Monday, March 28, 2011

I'm still here!

I feel a little like a balloon that was suddenly deflated. After all my volunteer activities ended and the opening at Russell Collection, I let a big sigh of relief and haven't reinflated myself! I'm trying to get inspired again. After such a break, its always hard to get motivated again. But I have to think of it not as a challenge but a waking, as if from a sleep... I have to begin gently and not berate myself for inactivity.

In the meantime, I am finishing a special painting for the new Seton Breast Cancer Center. Artists who showed in the Best of Texas show at Russell Collection are each contributing a 24x24 canvas in honor of Susan Lubin. My painting is a little more modern than usual and I'm enjoying it.

Two other things - Salon International opens this weekend AND I had a painting featured in the April Southwest Art in their "Art Values" section - very cool! Though they have put Russell Collection gallery in Dallas, not Austin. But, this means you need to check out my galleries and see what is available to invest now before I get famous! ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Moses Botkin Monthly Challenge

This month's challenge was to paint on black. Now, I used to do this regularly for awhile. I think I got the idea from Karin Jurick and I did like the drama of the color on it. But once its painted over, there isn't much point really. Then I began to paint mostly on a grayed surface, sometimes gessoing many panels at one time in a nice latex house paint actually (idea from Ken Auster) which gives a nice smooth surface. But lately I've been painting mostly onto white linen or gessoboard and using thin washes and wiping back some too to achieve more
transparent passages. Its funny how my own techniques vary widely depending on my mood and subject.
This time I let the black be, and I painted only the areas of light, so the black is the clayboard surface (only thing I had in black.) It was interesting to paint only the color areas, leaving his eye sockets empty and his shoulder and her shirt and hair just unpainted essentially.
All the negative space is untouched. It was a neat experiment. Now, the clayboard is thirsty, so I had to paint some of those passages several times to make the color sing. I'm curious how the others got their very dense black grounds. Will have to read on... follow their links to read more with me!

Glass Artists
5x7 oil on clayboard
©2011 Robin Cheers

Blue & Pink
9x12 pastel
©2011 Vicki Ross

Sunny Side Up
16x20 oil on board
©2011 Suzanne Berry

Sweet Reflections
4x6 oil on hardboard
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

Not So Crystal Ball
20x24 oil on canvas
©2011 Sharman Owings

Megan Noir
4x6 oil on canvas
©2011 Ruth Andre

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Birds Eye Views

After Lunch
12x12 oil on 2" cradled gessoboard

14x11 oil on 2" cradled gessoboard

On the Plaza
12x12 oil on 2" cradled gessoboard

All available at Russell Collection

These are the last of the pieces I painted for the Best of Texas show. I really like these overhead views and was sort of testing them out in this market. I'd like to do some larger ones. Maybe really big. (for me, that might be 24x36) People seemed to like them so I am going to do for it.
I enjoy doing these because they are more simple and graphic in design, the shadows often are the most interesting part. I like cast shadows. I have fun with them in the museum paintings too - where a person is in the spotlight and their shadow falls on the wall with the paintings. These more modern pieces are hung unframed too on the cradled hardboard.

I've been lazing about here for the last week. I think I just needed some downtime. I had so much going on between Girl Scouts, Destination Imagination and prepping for this show. Its been nice to just "be" for awhile. And do some spring gardening. Next week is our spring break so I can do a little more R&R and then back to work. Ideas are forming!

Oh - and there is one more exciting thing going on in conjunction with Russell Collection and this show. Their Best of Texas artists have been invited to create a work on the theme of "hope" for the new Seton Breast Cancer Center. Each artist will paint a 24x24 canvas which will be previewed at Russell Collection April 6-10 in honor of Susan Lubin.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

In and Out

18x20 oil on linen panel
Available at Russell Collection

Also one of my show pieces for the Best of Texas show. The opening reception Friday was really fun. A real Austin event with live music and loads of people. It all coincided well with Texas Independence Day and South by Southwest which begins next week. The variety of art is really unique I think too. The artwork ranges from the abstract to impressionist, large to small and in between. The Russell Collection offers something for every taste. I am really proud to be part of their gallery.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Sweet Spot

12x9 oil on panel
Available at Russell Collection

This is a similar setting to a painting I did of Mozarts this winter. As usual I am drawn to the unusual light to be found in interior settings. The pastry fridge radiates a pink glow and the blue light through the blinds tries to creep into the space. I almost fee like I can see the dust motes glinting through this piece too. I think I've become addicted to the coffee shop atmosphere. I've been to one of my nearby Starbucks 4 out of 5 days this week. I've been reading a lot actually. Its been really nice to wind down a bit. I'm avoiding being alone in my studio I think by surrounding myself with people and conversation - none of which I actually have to participate in! I know that people might look down on the chain coffeehouses, but I have to say that I am really comfortable in them and always meet friendly faces there. More so than some other shops. There is something to be said for consistency too. They've been kind of an extension of my living room. Comfortable places to read, check email, sketch, have a warm cuppa something and watch the world go by. I have an idea brewing too. lol

Tonight is the opening at Russell Collection. I'm anxious to meet all the other artists and see all the work together. Should be a lot of fun.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Campus Bookstore

12x36 oil on linen
Available at Russell Collection

Here is another for the show this month. Its an unusual size and its another piece I thought about for a long time before I actually painted it. I did a small study of it as well trying to work out the color and light. So often these scenes lend themselves to dark colors... dark floors, dark walls, dark tables and chairs - so much wood!
So I want to try to not resort to losing everything in heavy dark paint.

6x18 oil on linen - 30 minute study

The line that is like wainscotting in the final painting is straight (for the most part) but my camera kept giving it a fish-eyed bow. I hope its straight - will have to check that at the gallery tomorrow night and hope its not so pronounced as in this photo!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

409 Bleeker Street

24x20 oil on linen
Available at Russell Collection Fine Art

This is my second favorite recent painting. Its based on photos and a plein air piece I did in the city on my last visit. That was '09. I didn't get to go last year, but I'm planning a trip for this summer with some artist friends.

If you are interested in a guided painting trip there, check out Phil Levine's site. He plans workshops with some of the best teaching artists all over the western world, and he is leading a figure painting class in the city in May. I'm not sure if I will be able to plan my trip around that, the end of school and all, but I hope to still meet up with him while there. If he's not in France - sigh.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Sweets for My Sweet

20x20 oil on linen

I thought I'd give my blog viewers a sneak peek at some of the work that is now available at Russell Collection in Austin. They are mounting their Best of Texas show featuring 10 of the Texas artists they represent, including me. It should be a fun opening reception Friday night with a diverse collection of artists and live music. If you are in town you should rsvp and attend!

This painting might be my favorite. I actually have thought about this scene for a couple of years but hadn't painted it yet. Perhaps I didn't think I could. But I am so pleased with the results. The setting is actually across from Russell Collection at Sweetish Hill Bakery. They have one of my small daily paintings on their wall. Its also a scene from their bakery. Pretty neat.
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