Fusion Art is pleased to feature Palm Springs, CA based artist, Diane Morgan in its “A Day in the Life” series. In this series of Artist Showcases, the gallery reveals the “typical” day of many of its award-winning artists.
Diane is an award-winning contemporary realistic artist who works in oil and watercolor.
Below please find, in Diane’s own words, the answers to 12 questions about her, her art and her “typical” day as she gives us a glimpse into her artistic life.
How do you start your day?
My day actually starts the night before. I make a detailed list of everything I need to do the next day so I don’t forget anything important. Generally, the first two hours are spent answering emails and creating content to post on Facebook, Instagram, my website, etc as part of my marketing plan.
How many days a week do you work on your art?
I work on my art every day. If not actually painting, I’m taking photographs for future paintings or going through existing photos to get ideas. For the classes I teach, I spend a lot of time planning and selecting subject matter.
Do you have a home studio or do you go to an outside studio to work? Which do you prefer and why?
I paint at home occasionally, but I do have a studio at the Coachella Valley Art Center in Indio. I find going to the studio energizing. It gets me away from any distractions and I’m surrounded by my finished art on the walls, which motivates me to keep painting. I tend to get more accomplished when I go to the studio. It’s also great to connect with other serious working artists. We have about 14 artists with studios there and it’s a wonderful group for inspiration and motivation. We have shows and open houses, which are great for generating sales and promoting my classes. I miss going there during this COVID-19 lockdown. The center is pretty unused at the moment and probably safe to go there without running into anyone, but I feel safer at home and have gotten used to working there.
What kind of art do you create?
I work in both watercolor and oil. My paintings are quite realistic. I call it contemporary realism, as I like to go close up, bold and push the colors to the max. I’ve become known for my cars, my bee paintings and flowers with lots of water drops. Learning how to paint water drops is the number one request I get from students in my classes.
Walk us through you “Typical” day.
I don’t really have a typical day, but many typical activities that take up the week. Until March 14th when all classes were cancelled, I would work 3 days a week on class prep….coming up with ideas, drawing the demo subjects and organizing my supplies. I was teaching 5 classes a week, so that required a lot of prep. Every day I usually spend the first two hours answering emails and promoting my work. Last year I entered 24 competitions, so I spend some time each day finding the ones that will work for me and preparing my proposals for the entries. I will be doing a lot of that until classes can start again. I spend time most days going through my photos for subject matter for paintings. I always work from my own photos or from real life. Any painting for a competition must be the artist’s own original idea and concept. I usually go for a 40-minute walk each day with camera in hand, of course. I take thousands of photographs every year to use for future paintings.
What has been your biggest challenge so far?
This wasn’t a negative challenge, but a wonderful growth opportunity challenge. I submitted a proposal to the City of Palm Desert’s art-in-public-places program to create designs for traffic signal boxes. Much to my delight, my proposal was selected. Then the challenging part began. The boxes are large, and the weather was hot and windy. I usually work in oil, but this had to be acrylic, which was especially challenging. The paint was almost dry before I could even get it on the boxes. Physically it was my most challenging project but, also my most satisfying. People driving by waved, honked, and shouted “Thank You!” Many stopped by to say hello and ask about the project. One even presented me with a gift certificate for an hour-and-a-half massage. On the first day, I thought…how am I going to do this? You just put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. At the end of each day I went home exhausted and covered in paint, but feeling exhilarated by the accomplishment. We should always push ourselves to do more than we think possible. The outcome is so rewarding.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
I most enjoy not having to report to anyone and the freedom to create my own schedule. Doing what you love means that you never have to work a day in your life. It’s all fun when what you do is your passion.
What do you enjoy the least?
Paperwork is my least favorite task. Because I teach many classes a week I have to keep a detailed record of who is attending, which class, and their contact information. I also keep a record of what the subjects are for each class.
Do you have any mentors?
I don’t have mentors per se, but lots of art heroes. I particularly love Georgia O’Keeffe, and Leonardo da Vinci.
Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
I don’t find it lonely at all. I’m good at being by myself. I have so many things I want to paint that I’m never bored. There just aren’t enough hours in the day. The most rewarding thing for me is all the wonderful people I meet at shows and in my classes.
My students include, nurses, sculptors, teachers, doctors, pilots, a brain surgeon and even the prison warden for the Manson girls. I meet the most interesting people.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
My professor in college told me to paint big, and look up Georgia O’Keeffe. I’d say that advice has had a big influence on my style. I’m grateful for his wisdom and encouragement.
What inspires you?
I envision a painting in almost everything I see. Like a kid in a candy story. I want to paint it all. Taking an ordinary subject and enhancing it to invite the viewer to take a closer look is what fires me up. Adding drama and mystery with strong lighting, reflected surfaces, exaggerated contrasts and unusual compositions, I turn simple everyday life into un-ordinary, not-so-still life. 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.
Thank you, Diane, for sharing a peek into your life as an artist!
Below are 4 of Diane’s award winning pieces. To learn more about Diane and see more of her work please visit her website.
Fusion Art, LLC
Santa Fe, NM