Diane Rank (blog: The Expressive Palette) is a wonderful watercolor, acrylic and collage artist. I met Diane when she applied to be a member of Inspiration Avenue. When she was unanimously accepted, I was lucky enough to become her mentor and show her around our little I.A. Kingdom. We became fast friends as we have many things in common. Sometimes it feels as if a new friend is heaven sent, that's what meeting Diane was like. She's a lovely, happy, positive and multi talented woman who has a loving husband and children. She works hard to find time to create and I admire her for keeping all the proverbial balls in the air with all she has to do.
|Title: "Hope & Life"|
Now, don't get me wrong, Diane's art isn't always edited down to the minimum elements necessary to convey the subject. She also paints with more detail, especially when she's using acrylics. Acrylics and watercolors have such differing techniques for laying down color that it's not surprising Diane's style changes slightly with the change in medium. Her style is still wonderfully distinctive, though...
|Title: "Bare Autumn Cathedral"||Title: "Mystical Cathedral"|
|Title: "Vermont Birch Autumn Landscape"||Title: "Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia"|
I did a virtual interview with Diane Rank and she was so generous to answer all my questions! Here's the interview...
|Diane's last "Ribbons of Grass" series.|
Her collage paired the painting with a
wonderfully appropriate quote.
Diane: Like so many artists, I've loved to color and create since childhood; I could spend hours happily coloring and drawing or building things with my brother's Lincoln logs. Beginning in Junior High and continuing throughout college, I took art classes whenever I could fit them in, but I regret not majoring in art.
I married and had children but the only "Art" I did back then were all sorts of crafts. It did help placate the need to create though. Then a botched back surgery changed everything. I was no longer able to stand or sit in a regular chair for more than a few minutes without excruciating pain, and was basically confined to a rented adjustable hospital bed. A friend and artist who has Muscular Dystrophy and is involved in our ladies Bible study suggested I take up watercolor painting. She loaned me everything I needed... paint, paper, brushes, books and even a large wood board so I could paint in bed! I would paint and the next week she would offer her critique.
One thing she said really stuck with me and began to change the way I painted...
"Grass is not green, there are countless colors in the grass".WOW, that concept opened my eyes to see beyond the ordinary surface of things. I created a series of miniatures called "Ribbons of Grass" and brought them to a brand new art gallery in a little town in Wisconsin. The gallery owner said they were like "little jewels". Only one of the series is left, the others are in private collections and I recently created a mixed media collage with it. After watercolors, I began trying my hand at pastels and lino block printing and loved them as well.
Alas, life and it's problems intervened and I had to put art to the side for several years.
When I remarried and moved to Vermont, our place was way too small to allow me to bring out all my art supplies so I began making jewelry and selling it in the local shops. A few years I later began selling my jewelry on Etsy but making jewelry really wasn't totally satisfying anymore. My heart was yearning to paint again and with my nephew's and husband's encouragement, I embarked on my journey back to art.
Jenn: Do you sell your work? where?
Diane: Yes, my Etsy Shop is "The Expressive Palette", easy to remember as it's the same name as my blog!
Jenn: What is your process in creation? (do you like plein air best or use of a photograph, or your own imagination, or follow where the art supplies take you?)
Diane: Quite honestly I feel a bit inadequate in answering this as I'm still learning and trying to find my voice. I tend to think & think & think a lot about a piece. In the back of my mind I usually have two or three different pieces whispering through my thoughts. I'm mulling over what I'd like to do next or what the next step might be for a piece in process.
I've discovered I'm a serial painter, I paint in series. :o) If I like the subject, I'll do it again and again with slight variations, sometimes simplifying, sometimes with more detail or in a different color palette. I just work to my heart's content.
|Title: "Dancing Ferns 3"||Title: "Dancing Ferns 5"||Title: "Dancing Ferns 2"|
|Title: "Abstract, Life"|
|Title: "Sunset Road"|
|Title: "Abstract Landscape"|
Oh, and here are a couple of tips I've learned about making a successful piece of artwork...
- I hold my pieces up to the mirror & upside down to study composition and balance. It's tricky doing this with collage but worth it. :o)
- I used to really struggle with the question "Is this piece finished?" Now I stop when my piece captures the feeling I have inside for it.
Jenn: What are your favorite art supplies?
Diane: Arches 140lb cold pressed art blocks, Holbein watercolors, Sennelier and the Quinacridone colors by Daniel Smith, Faber-Castell Pitt Art Pens, and THE coolest thing ever.. my heart skips a beat... the FreshWater "Rinse Well" that I found on line at Jerry's Artarama. Instead of two or three water containers, I just need this one which dispenses fresh water as you need it!(this product can be purchased for around $13 at Dick Blick, you can click through from my sidebar!) Also, I LOVE fabulous handmade papers and Golden acrylics & mediums for collage.
Jenn: How does a spectacular piece make you feel?
Diane: Oh, all sorts of emotions! From pride "I am an Artist!" to incredulity "I painted this, really??!?". I feel total happiness and humility that God has given me such a gift.
Jenn: What do you do with a less than stellar piece? Do you rework it until your happy?
Diane: For the most part I keep them. Sometimes I can rework and save a piece. But most of the time I use them for reference... What was good about it? What was bad? ...and also for experiments. What would happen if i add this medium to it? What if i try this or that? I learn best by seeing and by doing, so really nothing is ever a total failure.
That's the end of our virtual interview but before I wrap up this post I must show you three series paintings that, although they didn't fit any of the paragraphs above, are my personal favorites of hers. I just love the coloration, they have Diane's distinctive simple style yet they capture an abundance of JOY within their boundaries as artwork. Don't these three pieces just make you smile?
|Title: "Joyful Sunflower"||Title: "Sassy Sunflower"|
|Title: "Sunflower Swirls"|
Thank you to my loyal readers for coming around and learning about another wonderfully talented and creative artist. In a month I'll post about Dion Dior, another spectacular artist, so please stay tuned. As always, if you'd like to read all the Featured Artist posts, just click on the "I've Been Featured" button in my sidebar, the button is given exclusively to the wonderfully generous artists who allow me to interview them. Thank you, Diane, for letting my readers get to know you better, we are enriched for the journey.
I'll be back soon with a new Artist's Play Room Challenge. If you haven't entered this week's, you still have time, the deadline is early morning Saturday! You can always find the latest Artist's PLAY ROOM Challenge by clicking on the APR button in my sidebar, that-a-way ---->
Or you can click here.
P.S. I would really appreciate it if all my visitors who are enjoying this series would join up using my Linky Follower tool in the sidebar, that-a-way ----->
(if you'd like a follow back please leave me a comment requesting one, I'm always thrilled to discover new bloggy friends.)