural. Yes, I am going to try a large wall mural for my friend's chocolate and confections shop she is opening in Houston. It will be the largest work I've done.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Standing Room Only


8x10 oil on panel

These two were tied outside at the Bertram rodeo last spring. They were shifting about, swishing tails, impatiently waiting to get to do their stuff. Most of what I watched was team cutting (calves from a herd.) It was pretty fun to watch. It seemed like a great family event - small and local. I'll have to keep my ears open for another event to go to.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Hot Spot


9x12 oil on panel

Two cowboys visiting during a rodeo in Bertram, Texas. Spent most of my day today working on my kitchen cabinets. That job rather stalled for awhile. I need to get it finished. So, while my "painter's block" continues....guess I will be productive elsewhere.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Taking a Look Around - Horse


12x12 oil on panel

Available at Loretta Goodwin Gallery for their Holiday Open House on November 19th.

I've been too lazy to post lately though I've been painting every day. I'm sending this beauty (the horse, not necessarily the painting) to Loretta Goodwin along with some other horse, cowboy and city scenes. I am exploring a variety of subjects lately. I think that is important for artists... not just to challenge one's self but to avoid being pigeon-holed into only one style or subject. I don't ever want to have to paint only a certain thing. I think with exploration comes growth. I guess I'd get bored doing the same things over and over.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

With Feathers Flying


6x6 oil on panel
$100 + s/h


Loved this carriage horse who was so proudly tossing his head, shaking that pretty plumage and trotting around Central Park in June. I'm working on a couple of larger park horse paintings now too. So much for my ballet ideas (for now!)

I can't tell you how happy I am though to have these busy weeks behind me and be able to just focus on painting what makes me happiest.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wedding Reception - Molly Pitcher Inn

I'm back home after a whirlwind trip to the northeast. Three cities in three days... the rock star lifestyle is not for me! On Facebook, I've posted some pictures from the awards dinner at the National Arts club. Owing to the usual delays that inevitably happen when traveling, I barely got there in time for dinner and was a little damp from a long walk in the rain. But had no trouble getting too and from the city on the trains. Well - I got off at the wrong station on the way back to my hotel, but jumped on the next train and finished my ride.
I met some lovely people at the awards dinner and was warmly welcomed. I was so impressed by the quality of the work in the show, and therefore even more honored and amazed that my painting was chosen for an award.
The National Arts Club is in a gorgeous old home in Gramercy park. Stunning.

Next day (Sat.) I was driving down the New Jersey Parkway heading for the coast for the wedding reception. The fall color was beautiful. I missed my exit... you'll note a theme on my missing exits and getting lost....

Suffice to say, I made it to town and got my canvas and mineral spirits at a local art supply store and then got to spend some time enjoying downtown Red Bank.

The wedding reception was a lot of fun. People talk about southern hospitality, but I have to say, the people there (guests, dj, lighting guy, wait staff, etc.) were all so friendly and fun. Everyone danced! From the youngest to the oldest... to all the music. Its really fun to get to take part in these events as an observer. I'm really honored to be asked to do this kind of work!


video

That being said, I'm exhausted. I'm in my jammies still and not moving from my sofa today. Its pouring rain too which makes it all the cozier.
I am not traveling the the rest of the year. Soon it will be time to turn our attention to the upcoming holidays and family. But for now, I think I need a nap.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

South Street Bridge


16x20 oil on linen

I'm heading for New York and New Jersey this weekend. I'll be attending the closing reception of the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club show and be present to accept my award. very fun.
The timing worked out very well as I have a wedding reception painting event Saturday night in Red Bank, New Jersey. It will be a lot of traveling about - but I will call that sightseeing. I'm anxious to see NY in the fall. Will Central Park be all decked out in color? Wish me luck as I go it all alone in the big city.

You might remember the study I did of this scene (below). I really liked the warm color scheme but I am not liking the buildings in the back. I think I've put too much "detail" in them. Also, the photo of the larger image doesn't capture the yellows at all... the ground and sky are much warmer than appear here.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

On the Prowl - Cat


8x6 oil on panel
$150 + s/h - sold

"Sherbet" was one of Sonny Moss's fun little studio cats. He ran all over Mud Creek pottery studio chasing a little laser light V was playing with. He was quite the character. I sketched him quite a bit as I posed for V's students. He wasn't still long and it was good practice for capturing moving subjects for Saturday night's gala painting.
Check out Sonny's pottery - he is quite talented.

Here are a couple pages from my book.



Monday, October 19, 2009

Calvert Victorian Gala


18x24 oil on linen - sold

What a fun and festive event in Calvert. I wish I could have been dressed up and dancing, but seeing it all was great. I worked smaller than I usually do for live events and finished the scene so that it could be auctioned that night to benefit the Calvert Historical Society. V....Vaughan's beautiful painting of the afternoon tea was a real crowd pleaser too. I think we are both happy to have participated in the events of the day and enjoyed the hospitality of this quaint East Texas town as a whole. Many thanks to Barbara, Cecilia and Jody for their hospitality and planning!


Some fine looking young ladies chatting around my painting corner.


The gentleman and lady in the center were the second place Best Dressed couple of the evening. They are in my painting on the right. I actually had all three winners for the best dressed couple in my work. I guess I had a good eye for authentic costume!


V's gorgeous painting is seen in the background here.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Blue Dancer


10x10 oil on panel

I am going to do another triptych of ballet dancers and began to work out ideas today. This will be available once I've decided on the larger work. Making blue flesh is crazy fun. Always good to push aside "what should be" and paint what is in my mind.

I'm off for Calvert now to enjoy their historic weekend events and to meet some artist friends whom I've known only in email. Saturday will be a full day. My traveling companion, V....Vaughan will be teaching an early workshop and I am sure she'll goad me into rising before dawn to paint with her.
Later in the day we will be at the Victorian Tea (V painting, me drinking heavily) and then Saturday night I'll be painting the gala event. I'm picturing "Moulin Rouge."
Our works from the tea and ball will be auctioned at the ball midway through the evening. Exciting stuff!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Moses Botkin Monthly Challenge

Water! Water is life. We've had a very hot and dry summer here in Texas. The other day I was out near one of the inlets at Lake Travis and it was completely dry - had grass growing in it in fact. People's docks were dangling off the hillsides. We've had a lot of rain lately, but the lake levels are still very low (~50 feet still.) I've been enjoying these rainy days and welcome them, knowing we're finally putting this brutal summer behind us. But there are good memories to go along with summer, like the sprinkler park I've painted below!


Sprinkler Park
11x6 oil on linen
$150 + s/h



Water Bottle
16x20 oil on canvas
(c) 2009 Suzanne Berry



Cool, Cool Water
8x8 oil on panel
(c) 2009 Vicki Ross



Ocean Waves
18x24 oil on canvas
(c) 2009 Marie Fox



Fish Tale
8x6 oil on hardboard
(c) 2009 Diana Moses Botkin



Half Full
8x8 oil on board
(c) 2009 Michael Naples

Sketcher


10x10 oil on panel

This painting will be available at
Tidewater Gallery next week.

This feels somehow "different" from my usual work. But I like the muted palette and the almost silhouetted man sketching the statue before him. It feels very quiet. I could use some quiet. You have no idea.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Closer Look


12x9 oil on panel

This painting is going to Edward Montgomery Fine Art in Carmel next week.

I wanted to really punch up the lights on this to create a spotlight feel. The woman is in one of the halls in the Met.

I wish I was better at naming paintings... I am sure someone clever could come up with something fun to play off the heads or something. Give me your best shot.

Survey Says?

I have this ongoing debate with myself about how I should set up my website... I have three "galleries" now featuring work for the past three years. But I have reached the max. number of images for 2009 already!
So once again I am considering other ways to separate the work. Makes me wonder what others like to see when browsing and how other artists set up their own online galleries.


Do you like to know details on every piece? Just want an image? Thumbnails or no? Categories? Send me an email or post a comment to share your ideas!

Personal fact: One thing you should know about me is that I can't make decisions, esp. about things that really have no consequence, and have to poll my family and friends frequently for guidance. Use your powers wisely. ;-)

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Brotherhood


12x12 oil on canvas

Available at Dutch Art Gallery Oct. 17th - Nov. 30th as part of the Daily Painters of Texas group show.

This is one I am really excited about. Very colorful. I loved the light I caught. Just one of those "ahhh" moments!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Somnambulism


11x14 oil on panel

This is a similar scene to one I did that just focused on the resting man. Once again, strange and somewhat eerie lighting and reflections make a neat study.
I was reminded this weekend of another fun thing that people might do while riding mass transit... painting. I have a friend, Kathleen McElwaine, who paints fun little watercolors while riding the bus into Austin everyday. Check out her video on YouTube! We visited with her this weekend and my daughter was most impressed, and came home to begin making her own little watercolors!

Check back for availability on this painting.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Digital Practice



I'm not sure this is very good as far as painting digitally goes, but it was a good exercise in planning for a real painting. In doing this, I try to minimize my colors (out of laziness), so I end up using 5-6 and using them throughout the image. So the picture ends up quite harmonious. Its a good exercise and gets me thinking about approaching work on the easel. Good fun for a rainy Sunday morning.

Friday, October 02, 2009

Night Rider


6x6 oil on panel

Available at Loretta Goodwin Gallery
.

So I am still interested in studying the lighting and atmosphere of the subways. The people are pretty fascinating too. I love the idea of mass transit and I would def. use it if we had it here in Austin. Traffic is just frustrating, but on a train you can kick back and relax, read, listen to music, and people watch. My favorite pastime!

Mass Transit


18x24 oil on linen

Check back for availability!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

South Street

I decided today to not go to the gym. Best Decision! I've just been running around so much that I am not getting the extended time in my studio that I've craved. I had the best day painting. I haven't had this kind of surge in a couple of weeks so I am really glad I decided to focus on ONE thing for once. PAINTING!

Among some horses, figures in the city and a muse
um patron or two, I worked on these "vignettes" as an exercise. The subject was a rather nicely composed scene of South Street near the Brooklyn Bridge. This photo really lent itself to breaking it up into big blocks of values. This first one I intended to be a vignette, but it turned out rather mundane and typical. I got into too many details and lost focus. Imagine that.


6x8 oil on panel

So I did the scene again in just 4 values using mars black.


6x8 oil on panel


I liked that so well, I thought I'd lighten up and do it in a "high key" and really liked that. It taught me so much about cityscapes. Street scenes are so busy and colorful that it can be hard to avoid details and making a patchwork quilt (see above!) By reducing my values to large masses I was able to leave out all non-essentials and create an impression that conveys the mood of the city without belaboring it with tons of signage and competing facades.


6x8 oil on pa
nel


le image

Note to self: Start looser from the beginning!
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