GUEST DOODLEWASH: “Did You Art Today?”

Doodlewash - Watercolor painting by Diane Wallace of swan

Diane Wallace, here.  As you can probably tell from the title of this post, art is a verb in my world (Follow me on my blogFacebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest). First, a shout out of thanks to Charlie O’Shields for inspiring us watercolorists to walk the walk in his World Watercolor Month Challenge and the new World Watercolor Group. And personally, thanks for asking me to be a guest doodlewasher.

Doodlewash - Watercolor painting by Diane Wallace of horses in stableA latecomer to serious painting, like others, I have drawn and painted all my life. Fascinated by horses from an early age, they were my main subject. Born and raised in Philadelphia, it’s hard to fathom where I even saw my first horse.  But as a child (a long, long time ago) western television shows were prevalent, and my bag of plastic horses was a constant companion.

In my later years, after moving to Medford, New Jersey, I worked at the stable where I boarded my horse,  making them easy target practice for my paintbrush.  Soon, I was painting stall signs, then sweatshirts, and eventually commissions of horses, then dogs, then houses, people and it’s been going on for about 15 years. Can you guess the recipient of my first award at a juried show?

While my bread and butter work continues to be commissions done in watercolor, my real passion is loose and juicy painting.  Mostly self taught, but inspired by my late mentor, Dan Hines of Medford, New Jersey, to loosen up, I have kept my palette limited. Using Daniel Smith’s Cadmium Yellow Light, Pthaylo Blue, Quinacridone Rose and Quinacridone Sienna, I am pretty comfortable knowing exactly what they’ll do.  Occasionally I will visit the untouched tubes in my cabinet, but they just don’t seem to play as well as my favorites. 

Doodlewash - Watercolor painting by Diane Wallace of pet portrait of dogMy greatest supporter, my husband, often gifts me with wonderful art supplies, including my “Butter Brush” a #16 Kolinsky Sable that I swear can do anything with, including have a painting just fall off the hairs. No matter what I am painting, I usually take a moment to ask for guidance before I start.  This moment of meditation, prayer or whatever you would like to call it seems to center me and let my brain know it’s time to start the joy. When I paint commissions, I ask my clients to give me three words to describe the person, pet or home.  Writing them on index cards, I tape them over my desk before starting.  After my initial meditation, I take a moment to contemplate the words given and ask that I can incorporate them in some way into my painting.

Just for giggles, I will occasionally play with acrylics, but the resultant mess in my hair, arms, clothes and studio usually send me right back to my easy-to-clean-up watercolor.

Doodlewash - Watercolor painting by Diane Wallace of bird on branch

Fascinated with writing, perhaps caught while working as support personnel in the newsroom of a Pulitzer Prize winning newspaper in my earlier years, I started blogging about my experiences as an artist.  The fun, the inspiration, the frustration, (just say the word matting and I can feel my body tense) the stories behind a painting. Coming of age as an artist at a later date in life did not make computer skills an easy transition.  Most of my early frustration occurred when I quit my money-making job and started trying to set up a website, a Facebook page, a blog, Instagram, Twitter, Artfinder, and Pinterest.

Doodlewash - Watercolor painting by Diane Wallace of yellow bird on flowerFor inspiration, I have taught myself to listen to my gut, or the little voice that catches the interesting view.  Normally inspired by nature and animals, I can be stopped dead in my tracks by a sight, sound, smell or ray of light.  If I can’t grab a picture, I’ll try to get it down in my constant companion sketchbook as soon as I can. 

No one will ever confuse my sketchbooks for art journals. They are, instead, workhorses for my life work. Showing them proudly to anyone who asks, they are proof positive I am doing what I love. Drawing is a passion and I love to teach people how to draw by seeing, versus drawing shapes first.

Always looking for something new to do with watercolor, I spent years trying to replicate the look of tooled leather.  As those paintings took upwards of 100 hours, I was smitten with loose painting after taking a class with my above mentioned mentor. My 30 paintings in 30 days challenge in January of 2015, consisted of experimenting with watercolor in spray bottles, stencils and birds. While I didn’t always quite know what I was doing or how it was going to come out, 26 or them sold to people who seemed to appreciate them. My next challenge is going to be incorporating people into my paintings.

Doodlewash - Watercolor painting by Diane Wallace of catBelieving my eraser is the best teacher I will ever have (it teaches my heart, head and hand which IS the correct line), I am not afraid to make mistakes.  They are not all masterpieces.  Practice makes for fun.  The minute you mess up a painting you are free to try something outrageous, even if that means covering the paper with gesso to start over on a new and different surface. Make with abandon…there are people who wouldn’t have a job if you didn’t use the paper they made. 

While “arting” is who I am, I did a lot of financial work in my previous lives. That work has served me well.  As an artist I have made a business plan, keep good records of inventory, have a production schedule, (so I don’t forget to sign or photograph a painting) and work hard on developing personal relationships with those who have chosen to give my paintings their forever walls.  Professional development includes, marketing, workshops, goal making and keeping track of numbers such as sales figures, expenses, followers on various social media.  All time consuming, but important for me to measure progress.

Doodlewash - Watercolor painting by Diane Wallace of sunflowersA prolific artist, I have found new joy in gifting art to causes that touch my soul. The rewards have been great in newfound friends and a reduction in the piles of paintings that can quickly accumulate, and some new collectors.  My World Watercolor Month paintings are all card-sized and will be turned into cards for a non-profit called Bringing Smiles to Forgotten Seniors.

Our recent move to Sarasota, Florida has provided a whole new slew of inspiration. Turquoise has been dominating my palette. Didn’t use a lot of that in New Jersey.  Joining the SRQ Plein Air painters, I have met some local artists and I must admit to great excitement in having a new, larger studio in a week or so.

Doodlewash - Watercolor painting by Diane Wallace of main streetLive, love, art.  It’s all about the joy for me.  Love to share my work, couldn’t live without “arting”. Love to teach people how to draw, paint, or even take time to help someone understand the color wheel, or explore their creativity. To me, the best part of being an artist is the pleasure I get when sharing my gift.  Meeting people I would never have the opportunity to otherwise, and hopefully touching a part of their creative hearts. Maybe even yours.

So, nice to meet you dear doodlewashers. Ending my guest blog, as I do my own, with the perpetual question, “Did You Art Today?”

Diane Wallace
WordPress Blog

Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in Featured Artists
  1. Lisa Roberge 6 years ago

    I also use “art” as a verb!! I am often telling my family that I am off to art on the lawn.

  2. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 6 years ago

    Diane, your art is delightful, full of chance, beauty, and vivid colors. I laughed when I read the line that you didn’t use much turquoise when you lived in New Jersey. When I was a child living in Trenton, New Jersey, I couldn’t figure out what color to use for the sky, so I stood in our yard, staring at it for a long time. Then I went back to my art and chose yellow. Gotta paint what you see, don’t you agree?

    • Diane Wallace Studios 6 years ago

      Thank you so much Sharon. Love your yellow sky story. While it’s slogan may be New Jersey – The Garden State – you sure couldn’t tell most days.

  3. kitkatknit 6 years ago

    Yes I did art today, added some details to a floral watercolor sketch.

  4. creatingincolors 6 years ago

    I am laughing at the references to New Jersey! I get it because I live in NJ too. Seriously, Diane, I really enjoyed reading your story and seeing your beautiful works of art. I like that your move has inspired turquoise! And that you turn some of your paintings into cards for Forgotten Seniors – priceless. Now I’m off to check out your Blog and follow you on Instagram.

    • Diane Wallace Studios 6 years ago

      Thanks much Creating Colors. There are certainly parts of NJ that are gorgeous….but the gorgeous doesn’t usually include turquoise!

  5. Teri C 6 years ago

    Thank you for sharing your beautiful work and story.

    • Diane Wallace Studios 6 years ago

      Thanks Teri C. I was honored to be asked to be a guest Doodlewasher. Charlie O’Shields inspires me a lot with his constant painting, writing and posting.

  6. M. L. Kappa 6 years ago

    Lovely work, Diane, and very inspiring post!

    • Diane Wallace Studios 6 years ago

      Thanks M.L. Kappa…’s always fun to think you might inspire someone….like Charlie O’Shields does for me….and all the watercolorists now participating in the World Watercolor Group.

  7. Jodi 6 years ago

    Loving your work and looking forward to following Diane. Thanks for another great intro Charlie!

  8. jpeters6248 6 years ago

    Love all the beautiful paintings. I love the use of color and different techniques.

  9. Diane Wallace Studios 6 years ago

    Thanks JPeters6248…..sometimes I think I have ADD, as I am constantly switching from one thing to the next. But, mostly the colors are the four mentioned in my Bio…keeps things simple.

  10. fluffballadventures 6 years ago


  11. Sharon Nolfi 5 years ago

    I love your paintings of birds. The water around the swan is wonderful.

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