Paintings by Dianne Mize

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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Wish for Peace

No painting this week, rather a wish for peace and joy to all people everywhere.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Capella

"A Capella"   16" x 12"   Oil on Canvas

$200  Click HERE to buy

The point of view is pretty much the same as "Winter's Birth," located just to the left of "Winter Morning on the Tallulah."  This section of the Tallulah has always been my favorite.  Here the river is quiet and serene as it takes a u-turn towards another direction.  And this tree double tree stops me every time I go to the river.  Perhaps I'm caught by its duality:  two distinct trunks growing from the same root system, singing trio with the river, A Capella.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Slight Delay

This week's painting will be a day late.  That's how it goes during the Christmas season.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Winter Morning on Tallulah Road

"Winter Morning on Tallulah Road"     16" x 12"   Oil on Canvas

Recently I said to a friend, "I'm actually looking forward to winter."  He did a double take.  And I won't stake my life on that attitude lasting until springtime, but the colors I'm seeing in the winter grays are capturing my attention.  Winter as a metaphor suggests cold, gray and scant of life, but this winter I'm seeing a new beginning.  There is an openness that makes the stars visible at night, that lets me see the deer grazing in the deepest parts of my woods--things that are hidden when summer's foliage is in play.

This week's painting is a section of the Tallulah road from a photo shoot I did last January. It was early in the morning at a time when clouds were taking turns diffusing the sunlight.  Shadows across the road were alternating between disappearing and appearing again.  At times when they were clearly defined, the greens of the mountain laurel and rhododendron sparkled and the grays in the woods reflected subtle reds, purples and blues.

And it was so cold ice cycles were hanging from rocks in areas blocked from the sunlight.  But I was so intent on capturing what the light was doing to those grays, I didn't notice my freezing fingers until I was back in the car.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Winter's Birth

"Winter's Birth"    8" x 10"   Oil on Board
For the first time in ages, I am excited about the grays of winter.  From the time the sun comes up until it sets in the evening, the colors I'm seeing in my leaf-bare woods are nothing short of exhilarating.

This little painting is taken from one of my favorite spots on the Tallulah River where the river takes an S-curve, almost as if it's circling back.  It's one of the few places where the waters are quiet.  At this time of year all the summer's foliage has gone, leaving only scant spots of green from the pines, firs, laurel and rhododendrun.  This absence of greens allows the colors among the grays to become the stars.  Looking more closely and without prejudice, you can see purples, blues, yellows, oranges, reds and yes, greens.

Think about it.  We have a communal notion that grays are drab and depressing.  But isn't that a prejudice that prevents us from seeing all the colors inherent in those grays?  It all makes me wonder how much I have deprived myself from experiencing just because I approached things from an opinion rather than an open mind.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Morning Impression

"Morning Impression"  5" x 7"    Oil on board

I rarely do really small paintings, but this week I decided it might be fun to make some small studies.  The problem with painting really small is capturing enough to make the painting work while not over-crowding it.

I remember nearly thirty years ago, I was commissioned to do a 3 x 6 foot mural.  I submitted to the client three miniature watercolor studies, each one-twelfth of that size, each a different point of view.  My plan was to take the mural from the study they chose, but to my shock when I began to lay out the composition, I discovered it would not work:  it fell apart when enlarged  to twelve times its size.

I learned an important lesson with that project:  make sure the composition will work regardless of the size.

This little painting is from an early morning visit to York Falls during early summer.  The light was flooding through the trees filtered by a light mist in the distance.  It was a brief impression, and then it was gone.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

She Keeps On Going

"She Keeps On Going"    12" x 16"   Oil on Canvas
After I get a painting set up and during the time I'm getting the canvas covered with paint, I usually have music going in the background, but while this one was being developed, I happened to have the TV on, listening to Charley Rose interviewing folks who have been covering the Occupy Wall Street movement.

I have worried a lot lately about how attitudes towards this movement get formed according to which network a person is watching, about how our country is influenced by bias more than by fact.  But then my attention turned away from all this and back to the river and, taking a deep breath, it occurred to me that the river keeps on going regardless.  I continue to go back to the river because it retains its own truth, uninfluenced by all the noise of politics.

I'm making this painting available for auction.  You can bid on it by going HERE.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Tallulah Rush"

"Tallulah Rush"     12" x 16 "   Oil on Canvas
Available on Daily PaintWorks
One reason I keep going back to the Tallulah is I am never able to take all in.   In some areas it is so quiet you can barely hear the flow and many trickles of the water.  In other places, the water rushes so fast that the sound of its roar is almost deafening.  And the light changes from one minute to the other, causing a deep shadow to almost instantly become a pool of light .  It's like a perpetual slide show so encompassing that it's easy to go into an hypnotic state, awestruck as images pass in front of your eyes.

For fun, I set this painting up with converging lines, a principle I discuss in this week's Compose tutorial where the vanishing point appears outside the painting.  By using this, I was able to give order to an otherwise chaotic scene.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Both Strong and Delicate

"Tallulah Bouders, Today"    12" x 16"   Oil on Canvas
$210  BUY
Click on image for larger view

It is those huge boulders on the Tallulah that caught my attention this week.

I have never visited the Tallulah River without being keenly reminded of how deeply we humans are connected to the earth.  I wonder why in the world  anybody would object to protecting our planet.  Here are huge boulders untouched by human's tendency to harvest for their own profit and flowing through them are waters replete with life.  It is one of the few areas in our mountains that is surviving the deluge of human activity.

As as a sidebar:  With this week's post, I'm introducing my new association with Daily PaintWorks, an on-line sales gallery and auction website owned and managed by David Marine, husband of artist Carol Marine.  I'm excited about this new opportunity to make my work available for sale on a website with such a high degree of integrity.

Very soon, I will be presenting a pre-Christmas auction of small works.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tallulah Reflections and a Triad

"Tallulah Reflections"    10" x 14"   Oil on Canvas
Click on image for larger view.

 I decided to set up a challenge for this little painting:  to use no more than three colors plus white, no matter what.  I chose the following three colors.

It's been a while since I've done a painting using a limited palette.

For days I'd been stewing over this scene from the Tallulah River.  It was about mid-afternoon, but the sun was falling behind the mountains making it feel much later.  I was struck by all the warm and cool colors reflecting on the water's surface and as it always happens later in the day, the light was changing by the minute as were the colors.  I'd been stewing because those colors had me guessing what in the world was I seeing.  It was a good time to start subtracting from all the colors available and ask myself what was I REALLY seeing.

Greens, blues, golds, deep brownish reds, pinks and purples, so without much thought I decided on a triad of primaries:  a red, a yellow and a blue.  Sometimes the solution to clearing the clutter can be found in going back to the most simple thing you know.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Wildcat Creek: A Sketch

A quick oil sketch of Wildcat Creek     8" x 10"    Oil on board
I am reading Frederick Franc's wonderful little book Zen Seeing, Zen Drawing.

And so this week rather than working on a single painting, I've been doing quick oil sketches focusing on opposing movements of the water and varying colors I see reflecting within an overall neutral environment.  Just that and nothing else.  I selected one of these to share in this week's post.

To study for the sake of study--to break away from old routines and stand bare in the presence of nature-- is to coalesce all the years of living and learning into an uncensored response.  What strikes me as revealing this week is how much more fun it is to play with pure childlike curiosity, giving myself permission to ignore any intellectual interference.  

Enjoy your Sunday.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Waters Rush, Rocks Stand Firm

"Waters Rush, Rocks Stand Firm"    18"x 14"   Oil on Canvas
Click on image for larger view

Although not where it ended, here's the scene where this painting began.

I was thinking about those multitudes of huge boulders along the Tallulah and wondering how far back in time they reach.  And about how torrents of water rush between them and at times, over them.  Barrels and barrels of water rushing and tumbling, crashing and splashing, then quietly pooling, still enough to collect foliage greens, tree bark grays and sky blues before crashing and bursting under sunlight into zillions of stark white bubbles, creating a sound so deafening you can't hear your own voice.  

All day long my brush was pushing paint with my eyes focused on those boulders while all along  it was the water I was hearing.  Then after the end of that long day of virtually non-stop painting,  I scraped down the canvas, turned it vertically, and started over.   It was the water that wanted my attention this time.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

An Enlightening Visit to York Falls

"York Revisited"    16 x 20   Oil on Canvas

This was supposed to be the painting of the century and that's the problem.

I sat at my computer for an hour last night trying to decide what to say about York Falls, the subject of this week's painting.  It's a lovely little falls, it's tucked between two ridges where sunlight has trouble finding it at certain times of the day, it's edges are clean and easy to maneuver thanks to the community of folks that give it constant attention.  So there's a lot that can be said about the little falls, but nothing seemed to click.

It didn't click because the painting didn't click.  It's an okay painting, but doesn't sing to me.  And the reason is that my attention to the falls was mediocre.  I got too interested in making it a superb painting, neglecting to delve into the falls and respond to the obscure little mysteries.  A painting can't sing if it comes from the wrong intention within the artist.

But there's an important lesson here that I hope I can remember:  when you try to make a good painting, when that becomes the purpose of the painting,  it can't be more than mediocre simply because it is being done for the audience, not the artist.  And who needs another good painting?  There are thousands of them being made every day!

What we need is for those of us who are artists to keep our intentions on our responses to the subject.  Otherwise, there cannot be an expression of our unique selves.  It's only when we really search out those things that brought us to the subject that we find what is unique to ourselves and only then can we express our own truth.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Back To the Tallulah

"Tallulah, Late September"      16" x 20"    Oil on Canvas
$230   SOLD
Here's the second in my new series of paintings, "In Praise of Mountain Streams."  My subject here is a small section of the Tallulah River, one of the few areas in our mountains that hasn't been invaded by real estate developers.  This river is the one place where Howard and I would go when we needed to recharge our creative muses--miles of roaring waters and huge boulders along side a narrow dirt road.

But it's not nostalgia that bring me back here, rather a trust that this is one place where nature is still in charge.  I need to know that.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mountain Waters Revisited

York Study      8" x 10"    Oil on Board
The Georgia mountain streams played a large role in my making these hills my home.  Nothing soothes my soul more than soaking in the sounds and smells of a mountain stream whether a tiny trickle or a roaring river and here we have multitudes of both.  The irony of our mountain waters is in the neutrality to human welfare:  they can be the source of life or death, of health or injury, destruction or creation.

Sometimes how they effect our lives depends upon how we approach these waters; at other times, the forces of nature make their own determination.  

Once again this powerful metaphor has caught my attention and is becoming the theme for another spate of paintings.  This small study is the first in this series.

Enjoy this day.  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

A Look Back

"A Look Back"    8" x 10"    Oil on Canvas

From my earliest memory, the metaphor of the sheep has been embedded in my brain.  There's no escaping a metaphor that reaches that far back.  There's no redefining it or rationalizing it:  it continues to live in one's psyche in its original form.  

Perhaps it was the unconscious influence of that metaphor that deepened my experience visiting a local sheep farm back April.  Even though I went to watch the shearing, that's not what made the deepest impression on me.  What impressed me was how after the shearing, each sheep made its way back to the pasture without any supervision.  And second to that, the flock's need to identify the newly sheared sheep before becoming comfortable with its re-entering their company.

The first image catching my attention was one of these sheep.  As I was shooting pictures of his returning to the pasture, he turns his head and looks at me.  That's the image that stuck with me.  That's the image that made the deepest impression, that became a new version of an old metaphor.

During the longest summer I remember, I have kept a brush moving by doing therapy paintings, many little paintings I have no intention of signing or showing.  This little piece is the transition between those therapy paintings and getting back to the painting process.  It's a metaphor all unto itself.

Enjoy your day.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sheep or Baseball

Easing back toward getting my paws ready for functioning at the easel, I've been doing a few gesture drawings in my sketchbook.  Two things getting my attention these days are the sheep shearing I watched in the early spring and baseball.  (If you've not already seen it, you can get a glimpse into the sheep adventure HERE.)

And baseball is one of the few competitive sports I enjoy.  Being a Braves fan, I follow their games religiously.  I decided to try gesture drawing the players while watching the game to discover what a challenge that turned out to be.  The cameras switch from one view to another in a matter of seconds, making it virtually impossible to capture more than a few squiggles at a time, but after my first session I was surprised at how much a few squiggles can reveal about what is going on.

 I have no idea whether these images will later get translated into paintings, nor does it matter.  What matters is that, at last, my hand is able to take a step towards getting back to painting.

Enjoy your Saturday.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Paws Update

By mid-summer, I should be able to paint again, and I can't wait!

Dr. Raab repaired my right hand on April 21.  The surgery was totally successful and recovery is coming along beautifully.  I confess that the left hand has suffered a bit of trauma, having to take full duty for both before it was quite strong enough, but it too is regaining momentum.  The most difficult part of this five-month ordeal is holding onto patience.  Experiences like this can teach us a lot about ourselves.

Fortunately, I have been able to continue with my Compose blog, missing only one weekend post.  But I look forward to once again putting brush to canvas and continuing this artistic journey.  Meanwhile, Spring abounds.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Paws (pun intended)

I'm a bit inhibited about broadcasting physical slow-downs, but considering this is after all a blog, and taking into consideration that this blog is growing cobwebs, you should probably know that my paws aren't working well these days, so my painting is slow at best and on hold at worst.  For a bit more than a year, I've been fighting carpal tunnel syndrome, a common but limiting and irritating condition, and it's in both hands.

During the past several months, my doctor and I have done every therapy and non-intrusive method we could find, but the injury to both hands is substantial, so once considerable nerve damage was confirmed by a neurologist, my hand surgeon concluded that surgical repair to both hands is absolutely necessary.  (A side note here:  I have the best hand surgeon anywhere, hands down--Dr. Michael Raab.)

As many of you know, the left hand was repaired mid-February.  It is healing nicely, responding well to physical therapy and should be in good shape in a few weeks.  Meanwhile, with the right hand having to take double duty, its condition has degenerated.  So, providing the lefty is able to take over, the right hand will be repaired mid-April, mid-May at the latest.

I'm looking forward to getting both these paws going again and re-energizing my painting life and this blog.  Do stay tuned.

Meanwhile, enjoy your Spring!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Paying Attention

Do you ever wonder why it is that you pay attention to some things and ignore others?

I notice I'm drawn to windows, that I'm proned to unconsciously walking to a window and staring at the world outside it.  And during our recent snows, I spent hours watching the squirrels and birds as they scurried to find a morsel.  And almost obscessively I took pictures.  Every formation, every gesture was intriguing. 

I remember from my childhood, my grandmother who we called Mama Cole, used the phrase "make haste" whenever she wanted one of us to get something done in a hurry.  Never "hurry", always "make haste."  It seemed to me as I noticed the speed with which the squirrels were searching for and relishing each sunflower seed, an inner voice was telling them:  make haste.  Was that why I couldn't stop watching?

And so what does an artist do but paint whatever she is paying attention to.  Here's my interpretation of watching those squirrels.
"Making Haste"    Oil on Canvas  16" x 20"
Enjoy your Tuesday.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

One More Winter Day

I wish I had kept a step-by-step record of this painting.  It began as three birds searching for seeds in the snow.  At the end of the first session, the other two birds had to go:  their presence made the painting seem trite, but taking them away left the remaining bird sitting almost in the middle of the painting.  In fact, the right edge of the bird splits the composition in half--sorta. 

Yet I liked how I'd done the bird, so I set out to find a way to make the composition work by guiding the viewer's eye by using accents of warm light within areas of cool.
We use isolation to bring attention to a subject or to lead the eye to a place we want it to go.  The bird image in this painting is about as isolated as you can get:  its size, its contrast, its gesture all give emphasis to the isolation and by doing so, make the eye cling to the image itself.  I needed to make the eye roam around so that the viewer could register the cold of the snow and the subtle colors in it even though we call it white.

For two days the bird's surroundings morphed.  What began as a snow-covered field became woods in the background that went through many adjustments and deletes until finally there was nothing left to do and that's how you know when a painting is finished.

In this picture, I photoshopped a frame around it to help isolate the painting itself.  This painting needs the frame to be complete.  So what does that tell me?   I'll answer that:  it tells me there's still so much to learn...

Enjoy your Saturday.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Why Not Celebrate

Yesterday, for the first time since just before Thanksgiving, I woke up ready to paint.  And just as I had done every day before Howard became ill, I got my coffee, went straight to the studio and touched brush to canvas.  It didn't make any difference what the subject would be, I just wanted to paint.  And so I opened my file of photos I shot from my kitchen window during our last snowstorm and found this male cardinal at the foot of the bird feeder.  
"Why Not Celebrate"    Oil on Canvas   11" x 14"
This morning listening to Krista Tippett's "On Being,"  I heard a quote but didn't catch its author:  "Wherever you go, there you are."  Today, with the title of this painting, I add this:  Why not celebrate.

Enjoy your Sunday.
(Later:  The "Wherever you go..." quote is from the title of a book by Jon Kabat-Zinn available from Amazon HERE)

Friday, January 28, 2011


Today is January 28, the date that my Howard took flight from this earth one year ago.  Folks around here have been watching me like a hawk, so let's put all fears and reluctancies to rest:

Today I am thinking how blessed I am to have been given nearly thirty years with such a brilliant, vibrant and loving human being, so my focus today is not on the parting; rather, the wholeness of being.  How many people on this earth can say that their chosen mate made them more of who they are!

Together, we defied the odds right and left.  We ignored the "common wisdom" of a culture that wagged its finger in our faces and we replaced the "common" with the uniqueness of living our own reality, being convinced that our reality is all we have, that if we humans fake our way through life by trying to be what is acceptable, by sculpting our attitudes and choices to fit into somebody else's idea of how it should be, we become less than who we are, we become small and unhappy.

Our applause was spontaneous.  We each became so certain of our inner selves that we could respond without checking to see if that response was acceptable, whether within our bond or with the outer world.  This inner certainty was our gift to each other, resulting from a mutual, abiding and unqualified love and acceptance one to the other.

And so on this day, the first anniversary of Howard's physical departure which we call death, I am grateful for the creation of this especial human, a most extraordinary being, whose was given the name Howard Gordon Hanson and I am filled with thankful appreciation to have shared that life.

Make this a special day.