Friday, 1 June 2012

June's Artist of the Month Diane Morgan

I just want to say a huge Thank you to Diane for being our artist of the month. 

Hello members of BWS and readers of The Waterfront,

I'm thrilled to be part of this wonderful blog.  The work here is truly wonderful.

I started painting in oils, majoring in design at the University of Michigan.  About 20 years ago I took up watercolor to try something new with easier clean up. I took a watercolor class at a local community college.  I immediately was hooked.  The instructor suggested I enter one of my pieces in a show at the Palm Springs Art Museum.  My entry won a $100 award.  I thought....this is fun!  That was the beginning of my continued passion for watercolor and my enthusiasm for entering competitions. I think competitions give you a goal and an incentive to keep working.  Rewards are nice too :-} 

I paint almost everyday.  The only way to improve is to keep working. It has been suggested that if you want to learn to paint...go paint a hundred paintings.  One challenge I created for myself was to do a painting a day.  For six months I completed a small painting every day and sold them on eBay.  I quickly passed the 100 mark. This daily self-imposed assignment increased my productivity, improved my creativity and painting skills and opened up several opportunities for me that would not have happened.   I highly recommend the daily challenge.

My watercolors begin with very detailed pencil drawings. I prefer to work on Arches 300# cold press which is strong enough to hold a lot of water without buckling. My preferred paints are Windsor & Newton. I always spend a great deal of time mixing paint to make sure I have the right colors and enough paint to complete each area. If it’s a very large area I will store the paint in an airtight container for use later as needed.  For slight variations in shading I will mix on the palette as I go. I work on several pieces at a time, allowing time for washes to dry and to reflect on the next step toward completion.  

            I envision a painting in almost everything I see.  Adding drama and mystery through the use of powerful lighting effects, reflected surfaces, exaggerated contrasts and unusual compositions, I strive to transform simple everyday life into  un-ordinary, not-so-still life. I like to take an ordinary subject and enhance the perception of it, invite the viewer to take a closer look.  If you look closer, you may discover something new about yourself.

I love the freshness of watercolor. I love the challenge.  I love how the medium takes command. The artist starts the process, but the paint takes charge and leads the work to a sometimes unintended outcome.  It’s always exhilarating.

My work is currently featured in the June/July issue of International Artist magazine and will also be in Splash 13 which comes out in August.  You can read more about my style and technique there.

Thank you for inviting me to be a guest artist.  I look forward to hearing from all of you.



Tony Cook said...

Hi Diane: I have seen and admired your work previously - it is such an exciting use of the medium.

I have a rather mundane question about your experiences with selling on eBay. I assume you sold originals, as opposed to giclées.

How do you handle shipping (and packing) of paintings? Do you ship outside the U.S?

Diane Morgan said...

Thanks, Tony. I sell mostly small original oils 6" x 8" and 8" x 10." I did sell one large watercolor which I shipped unframed. Shipping is charged in addition to the painting price. I pack and ship myself. Shipping outside the US is tricky. I stay within the US. eBay is not as good as it used to be. I now use and a juried site

Rebecca said...

Wow, amazing work Diane! I love how you really capture the light in you artwork! Also, your colours are very vibrant and eye catching! I was wondering, do you paint from photos or just from what you see around you? Thanks for being our artist of the month,

Diane Morgan said...

Hi Rebecca. Creating strong light is one of my goals in my paintings. I like exaggerated contrasts and reflections. I mostly paint from photos. I take 1,000's of photos each year. Last year I shot 14,000 images! I love painting from life, feels more I make sure I do that once in awhile.

Anonymous said...

Thats a lot of photos Diane. Do you always carry a camera with you? Is there a favorite subject you like to photograph or paint? I love your rain drops


Diane Morgan said...

Yes, Jean. I always have a camera with me. I carry a little Coolpix that fits easily in my purse. I shoot anything that I think would make a good future painting...and that's usually just about anything:-} I'm particularly on the lookout for bees these days. I love shooting and painting them.

Anonymous said...

When you begin painting do you start with your subject or the background first? I was looking at your website and your car paintings are awesome. I wish I lived close enough to join BWS by the way. I'm in Ottawa but I love this blog. Dave

Diane Morgan said...

Hi Dave. I usually do the background first because I would hate to have spent hours on
the main subject and mess up the background. I find that the smooth, continuous washes used in a background are often the hardest part of a painting. I like to do them first to make sure they are okay. Thank you for the comment about the cars. I love doing them. I was born in Detroit, so I have motor oil in my veins

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your talent with us.I am blown away by the vibrancy of your colors and your unique perspective on things. Very inspiring! How did you achieve the "almost black" in your goldfish painting background? Petra

Anonymous said...

wow, I was born in the small town just outside Detroit... small world.

Love your paintings Diane


Diane Morgan said...

Hi Petra. For blacks I always mix some combo of red, blue and green. The darker the color desired the darker the shade of each color. For this I used Alizarin Crimson, Olive Green, a little Cobalt Blue and a dash of Payne's Grey. Like my grandmother's cooking recipes I never know exactly how much...just keep adding till I get what I want.

Diane Morgan said...

Yes, Sadie. It certainly is a small world and getting smaller every day thanks to the Internet. What town near Detroit?

Anonymous said...

Diane, I live in Warren MI. Can I just ask what colours you used to paint the fish? I can't get orange things to glow like you do. Is this because I use Cadmuim orange? I recently found out that it was an opaque colour. Will this make a difference?


Anonymous said...

sorry, in the last post that should have been lived not live. I live in Ontario now. Warren was much smaller than it is now when I lived there.


Diane Morgan said...

Sadie, I used cad orange also, but I mix lots of different colors together not just one orange. I used cad yellow and cad red and lemon yellow in many varying mixtures. I don't think the opacity has anything to do with it. Sometimes a little Opera Rose (made by Holbein) helps to make an orange pop, also.

Shirley Scoble said...

Diane, Thank you for sharing your stunning work with us. I love your unique way of presenting your
Any special tips on composition. Great luminosiy as well.
I will be following your work from now on!

Ona Kingdon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ona Kingdon said...

Thank you Diane for being our artist for June. I know all our members have really enjoyed looking at your work.


Diane Morgan said...

Thank YOU, Ona. It was a pleasure and an honor.

Diane Morgan said...

Thank you, Shirley. Compositionally I guess I mostly work by instinct, but I do think about not placing the main area of interest smack dab in the middle. I don't always follow that rule, but I think the overall look is much more interesting if you use the method of dividing the paper into nine squares and place the focal point at one of the four intersections of the lines.