Paintings by Dianne Mize

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Saturday, November 24, 2012

Just Before Sundown

"Just Before Sundown"   15 x 21  Pastels on Paper   $400
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This is the third painting in my series from a recent canoe trip on the Tugalo River.  Heading down river about an hour before sundown, the light was golden, illuminating centuries-old earth striations and exposed roots from several decades ago when trees were cleared to accompany the construction of Lake Hartwell.

These images stick with me today as fresh as when I was experiencing them.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Once A King

"Once A King"  15" x 18"   Pastels on Paper
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Until two weeks ago I strongly disliked painting with pastels.  Over the years I have taught its techniques to my students, but have not given it the time of day as a medium I could relate to.  I have complained about how I dislike the way my fingers feel when touching it even though I enjoy looking at a well crafted pastels painting, I've made a declaration "not for me."   Well.  That all changed and without any warning.

Not long ago, I was taken on a delightful canoe trip up the Tugalo River.  Lake Hartwell into which the Tugalo flows and from which it takes most of its waters had been drawn down since spring to several feet below the rivers' banks, leaving a desert of  lake bed and consequent desertion of boaters and their lake folk, but the river remains a haven for canoe lovers.  As we rowed up the river, bare bones of old stumps raising their heads to light, cast breathtaking reflections on the waters.   These images along with the old piers of a once covered bridge caught my attention.

I assumed watercolor was the ideal medium for communicating my impressions, but watercolor wouldn't work.  It was as if the images were demanding I reach inside myself for something else.  Oil wouldn't work either, so reluctantly, I dug out the pastels and the images began to flow into place, surprising me and all those who know me and the disdain I've spouted forth about the medium all these years.

"Once A King" is the second painting in this series.  And I am a reborn painter, now adding pastels to the painting mediums I love.  Imagine that.

Saturday, October 27, 2012


"Majesty"    "12 x "14"   Pastels on Paper"
The subject for this little painting sits in the Tugalo River, once one of a triumvirate of piers holding a covered bridge whose history reaches back into the mid 1800's.  The stones were cut from a quarry nearby.  But this painting is not so much about the bridge or even this single pier as it is about the stalwarts we humans abandon, especially in this new world of modernization.  It is easier to ditch an old thing than to shore it up and keep it going.  We place more value on the market than we do on the seeds that provided the produce.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Thoughts of Lothlorien

"Thoughts of Lothlorien"   20" x 16"
 Oil on Canvas
$480     PURCHASE

This painting began because I was drawn to a bright blast of light radiating from a tree on the edge of the riverbank.  As the painting progressed, the images Tolkein paints with words describing Lothlorien kept floating in and out of my awareness.

One problem in painting is finding the right balance between showing the brightness of light without blinding the viewer and making it bright enough in the right places to convey the experince of it.  It's very much like getting the right volume with music without blowing out everybody's eardrums, or for a poem, choosing words strong enough without screaming.  It's this balancing act, among other challenges, that keeps me fascinated with art.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Golden Light

"Golden Light"    12" x 16"   Oil on Canvas$
$400    PURCHASE

I began this painting while reading the section of Tolkein's Fellowship of the Ring where Tom Bombidil appears.  Tom stole my heart the first time I read the Tolkein trilogy:  his oneness with nature, his wisdom, his wholeness of heart and his perpetual singing.  When I did the first drawing for the painting, I wrote "Tom Bombidil's song" underneath the drawing.  To make the title more inclusive, I called the painting "Golden Light" because this interpretation of the Tallulah river feels to me like the Withywindle close to Tom's house where he found his wife, Goldberry.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A Place To Sing

"A Place To Sing"   14" x 18"   Oil on Canvas
$400     PURCHASE
After just having finished The Hobbit, I am reading again Tolkein's Trilogy, Lord of the Rings. One thing that endears me to the hobbits, dwarves and elves is their love for singing.  Even when not singing, the hobbits will often hum to themselves, especially late in the evening on their way back from a stroll.

This new painting is about music as much as it is about anything else.  The scene is a tiny piece of my beloved Tallulah River, but on that day I was sharing this place with very special friends who are themselves musicians as well as kindred spirits.  We--not unlike the hobbits traveling away from their familiar homes to unfamiliar lands, feeling a bit vulnerable, but determined to make their journey--can always find a place to sing.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Tallulah's Early Spring

"Tallulah's Early Spring"   16" x 20"    $400    Purchase

So where is our focus when we're painting?

I am convinced that it is the peripheral thoughts that give the painting its spirit.  Whatever pulled us to the subject in the first place will guide us throughout the painting if we don't allow our minds to wonder away.

What led me to do this painting was the feeling of renewal I experienced standing on the edge of the upper Tallulah River in the spring, at just the time when the foliage was getting ready to burst forth.  Light on the water was dazzling and the water's sound was unusually musical.  The fact that it spoke to me was all I needed.

Modern colleges and universities focus on the conceptual, concerned more about their students belonging to the modern age of expression where it is more important to reflect a culture than it is to listen to one's inner voice.   What worries me about that is how many students swallow that philosophy rather than question its validity, thus shutting out their own uniqueness.  One's inner voice should never be muted, but rather should be provided with skills, techniques and knowledge to enable it to speak clearly.

I yearn for the day when a thousand university art students can stand on the edge of a riverbank and paint what it speaks to them.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Another Iris Study

"Another Iris Study"   7" x 5"   Oil
I caught my one blooming iris in sunlight, so just had to do another study of it.
    Of all the flowers nature gives us, the iris is one that since childhood has continued to capture my attention.  So even though most of the yard is in shade, it's the one flowering plant I get excited about during the spring months.  This one ended up producing three flowers even though it was the only plant that bloomed this year.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Iris Study

"Iris Study:    5" x 7"   Oil on Canvas Panel

I have a fairly large bed of bearded irises, but this spring only one bloomed.  I caught this view of it late in the afternoon just as the sun was setting.  It's amazing how much light is left at dusk.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Forty-one Strokes Project: Money Plant Study 1

"Money Plant Study, 1"    5" x 7"   Oil on Canvas

I've been in a creative drought for several weeks now.  I've lost count of how many sub-par paintings have gone in the trash.  Finally, the spring flowers started to bloom.  My backyard is filled with money plants and hostas.   While the hostas' foliage is filling out, the money plants are flooding the ground with their varying hues of purple.  The azalas are in full bloom, my one lady slipper has appeared again and out of dozens of bearded irises, one has blossomed.  In the woods, the dogwoods bloomed weeks early and already gone.

With all this life bursting out around me, I could not break the drought, not until I decided to challenge myself.  I decided to lay out several 5" x 7" formats on unstretched canvas and attempt to capture some studies limiting myself to forty-one strokes.

Today's post is the first of these.  I set up for myself a set of rules:  (1)  A stroke is the duration from when the brush touches the canvas until it lifts, (2) There is no time limit between strokes, (3) Preparation time--i.e. drawing, notan studies and toning--does not count as strokes and there is no time limit to that, either.

Doing this challenge seems to have broken the drought.  As I continue to complete these studies, I will post them and make them available on my Daily Paintworks auction.  And I give myself permission to trash any that don't please me.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Survivors: My Neighbor's Pines

"The Survivors"      12" x 16"      Oil on Canvas

This little painting--white pines in my neighbor's yard--began as a demo showing how to discern value differences in shadowed images. It was a gloomy day, mostly gray giving me a subject ideal for the lesson I was teaching.  Rarely do I finish a demonstration, but this one kept calling me to make it into a painting.

I have always respected this little stand of trees.   Several years ago, they were doomed to one of those blights that was attacking white pines.  The tree experts advised my neighbor to chopped them down, but he refused.  Instead, he nursed them back to health.  These days, they are as lovely on a gloomy day on a bright one.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Morning Dawning on the Tallulah

"Morning Dawning on the Tallulah"    16" x 12"    Oil on Canvas
$200  BUY NOW
Mornings are getting my attention lately.  This painting is another winter's morning along the Tallulah River.  I've painted this area of the Tallulah many times, each with a different spirit than the others.

Some of the most magical times I've experienced here have been during the early morning hours, whether because of the light or the season or after a rain or just the quietude that allows our souls to be still.  And when you think about it, mornings are among our strongest metaphors.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Another Early Morning Light

"Another Early Morning Light"   16" x 20"   Oil on Canvas
Last week as I was pouring my first cup of coffee, I looked out my kitchen window and saw this.  Rain clouds were clearing out as the sun was coming up and the resulting light in my winter woods was breath-taking.  Still in my PJs and postponing that cup of coffee, I grabbed my camera, went out on my deck and began shooting.

Even though I'm beginning to yearn for the greens of springtime, I'm still discovering subtle purples, pinks and oranges in the winter grays that I suspect I'm going to miss when the spring greens actually arrive.  But these fleeting moments remind me of the importance of soaking it all in as it happens.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Early Morning on Windridge

"Early Morning on Windridge"  16" x 20"    Oil on Canvas
$400   BUY

Sometimes the skies here are incredible.  Early Monday morning on my drive into town, I could hardly keep my eyes on the road.  It was about an hour after sunrise and had been raining the night before.  I was so captured by what was going on, I went back home, got my camera and holding it in my right hand as I was steering with the left, I pointed it through the windshield and snapped continuously for four miles and back again.  This scene was just  yards from my driveway looking south on my road, Windridge.

I got lucky.  There's never much traffic on the way to town, but at that time of morning, most of the working folks were already gone and the not many others had begun to stir around yet.  I had the road, the skies and four miles of landscape to myself.  Sometimes things just go your way.

This painting is most likely be beginning of an emerging theme about skies and the landscape I see on my way to town.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Quiet January

"Quiet January"     12" x 18"    Oil on Canvas
$200  SOLD

In these north Georgia hills in January, there's no predicting the temperatures or weather.  We'll be outside without jackets one day and bundled up in our winter coats, scarves and gloves the next.  We might have enough snow to bring the entire world to a halt or we might not see a flake all winter.  We make grand plans at our own risks.  But there are a few places in January that most likely will be cold no matter what the temperatures are a few miles downhill.  The Tallulah River is one of those places.  This little painting is done on one of the colder days when other than having to pull out our winter wraps several times, we've not yet seen any snow.

One thing I love about the rivers here is that if you don't stay in the moment, you're likely to miss something.  During these moments, the sun was fully lit one moment, then partially blocked by clouds the next.  I happened to catch my moment at a time when the on a pinpoint of sun was breaking through.