FRIDAY ART CAT
I was delighted this fortnight to be able to feature another living cat artist – who allowed me to interview her via email.
I first admired Diane’s work in one of those beautiful hardback picture books on cat art that reside in bookshops, you know the type – seldom bought by cat owners themselves but a delight when received as a present! For me, Diane’s work expresses perfectly the beauty and personality of each cat without resorting to the now ubiquitous photo-realism.
I started by asking Diane how long she has been making art.
“Four decades – though it has taken many forms. I got very serious about painting in the last 10 or so years. I worked for a publisher of fine art while finishing a BA in Studio Art at California State University, Northridge. Upon graduation, I enjoyed many creative pursuits… I worked as an animator for video games and did freelance pottery design.”
For the last ten years Diane has been blogging and selling her paintings on the internet – please see the links below. She is currently inspired by the following long list of artists (which I am now going to look up !) Jeremy Lipking, Louise Fenne, Tina Heiska, David Riedel, Jim McVickers and Pramod Kurlekar. Her favourite Masters of the past include: John Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla, Mary Cassatt, Gustav Klimt, Luigi Lucioni and Fantin LaTour.
Diane prefers to use oil paint on wood panels. Her work features cats mostly, but floral still lifes are a great love. She also has a series pairing cats with butterflies, birds and the occasional goat !
There was one experience that made a huge impact on her: “Several years ago, one of our two cats died. I was heart broken. My husband missed her too. We decided to visit a local shelter. Just to look, mind you as Coco (current remaining cat) would never suffer another cat in the house.
At that point, I had a pretty good idea that all cats are individual little personalities. But seeing so many at the shelter brought that idea home in a way I hadn’t experienced before… Maybe it was my sadness mixed with my desire to help them, I don’t know but I became very inspired to paint them. I went to the shelter again with my camera for reference photos… and that started a painting streak that has lasted several years. Raising awareness to the plight of shelter cats is important to me. Trying to paint cats in all their enigmatic glory never fails to interest and inspire. They are sweet, snarky and all thing in between…not to mention outstanding companions.”
Diane owns, she says, one “spaztastic” cat (maybe the most painted cat in history).
He looks like a Russian Blue, though he’s not. Apparently, he’s very high strung and has a tendency to chew his hair. Diane moved recently and her cat stress-chewed a reverse mohawk down the length of his back. The Vet told her he was too old for the medicine that would normally remedy this. He’s getting used to the new place now… and much to her relief, his hair has grown back in!
I am an artist who makes work of animals and people.
Three cats live with me – Maine coon Orlando, Bengal Pandora and black moggy Rio.