Paintings by Dianne Mize

Click on image for larger view.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Thought for Life

This morning I received an email with contents that brought me to attention because it's what I needed to hear, to say to myself and to say out loud to the universe.  For respect of copyright, I won't publish the contents here; rather give you the link.

Go to .

And have a wonderful Friday.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Write About That, Too

Painting, like living, either takes a life of its own or stalls out, catching us staring into space wondering what's going on.

On the one hand, we continue in motion without thinking too much about what we're doing; on the other, we analyze the dickens out of every step to discover that we've analyzed the thing to death.  Artists with the most to show just keep moving and let the thing sort out itself.

These days I've not had much to show, hardly anything in fact.  So what am I doing?  Stalling?  Making false starts?  Thinking too much?

I wonder if Shakespeare were ever at a loss for words or if Chopin ever failed to find a tune or if Ansel Adams ever looked through the wrong end of his camera.

This, too, is a part of the journey.

 Enjoy your Thursday.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Working on my new painting of the moth, I keep thinking about the story of Icarus, the character in Greek mythology who, with wax-bound wings made by his father, got so excited about being able to fly that he forgot his father's warning not to fly too close to the sun, did so, causing the wax to melt, disassembling the wings and Icarus fell to his death in the sea.

What I keep thinking is that every time we take a new flight, there's always a risk of flying too close to the sun, but if we hold ourselves back for fear our wings will melt, we'll run a greater risk of missing out.

Have a good Wednesday,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Moth Studies

On the top is a photo I shot of a moth on a tree in our yard.  On the right are three exploratory studies of the moth.  The study on top is a gesture study; on bottom left, a quick value study and on the right a study of the darks, leaving lost edges where ever I could to allow light from the outside space into the moth's shape. (Click on drawing for larger view.)

What I'm trying to discover is the moth's essential gesture and light, two elements I want to capture and translate in the upcoming painting. 

Gesture and light are basic to any painting I do.  Of course, there's always the option of creating both out of whole cloth, but I prefer discovering each within the subject and giving my best shot towards translating what I discover.

Stay tuned, and enjoy your Tuesday.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What's To Like About Michael Parkes

Yesterday, I introduced you to Michael Parkes. (Go HERE to find his website.)

Michael is not an artist you'd normally find on the circuit of painting blogs; he's not a plein air artist nor does he have spiffy new ideas about how to do one thing or another.  Rather he's an artist that found his voice many years ago and just happened to find a following, not because he was catering to one school or another, nor that he was courting the New York critics or the painting contests (often self-appointed designators of today's best artists).  He was simply responding.

I discovered Micheal's work when our friend, Richard, happened upon his lithographs and began to collect them.  Richard was excited about Parkes' imagery and the techniques he used to translate those images into an accessible language.  Howard and I got enthusiastic about this artist because we recognized a thread from one work to another, a consistent theme and the telling a story about the journey this artist is taking.

When Richard's life was cut short by cancer, he left us four of his Michael Parkes books, each a collection of images of Michael's work, lithographs and paintings.  There's a wisdom reflected in these, a wisdom I can't ignor:  an artist who uses images that speak directly from his or her soul is an artist whose work is unquestionably art.

Have a happy Monday.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday's Special Treat

For year's I've been fascinated by the works of Michael Parkes.  Here's a little snippet of him talking about his work.

Have a fun Sunday.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Saturday's Favorite

I like Jim Gurney's blog, Gurney Journey.

Here an artist accomplished in skill, historically informed, successful author and one who's enthusiasm about his art stays--or appears so--at peak.  His blog posts vary over a broad range of subjects and his archives contain some of the most valuable information on the internet.

Check him out.
And have a fun Saturday.

Friday, July 23, 2010

As In Another Language

It's an exhilarating thing to think about how we translate what we see as in another language. Each artist speaks with a unique voice, a unique history of experiences, a unique genetic make-up, all translated through a chosen medium into a presentation.  Then the language gets perceived by an audience of individuals, each with unique experiences and genetic stuff and what comes of it all is response.

The artist becomes a sort of filter through which images and ideas pass as they are being translated into a work.  So if each artist is responding uniquely, how can a painting be a cliché?

Have a happy Friday.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Keeping Confidence

When I get wobbly toward a subject begging to be included in a painting, my best bet is to spend some time with it, to get familiar with it.  Since the horse stumped me (described in the previous post) I've begun some quick studies from some photos I took that day. 

Here's a sample:

These are my notes to myself.  They are not meant to be seen, certainly not displayed; rather, they are a way to inform my hand about what my eye is seeing, to search out the spirit of the subject, to gain a familiarity with it.  That way I don't approach the subject half-cocked, and risk getting doubtful about what I'm doing.

It's all about paying attention.

Have a terrific Thursday,

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Get ready for it:  I'll be quoting Howard a lot.

One of the things we used to talk about was how when we start doubting ourselves we inevitably do more harm than good.  And then we'll find ourselves on a downhill roll, things will multiply into a giant storm if we don't put the brakes on and regroup.

The key is to catch it and label it before it grows out of control.

That happened recently when, a few weeks ago, I was doing a demo painting at the InsideOut Sautee Art Gallery.  It was a landscape painting, subject out the back window of the gallery.  All went well until, towards the end of the painting, some horses appeared in a distant pasture.   Well, of course, they had to be part of the scene, but as the first brushstroke went down, I began to feel unsure that it would look like a horse.  Instead of taking an analytical look--something I can do confidently--I charged ahead and created a deer, then a goat, then a cow, but never a horse.

And THAT'S when I started getting tired.  Not just tired, but totally wilted.  And not until I got home with the thing did it hit me squarely in the face:  for a brief moment, I had lost confidence.  Truth is it's been years since I've studied a horse, but doubting my hand to follow what my eye was seeing was at the heart of of the problem.

We live out these little metaphors daily. When we pay attention to them we can save ourselves a bundle of agony.

Have a fine Wednesday.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


In writing and in talking, Howard often used the word "quiddity."  For years I have used the word "essence" in the same spirit, but I'm beginning to prefer "quiddity" because the word encompasses the intrinsic, inherent and fundamental nature of its referent.

There is the quiddity of the subject and the quiddity of the artist.  The marriage of the two make the art work.  And that includes a lot of stuff going on.

I spend hours sitting on my deck, surrounded by our woods.  When it's not overcast in the mornings and late afternoons, I witness the most incredible light show as the sun bathes and dances over tree trunks, earth and foliage.  And no matter how many times I attend this production, it always leaves me in a sense of awe.  Sometimes I zoom in on a piece of it and draw.


Have a lovely Tuesday.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Think about it: a score of a Chopin etude, although written for piano, can be read and played by anybody who reads music, anybody in the world no matter what language they speak, and on any musical instrument, including the harmonica.  It makes no difference that Chopin wrote the piece two hundred years ago or that he was Polish or that he was George Sand's lover or that he was Caucasian.  And when the piece is played, it doesn't matter whether the musician is tall or short, Japanese or Mexican, gay or straight, astronaut or farmer, nine years old or eighty, pauper or billionaire.

What matters is that the instrument has the available notes and that the musician has the skills to play it, and though it doesn't hurt that somebody is listening, an audience is not necessary for the piece to be played.   In fact, without an audience, the musician is free to explore the piece, even to distort it or play it backwards or elaborate or it improvise around it or play it as jazz or the blues or a polka or change its key, its modality, its cadence.

And if the musician chooses to allow an audience hear any of his variation on Chopin's intent, the universality of the etude has not changed at all.  What has changed is its accessibility.

Enjoy your Monday.

Friday, July 16, 2010


Welcome to my journey, one that finds me in the sixth decade of my life having already encompassed a career in teaching, thousands of paintings and a myriad of experiences too rich to describe.  If you have been a follower of my Composing or of my Bagatelles and Meanderings blogs, you've already followed a phase of my journey.  Now, I want blogging to take a new direction, one that more holistically reflects my reality, one where I share with you, in addition to each new painting, experiences and ideas that accompany those works.

There are no parameters except where I draw the line in my private life. I have no idea how this blog will emerge, nor the direction my painting will take.  All I intend is to share with you this journey forward in hopes that something within my journey might touch a chord in ours.

I welcome comments, whatever you want to say.  And I welcome silence realizing that much of the time, you won't have anything to reply.  So onward we go.  Let this phase of my journey begin.