|"Raindrops on Roses" watercolor by Diane Morgan|
Happy Friday my friends. It's time again for another Friday Feature. Today is the multi-talented artist Diane Morgan. She can do it all, oil, watercolor, photography and do it all very well. She has won major awards, been in the big magazines and today she's sharing with us how she's done it all.
How did you get your start? What’s your artist journey so far?
I've drawn and painted for as long as I can remember. My father was a talented artist, but he only painted as a hobby. As a child I remember seeing some of his wonderful drawings at my grandmother's house. Later, watching him paint influenced me to want to try. I started college as a language major, but switched to art my junior year. I decided to pursue what I loved rather than what I thought I should do. I majored in painting, but was offered a job in advertising before I graduated. I eventually owned my own advertising agency and loved my career. I never tried making a living as a fine artist until later in life. Wish I had tried it sooner!
Where were you born? I was born in Detroit. My family moved to the suburbs before I started school.
|"Rainy Day Roses" original watercolor by Diane Morgan|
If you could live anywhere where would you live? One weekend many years ago I spent the entire two days writing down my goals. One of them was move to California to enjoy warm sunshine year-round. Michigan is often cloudy and the winters are long. It wasn't long before just about everything I had written down came true. I think it's very important to write down your goals. I love where I live and never think of moving somewhere else to retire. This is exactly where I want to be. I don't plan to retire either!
What’s your favorite thing to paint and why? I envision a painting in almost everything I see. I want to paint everything. I suppose if I had to choose I would select a still life. I love taking a normal everyday object and getting people to take a closer look; view something in a different light. I like to add strong shadows, contrasts and often reflections....turn the ordinary into something more.
|"Just Glorious" original oil by Diane Morgan|
Could you talk about your painting techniques? My techniques are pretty traditional. My work is quite realistic so I spend a great deal of time on details. I first do a small thumbnail to determine the positioning and the values and use colored pencil to work out the color choices. Then, on 300# Arches cold press watercolor paper I do a very detailed drawing. The paint is then applied in many, many layers. I usually do the background first so if it's not successful I haven't spent a whole week on the main subject only to ruin it with a bad background wash. It helps me to do the background colors first as they can also influence color selections for the objects. I generally work from left to right, top to bottom so my hand does not rest on wet paint.
Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites?
I tend to stick with a few old-time favorites. Alizarin Crimson, Payne's Grey, Cobalt Blue, Sap Green, Lemon Yellow, Cadmium Yellow, and Cad Red. I love making my own blacks and grays with varying mixes of red/yellow/blue. There are so many wonderful new colors available. I'm trying to be more adventurous. I've recently added Lavender and Cobalt Turquoise to my palette. The Quinacridones are also fun, as are the new metallics.
|"Organized Chaos" original watercolor by Diane Morgan|
Do you have a favorite artist? Who has been your biggest inspiration?
My two favorite artists are Georgia O'Keeffe and Leonardo daVinci. Georgia's large florals were my biggest inspirations. Leonardo was a genius. He was so curious about everything.
What have been some of your crowning achievements?
Having a painting selected for the Blossom II Art of the Flower competition and traveling show. Winning an award in an National Watercolor Society exhibition. Getting a 10-page feature article in International Artist Magazine. Being selected as President of the Coachella Valley Watercolor Society. I've learned so much and have made so many wonderful friends there. I've gotten back so much more than I have given.
|"Surface Tension" original watercolor by Diane Morgan|
What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)
I'd like to be in several more galleries around the country. Signature status in NWS and/or AWS would be nice. Travel to France and Italy to paint. Teach more classes and maybe even workshops around the country...I love teaching. Spend more time with friends, especially getting together with my painting pals to paint.
|"Head on 57 Chevy" original watercolor by Diane Morgan|
What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
The most important thing is to paint, paint, paint. 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. It's also very important to network. No one will know about your work if you just stay home.
|"57 Chevy" original oil by Diane Morgan|
What is the best advice that you have received as an artist? My college professor told me to paint big. I think of that every time I pick up a brush. Even a 6" x8" canvas can have a big impact if the image is close-up. This advice really helped determine my style.
|"Red Rocket Caddy" original oil by Diane Morgan|
Chocolate or vanilla? Vanilla
Your dream vacation spot? Anywhere with an ocean and palm trees and a golf course.
Book or movie? Old movies from the 30's and 40's
Favorite author? Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Favorite movie? Gone with the Wind
Favorite dessert? Strawberry shortcake
Night owl or morning person? Night owl, but I'm trying to quit.