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The Visual Palette of Diane Mclean

Posted on August 18, 2014.

The visual appeals to Diane McLean where she is inspired by way that light and shadow play on the objects and the background. Diane received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rhodes University in 1984, with distinction in Painting, followed in 1987 by her Master of Fine Arts from the same institution. She has participated in approximately 60 group exhibitions since 1984, including selection for major national exhibitions.

Her favourite media are oils, gouaches and pastels, and her subject matter ranges from portraits and nudes to landscapes, architectural studies, and still life. Her work is primarily figurative but with a strong atmospheric quality achieved by the use of muted colour. Art.co.za interviewed Diane to explore what inspires her and what she has learnt from her artistic career.

Diane McLean
Large blue bowl
525 x 623 mm

ART.CO.ZA [A]: Where does your inspiration come from?

DIANE MCLEAN [D]: I am a very visual person Ė I work primarily in images as opposed to ideas, so anything beautiful can inspire me. Some examples are: a beautiful or interesting person who I know, the landscapes around where I live, especially at full moon, and still lifes. The main thing for me about a painting is the way that light and shadow play on the objects and the background.

[A]: Favourite time of the day?

[D]: I have many favourite times of day: Early morning for having an extra lie-in; mornings are my quiet time when I prepare myself mentally for the day ahead. Afternoons are my studio time, and then evenings are my family time. So itís hard to choose.

Diane Mclean
Two palm trees at twilight
226 x 248 mm

[A]: Whatís one thing you know you do differently to most people?

[D]: I think Iím more obsessive and anal retentive than most people.

[A]: Summer or winter?

[D]: Summer. I love the long days! I dislike all the layers of clothing I have to wear in winter, but I do enjoy a good log fire with red wine!

[A]: In your subjective view, what makes an artwork good?

[D]: Passion. Very hard to explain, but I can see whether someone is genuinely passionate about what they do. It varies from artist to artist and artwork to artwork. Most of us are not able to maintain the same level of passion in all our work.

[A]: Oil or Acrylic?

[D]: Oil. Acrylic is too quick for me.

Diane McLean
White shelf still life
405 x 475 mm

[A]: Favourite or most inspirational place (in South Africa)?

[D]: De Rust, where I live.

[A]: What is your most important artist tool? Is there something you canít live without in your studio?

[D]: My computer. It contains all the images I have collected over the years.

[A]: Whatís the best creative advice youíve ever received?

[D]: Two things: Always try and spend at least an hour or two in the studio every day, even if you donít necessarily paint or create. In other words, let the studio be part of your daily routine and donít see it as a separate place where you have to go to work. The other piece of advice came from Neil Rodger - when you finish your dayís work, always leave something that is incomplete on the painting. It makes it that much easier to get started in the morning, if you see something that needs immediate attention.

View Diane McLeanís portfolio online


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