rss search

next page next page close

Anima, Anime

What makes an image live?

Is it the technique? The skill in rendering that an artist achieves after hundreds of hours, or days, or years, of practice?

Is it the gesture, or a happy accidental flourish, that evokes the movement or stillness of one’s model?

Or is it the sense that something of consciousness has been captured? The focus you imagine in the eyes, or the sense of liveliness, affect and attitude of the being captured, lives forever in an artistic interpretation.

Artists have always learned from each other, and study has always involved copying, or re-interpreting a past master’s art.

The sketches presented n this site live within that tradition, and take their inspiration for the anima and anime present in the original works of art.

The eyes of a lioness, or those of a multi-faceted woman, while in shadow, brim with  light and life.

— Diane


next page next page close

Studies & Homages

What is the modern definition of homage?

It is a “special honor or respect shown publicly.”

Yet the Middle English usage referred to a “ceremony by which a vassal declared himself to be his lord’s “man.”

While the stereotype of modern artists brings visions of wild, boundary-pushing bohemians to mind, it was preceded by the much longer tradition of apprenticing oneself to a master.

Hours upon months upon years were spent copying every detail of the master’s style to tame and refine raw talent into a highly refined set of painterly skills.

The goals were not only an artistic and not rebellious, they were  decidedly not ephemeral. Apprentice artists learned to be most distinctly practical.

Every apprentice’s artistic endeavors were  a means toward the end of earning one’s keep in the mater’s studio. If all went well, one day they would find patrons, earn commissions and raise themselves up beyond whatever lowly life was otherwise fated to confine them.

• • •

I am blessed in two ways.

First, I would never  even have a the chance to apprentice in the olden days— after all, I was born a girl.

Second, I actually began my art studies in modern public school at a very young age, decades before current budget crunches make that impossible.

My classmates and I were taught the fine tradition of sketching and painting studies— copies really— to learn how the masters did it.

Working away at these studies forever erased any false sense of superiority or puffed up confidence. We quickly discovered how difficult it was to breathe life into a gestural drawing, or make watercolor flow with ease and precision. Not for us the usual put-downs about modern art: “Anybody could do that, it doesn’t take talent to make abstract art.” We learned, as did those medieval apprentices, that artistic mastery is as much in what you leave out, as what you put into a work of art.

But I digress!

To this day, I see sketching studies as much needed practice to sharpen oft-neglected rendering skills.

I see the challenge of doing a formal “homage” as my thanks to those artists who forged a bright path ahead of me.

I highly recommend them both to any artist, master or apprentice, at any age.

• • •

The image below was my first block print… a technique my best friend’s artist father taught me that involved carving really stiff linoleum mounted on wood, then using a difficult to control gelatinous roller to hand apply ink onto the back, then transfer that onto thin unreceptive paper.

Hesitate, or get spastic, in any phase of this operation and it would  slide from art into bleeding fingers or glopped-ink mess.

I kinda love that this print shows the ill-effects of time on the  starchy paper and acid-laced cheap mat board I had available. It felt like I had been time-warped back to the ancient days and got my chance to be an apprentice!

Ahoy there!

BlueShip Block Print - the early days - Diane A. Curran ©

 


next page next page close

Cafe Conversations

What have you imagined when sitting at your local café?

Did you hear snippets of conversation that evoked sparkling plans for the night ahead? Intimations of Café Society?

Did you notice a hungry group hunched at the counter in a decades old diner, focused on java and pie, stealing quick moments in a too-short lunch hour and a hard’s day’s work?

Did you think about a recent conversation you had with a friend or lover, wishing you’d said the perfect thing, made a witty remark or some incisive rebuttal… and now editing the outcome in your mind?

Diane’s series “Café Conversations” floats images drawn from the many places we sit, and sip, and let sheer imagination fill in the words.

Cafe Conversations Exhibit Poster by Diane A. Curran


next page next page close

Cities in Transition

What do we see in our cities?

Too often, our opinions about a city are formed by sound-bites or video footage of the latest disaster’s saturation coverage in the mass media. Events we see only on TV often shock us, touching us deeply, weaving pain and fear into the distressed fabric of our daily lives.

Diane’s art weaves a different sort of tapestry, one that offers new and surprising symbols and perspectives. At a time when many of us are seeking to transcend tired mindsets or limited viewpoints, these paintings encourage us to use our knowledge of these cities to look beyond “ordinary reality”. Perhaps they will inspire a heightened awareness of the major transformation we now face at every level of existence in our world.

Modernizing the tradition of mystics, seers and oracles, Diane opens an ancient window to illuminate our understanding of community life, within or outside several of our vast and complex cities.

With “Cities in Transition” Diane records her brief journeys to 12 different U.S. cities, one a month for 12 months.

Triggered by her vision and visceral sense of the energetic challenges we all experienced in Los Angeles when the 1992 Riots occurred, she created her first artwork in what quickly compelled her to create a series. She recorded the visions that revealed themselves on 4-days visits to other cities, and finished where she began…discovering a new vision of Los Angeles 12 months later.

Several of these works of art scattered through this site. Enjoy!

CityofAngelsbyDianeACurran©-from her Cities in Transition Series

 


next page next page close

Illumine. Past Meditations

Can Illuminated Manuscripts serve the modern eye?

In the series Illuminé, Diane A. Curran explores the tradition of Illuminated Manuscripts, updating it for the world of digital art.

Stretching computerized fonts to evoke the exaggerated curves of ahnd-wrought lettering from centuries past, she plays with the alphabet to create,shadow, contracts of color, and graphic geometries of pattern.

“Truth” ( the post at left above) builds from a phrase sing with haunting notes by Grace Slick in the early days of The Jefferson Airplane. “Don’t You want Somebody to Love?”

“Word” (the composition pictured in this post) references the oft-quoted biblical phrase, “In the beginning was the Word…” and reminds us of how powerful a symbol that phrase remains.

Illuminated Manuscripts were more than beautifully decorated pages. They were meditations taken deep into our vision and our minds, challenging us, changing us.

 

Illuminé-Word-bydianeacurran


next page next page close
thumbnail Who am I? Who are We? zoom

Anima, Anime

What makes an image live?

article post

Studies & Homages

What is the modern definition of homage?

article post

Cafe Conversations

What have you imagined when sitting at your local café?

article post

Cities in Transition

What do we see in our cities?

article post

Illumine. Past Meditations

Can Illuminated Manuscripts serve the modern eye?

article post
thumbnail Who am I? Who are We? article post