I was born in Egypt, where I attended British Missionary School, a private school in Heliopolis, Egypt where English, French and Arabic were taught. French is my native language. In 1948 I moved to Paris, France where I attended French public schools. I spent much time visiting the museums of Paris- they were my destination of choice! During these years I traveled extensively throughout Europe. It was after my marriage that I came to the United States.
During my time in the United States I ventured into many different areas. For four years, I taught French in the FLES program (Foreign Language in the Elementary School) in Maryland. After teaching through the FLES program, I was a professional florist. I became educated in silk painting and am now an instructor.
For many years I have been involved in the art world, in particular silk painting. With fellow silk-painter Jan Janas, I founded Silk Painters International (SPIN), a non-profit organization to promote this art form.
In collaboration with Jan Janas, a master silk artist, I co-authored three books: The Complete Book of Silk Painting, Creative Silk Painting and The Best of Silk Painting, published by North Light. Jan and I are currently working on our fourth silk painting book The Fine Art of Painting on Silk (to be published by Schiffer Publishing, Atglen, PA).
As a silk artist I now produce wall hangings and silk scarves. My sense of color and texture is what informs my silk art.
I am also a photographer! I have traveled the world with camera in hand, ready to capture that shining moment. Hummingbirds
Seeking to blend my passion for silk and photography, some of my photographic images are now printed on silk by Ed Noyce, a fellow fiber artist.
I participate in juried shows in both mediums and have received several awards. I enjoy sharing my images and expertise with everyone!
I teach a variety of classes in silk painting and public speaking. My goal as an educator is to empower both artists and non-artists to become independent creators. I teach basic techniques combined with vocabulary and examples of the techniques. With this foundation, students have the confidence to move on and explore their own vision and personal style.
Approach to Silk Art
“Every time I apply the brush to silk my heart skips a beat.”
Painting on silk offers a palette of endless possibilities.
In 1977, I founded Ivy Imports, importing silk painting products from France, thus helping to launch and popularize the art form in America.
My involvement in the art world, silk painting in particular, is of long standing. With Jan Janas, I co-founded SPIN (Silk Painters International), a non-profit organization, in order to promote this art form. I am heavily involved in teaching the art of painting on silk. Please note that I teach in English as well as French.
I have taught and demonstrated painting on silk extensively in a variety of venues: trade shows, conventions, in my studio, hands-on demonstrations, children's programs and also held art exhibitions.
Inspiration lurks in everyday shapes and abstractions so my approach remains eclectic. Visual ideas spring from experimentation with composition and the manipulation of motifs through the layering of diverse silk fabrics. The hallmark of my silk work spells "Textures and Color." To see this art form is to appreciate it.
Images in the Moment - An Approach to Photography
Striving to push the limitations of photography, I query: How to reconcile a still image with my striving for drama? How to pursue a fleeting image, a mood, a look? And what about the unusual, the odd, the quirky?
My subjects lurk and wait everywhere and they can be: things breathing and living; people, inanimate objects. Florals, water plants, trees and rocks figure very prominently in my work because they reflect my long held passion for nature, for textures, for colors.
In my travels to 27 countries and over most of the United States, I have found a plethora of exotic plants, settings, environments that disorient and yet breathe the everyday. People: a special angle, a tilt of the head, an unusual pose. Each may spell my call to action. Shapes and abstractions may at first blush appear more static. But they live in light and shadows, in volume and textures.
My approach is usually eclectic, I often try to catch the instant and bemoan a lost opportunity. I enjoy experimenting with composition. I try to manipulate motifs; I re-shoot repeatedly, reworking images with shifts and growth, with changes in mood and light.
With photography I seek to connect and to share, to prod and to explore. I invite the viewer to take a second look and share a stretch of the road.
I teach public speaking basic skills. I enjoy sharing this knowledge on a volunteer basis, when needed. I consider this to be a lifelong skill which leads to self-confidence. This awareness makes it practical in everyday life and improves communication skills. Professionally, a good presentation is of the utmost importance for advancement and the ability to present ideas in a clear concise way.
An Interview with Diane