Like the title of her recently published book, 'Gem's from the Edge of the Earth,' the 90 magnificent paintings depicting Boundary County landscape artist Diana Moses Botkin has blended into the tiny, 40-page book are gems.
The paintings - which chart four years of Botkin's work as a "plein air," or on-location artist - are as stunning and breathtaking as Idaho's northernmost county Botkin has fallen in love with.
"I wanted to share my work with the people who make up this gorgeous county, which is truly a marvel of nature," said Botkin. "I just absolutely love how light touches subjects here, how it lights up the snow on mountains everywhere you look. This is a landscape artist's dream."
The Oklahoma native, who has been painting ever since she was a child, rarely painted landscapes until she moved to Boundary County with her family from Oregon in 1996, when the focus of her work suddenly did an about-face.
"I mostly did portraits and sky-scapes of those great Oklahoma skies," she said. "But here in Boundary County, I fell in love with this land and how light has a way of spreading out and touching just about everything I look at."
Botkin - who also teaches beginning and intermediate painting classes at the Naples Gallery - practically grew up with a paint brush in her hand. Her father was also an artist, and she cannot remember a time in her early childhood when she was not painting or drawing.
"All I ever wanted to be when I grew up was a ballet dancer and an artist," she recalled. "I knew I could draw real well; I was always the 'art kid' in school. Most of my teachers seemed to know that I needed to spend a lot of time at an easel, and I was pretty fortunate that I was able to as a kid."
Botkin's works - painted mostly on small 5-by-7-inch and 8-by-10-inch canvases - have not gone unnoticed. The University of Oklahoma art graduate's paintings sell at Sandpoint's Timberstand Gallery as well as the Pend Oreille Arts Council Gallery in the Powerhouse Building, also in Sandpoint. Locally, her work is exhibited at the Naples Gallery and Tightwire Gallery in Bonners Ferry. Botkin's landscapes have also found a market from online buyers across the country.
Her book, 'Gem's from the Edge of the Earth,' can be purchased at Bonners Books.
"I had a hard time choosing what painting to put in the book," she said. "It's difficult to know what places or areas other people like."
Botkin tries to work on paintings every day, but it doesn't always work out that way.
"There's the business side of art that takes time, but when I'm painting it's like time doesn't exist," she said. "When people look at my work, I want them to have a peaceful respite from the pressure of life and feel the beauty God has put out there. People often tell me I capture that. When I receive a comment like that about my work, it means the process is complete for me."
Botkin's work can be view online at http://DianaMosesBotkin.blogspot.com