Hello, my name is Diana Boanas, and I’m honoured to have been asked to be a guest artist here amongst such talented people. Thank you Charlie and the member who recommended me (whoever you are!) . I live in Hull U.K. which has City of Culture status this year, so displaying some wonderful artwork in various venues across the city and within the newly refurbished Ferens Art Gallery.
I remember being interested in all art activities at school and it being used as a bribe at times if my behaviour was a bit undesirable! I studied art at O and A level (that gives my age away). I chose art and music as my specialist subjects at teacher training college and enjoyed drawing and painting as part of the three year course.
My paintings, at that time were industrial landscapes in oils. Students displayed a mini exhibition for the final assessment and the subject of mine was ‘Death’ which sounds rather macabre but was actually a study of dying plants, skeletons and other post-life objects.
That was the last time I did any serious artwork other than painting with my children and using art regularly within my teaching career with great satisfaction for myself and the students.
Fast forward almost 40 years to four years ago on holiday, my husband bought me a sketch book and pencils and I literally cried with emotion when I put pencil to paper, remembering the joy and overwhelming intensity of the mark making.
Following on, I enrolled on a couple of art evening groups, one of which was watercolour and a medium which was new to me . I also began online lessons and a few weekend workshops with the watercolourist Peter Woolley. Another online art tutoring site (Art Tutor) and it’s amazing forum gave me the confidence to enter a few of their monthly challenges, progressing to juried open exhibitions and major competitions.
I was totally addicted to the medium, loving its translucency and unpredictability. I devoured every watercolour book and video of artists painting, spending every available waking hour practicing and experimenting.
So here I am, four years down the line and still loving my painting and experimenting with technique and developing my skills. I spend an afternoon a week painting with the talented watercolourist David Thomas and enjoy the company of other artists in the group.
Initially, I collected equipment like a manic magpie and have brushes and paints which last for years to come! I use artists quality paints but have no particular favourites though I like the colours Indigo, Burnt Sienna and Green Gold which regularly appear in my work.
I own brushes in every shape, size and material from very cheap synthetics to expensive sables. Most of them get used but there are a few which are my predominant choice. My newly purchased size 2 rigger which I didn’t think I’d use much but love, and sizes 4, 6 and 12 round sables. It’s fun to use something completely new occasionally both in paint colour and brush type.
I love ceramic palettes and the feel of the paint and water gliding over the glaze along with the non-staining factor .
If I’m painting a large piece, I like to use paint from the tubes to mix bigger quantities, otherwise I use dried paint and pans to avoid washing so much away at the end. I choose to work on rough, heavy paper because I’m too lazy to stretch it and I flatten the finished painting with a good spritz of water on the reverse and some heavy books overnight.
I find that I can paint both sharp detailed lines as well as textures dry brush on a rough surface and preference Saunders Waterford and Bockingford because I am familiar with the way they respond to paint and water. My working area is in a spare bedroom with a large, beautifully lit bay window. I take myself away and always listen to the radio or music while I work, often with my huge grey cat sitting nearby .
I admire the work of so many, if not all living watercolour artists and am fascinated by the diverse range of styles and techniques. Having no particular favourites, I learn and feel motivated by studying them all.
I am always ready with my camera and am attracted to an object or scene by the play of light and am fascinated with transparency and distortion of images through glass and water. I prefer to take my own reference photographs and work from them at home because the times when something catches my attention are often not suitable venues or times for sitting down to draw or paint. I vary my approach between pre-drawing and just diving in loosely, just as I use variety in the sizes of paper used.
Watching watercolours blend is just mesmerising and it has been a rewarding and often frustrating journey for me to achieve a bit of control over the predicted outcome. I say a bit, and that’s the appeal of the medium.
I am very much an outdoor lover and thoroughly enjoy sketching and watercolour painting en plein air and am getting over the anxieties and embarrassment of painting in public places. I learned that if you paint with your back against a wall, no one can come up behind you! I keep a travel journey sketchbook. Looking back through the paintings is so evocative because the visual studying was so intense and a multi-sensory experience at the time.
Having recently retired from a teaching career, I have the luxury of being able to indulge in my artwork and continue enjoying developing my skills.
Thank you again Charlie and I look forward to seeing the beautiful work yet to be featured here.