Thursday, September 29, 2011

Prep Work

18x18 oil on linen - sold

I don't know what has happened to me in the last two weeks, but I think I have too many irons in the proverbial fire. This was done a week or so ago. I don't think I posted it yet.

Last week kinda fell apart, and I learned to not schedule so much! Between hair cuts, drs., early release from school, girl scouts, tea with friends, etc. I just didn't get to focus on artwork. Its amazing how fast your schedule can fill if you aren't careful!

I'm an involved parent too so I have to really balance things carefully. The art has to be top priority between 9-2 basically. My work so far this week has been less than stellar and I've mostly put final touches on pieces and prepared them for framing. Lets hope I can do better tomorrow and finish the week on a high note.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A Day with Degas

12x12 oil on panel

Available next month at Loretta Goodwin Gallery.

Feeling a little, I don't know, ennui? Maybe I just like that word. Anyway, I turned to something contemplative today. I am pleased with the looseness, the variety of color and brush stoke I worked in here. Its not perfect, but my goal isn't realism, right? I was listening to a Dan McCaw interview this morning on Artists Helping Artists and he talked about painting "past the likeness" and other ideas for expressing your individuality. His book is wonderful, by the way.

This photo is too light, the painting is a little more muted and a shade more cozy than this appears - but when I try to adjust the photo, the red becomes too vibrant.

The scene might be one of my favorite rooms in The Met. Full of Degas' paintings and his beautiful little dancer proudly taking center stage. When you enter it from the main gallery, its really quite striking.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Moses Botkin Monthly Challenge

Grab your pearls and put on your party dress! This was a fun challenge. I had to try a couple of different set ups and dresses, the first being a pale pink that was really difficult to paint. Having donated my daughter's other dressy dress, (she doesn't wear ANY dresses if she can help it and I don't have any party clothes) I ended up painting a Halloween costume which has a renaissance feel to it. It was fun. Might be something I want to paint again.

Faire Dress
16x12 oil on panel
©2011 Robin Cheers

12x6 oil on canvas
©2011 Ruth Andre

Party Dress on the Beach
9x12 pastel on paper
©2011 Vicki Ross

That Party Dress
24x18 oil on canvas
©2011 Suzanne Berry

New Dress
10x12 oil on hardboard
©2011 Diana Moses Botkin

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Riding the Glory Train

14x11 oil on linen

Now I don't know if the subway in NYC might be a train bound for glory, but this man who sat with his prayer rope while he rode certainly put me in mind of greater things. I wanted to paint some kind tribute to all those who carried on after the events of 9/11. The losses were dreadful, as are the material losses right now in my home state, but the way people respond and recover from such tragedies is remarkable. Its the spirit to move on, to help, to rebuild and resurrect that moves me.

My title references any number of familiar gospel/folk songs. Here are some of the lyrics from one Randy Newman did, "Glory Train" -

I see some hard times coming
Fire and wind and rain
Billions of people, all scared of each other
Hearts full of envy and anger and pain

There on the edge of darkness
People come together again
Standing on the platform
Waiting for the glory train
Get on the glory train
Get on the glory train
They'll be standing on the platform
Waiting for the glory train

Lift up your head and stand tall
Let faith be your only guide
With all that love inside you
Salvation cannot be denied
Just when the storm is breaking
Just when no hope remains
Rollin' into the station
Here comes the glory train

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Double Latte

20x16 oil on linen

I really enjoyed this painting. I needed to focus on something other than the news. And this gave me ample opportunity to lose myself in lots of shapes. Something like this could be overwhelmingly confusing. Its really just a matter of ignoring objects and seeing just color. I painted the color/value in the right places and it turned out to describe a pitcher, or an espresso machine. It helped a great deal that I kept the colors similar and well matched.

Its hard to describe, and I have no idea if others do this or not, but I tend to start with one color mix and then continue to work that morphing new color shades and values in and around that original mix as it spreads across my palette. Each color I place has some of the original DNA.

Now, if I apply this to a city scene.... it could look like a patchwork quilt. I think there one has to ignore some of wide variety of broken color you see and focus on values. Learning to edit is the key there.

(Its been a long day, forgive me if I sound like I have no idea what I am talking about.)

Speaking of news, we're still battling wildfires in central Texas and just staggering numbers of families have lost their homes. This while friends out east are heading for higher ground from the monsoons. I could be wishful for more balance in life. My thoughts continue to be for all those suffering.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011


I'm trying hard to wrap my brain around painting, and even puttered in my studio - alternately planning some things and rearranging the mess, but spending a great deal of time surfing internet news on the fires raging in central Texas.

If you haven't heard in the daily painter's community yet, Carol Marine's home is certainly a loss and probably several other artist friends have lost their homes out in Bastrop, but I haven't heard of them yet. The loss of property and the environmental impact is huge but I am so thankful loss of life is minimal - only 2 deaths that I have heard yet.

Now fires are about 2 miles from my community in NW Austin, but
I have no fears of them spreading here. But all my thoughts are for my neighbors, friends, the animals and livestock, the firefighters and my poor Texas suffering insult after the injury of this dreadful summer drought.

I thought I'd share an ancient painting of mine, "Windswept", a scene from Round Top, Texas that I painted maybe around '05. Its an old favorite.
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