Friday, March 28, 2014

Friday Feature: Diane Ziemski

Hi Everone,
"Tops and Bottoms" by Diane Ziemski
It's Friday again.  Today I bring you a very talented watercolor artist that I have had the privilege to get to know during my time here in Arkansas.  It has been great being in shows together.

To see more of Diane's work visit her website .

How did you get your start?  What’s your artist journey so far?
I have a degree in Home Ec, so in college took a lot of design courses, but never painted until I retired from education at age 52. I considered myself crafty but not artistic. I had moved from a small town in Arkansas to Little Rock, and had just met and married my husband Larry who was USArmy retired.  My sons were both in Medical school and it was then, upon my husband’s urging that I begin a new hobby.  Since I had done exhaustive needlework, I decided to paint and chose watercolors as my medium.  I began by getting books and learning how to paint. simple…..  well, not really, but I did and with inferior products and tools, but I painted for long periods of time each day.  I have taken as many workshops as I could since then, and have been fortunate to have been able to attend workshops with and to paint with many wonderful artists through the Mid-Southern Watercolor Society. I now consider myself a professional artist, and am included on the teaching artist rosters of both Celebrity and Cunard Cruise Lines. I was juried into several international exhibits, many regional exhibits, and have received my signature in the first watercolor society I joined .  

Where were you born?
I was born at Shepards AFB in Wichita Falls. Texas, but was raised in Arkansas.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?
Little Rock, Arkansas was my choice of places to live when I retired. I still like it here.
"Yellow Rose After Texas" by Diane Ziemski
What’s your favorite thing to paint and why?
Portraits in watercolor, because it is just such an intense feeling to see those faces appear on that white paper.  Flowers would be a close choice, because of the vibrant colors. But my husband still says I paint Baskin-robbins style, a different flavor each month……

Could you talk about your painting techniques?  
Since I am self taught, my techniques are probably not the best to encourage new artists,  but they work for me at the moment.  I mostly paint wet on dry, and with strong pigments, I only do washes when I am working on a portrait, and then do up to 12 layers or more, but on most paintings I try to get in and get out on the first time, I do paint by shapes, and sections at at time.  I love having very dark, bold, and bright strong colors. My favorite dark backgrounds are with a dark purple, dark turquoise and dark green all mingled.  I do not like to draw, so when I found out I can make a print of a photo and then use graphite to transfer the drawing to paper, I was elated.  I am a computer geek and so this process was just was I was looking for. I am a decent photographer and now that cameras are digital, I take literally thousands to use as subject matter.

"Jackson" with work in progress shots by Diane Ziemski

Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites? 
My go to colors are the entire Daniel Smith list of paints. No, I do not have them all, but I do have a lot of them, and this is my favorite brand of paint. I have a huge palette, no I have 4 or 5 palettes, which in most artists minds are too many colors, but that is what I learned with and continue to use. I have one palette for portraits, but always have the others nearby and open. The Rose painting that got accepted into Splash was using about 15 different yellows, BUT some of my all time favorites are hematite, indigo, Quin coral, and naples yellow.  

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration?
Cindy Agan for her portraits, Birgit O’Connor for florals
I have taken workshops with both of these ladies and am still in touch with them.
"Lady Bug" by Diane Ziemski
What have been some of your crowning achievements?
“SPLASH, 11 The best of Watercolor”
Watercolor USA
22nd Blues & Heritage Festival Poster from my hometown of Helena, AR
Texas & Neighbors Juried Exhibition
Mid-Southern Watercolorists Signature member
UAMS Rockefellar Cancer Center purchase
Portraits of my children and grandchildren

What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? Dream big here:)
Travel as much as my husband and I can
Have one of my duck paintings chosen as a Duck Stamp
Have a painting juried into the American Watercolor Society
Have a gallery owner come to me and ASK to represent me.

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career?
Practice, don’t give up, just practice more, and it is never too late to learn new things.

What is the best advice that you have received as an artist?
Paint what you see and feel. there is no right or wrong way, just your way.

"Secondary Jiggles" by Diane Ziemski

"Primary Jiggles" by Diane Ziemski


Chocolate or vanilla?  chocolate

Your dream vacation spot? Oregon coast

Book or movie? book

Favorite author? Anne Rice

Favorite movie? Gone with the Wind

Romance or comedy? Romance

Favorite dessert? Cheesecake

Night owl or morning person? morning


  1. Diane's work is outstanding, Carrie! Thank you for sharing such amazing work with us!!! Another Friday treat! and your last few posts are wonderful....

  2. You've always been an artist with one medium after the next, arriving 'home' with pigment and paper.