Diana Stelin is an award-winning landscape artist and educator, author and fashion designer. Her lush, layered, shimmering gold leaf, oil and wax pieces are featured in dozens of private and corporate collections. Her interviews can be found in Boston Globe, HyperAllergic, Huffington Post, Mother Nature Network among others.
“I admire the expression Diana achieves through her energized marks. They animate each painting and really bring them to life. They are very well painted and capture not just an interesting cross between the actual and the abstracted, but really provide a sense of place with quite positive energy.” Elizabeth Erdreich White Fine Art: Corporate Art Consultant
Her sense of color and tone rivals that of the Modern Masters. Her compositions flirt with fantasy yet somehow keep two feet planted firmly on the ground. Caroline Cox, Fine Art Consultant, Salem, MA
"So grounding! All the while the wind is blowing in so many directions and there is such fervor in every day these days - but the center is there holding it all together! Art can give strength. This is proof." Petra, Brookline
Stelin's life took her on many journeys. She left Kishinev together with her family at the age of thirteen. She found art as solace in her difficult teen transition. Her unique free-flowing painting style got her accepted into an Ivy League institution, Cornell University. The world of art stayed with her when she took a detour to manage an art gallery chain, DTR Modern Galleries.
After her second child, she started another business, a teaching art studio, The Plein-Air Art Academy. Soon after she had her third child, it received a Best of Boston award for art classes for kids, and is going strong even in today's online environment.
"We're but a small speck in this universe"
Stelin focuses exclusively on landscapes, on memorable places that one dissolves into by spending more than a passing second snapping a photo. She expertly catches that moment when a viewer allows herself/himself to truly melt into the surroundings, and when borders break between the sky, the trees and architecture blends beautifully into the natural world.
Stelin paints multilayered palette knife landscapes in oil and cold wax, which she partially melts with a heating lamp to dissolve different objects on canvas into one another. The drips are her signature element: the dark ones are emotional strokes that create grids within a painting. The lighter ones are semitransparent, and partially show the layers of paint beneath them.
Stelin's technique is a dance between realistic and abstract landscapes, between watercolor and oil techniques. She begins with a watercolor in plein-air. Stelin subsequently translates the drawing to canvas in the same expressive manner adopted for the initial watercolor painting, employing an impasto technique of oils mixed with cold wax.
The last and most rewarding part of the process is the melting of wax. It comes as a 4th or 5th layer of the painting. It requires patience, has an element of surprise, yet can be controlled, and it connects various sections of the unique oil on canvas. Because it's a textured layer on top of other layers, it breaks down lines between subjects, and literally melts one state into another. It also creates mini compositions within a painting, so that your eye always wanders around the canvas and catches new nuances hidden within the layers. At the same time Stelin adds in authentic gold leaf to the now abstract landscape, as well as 3-D sculptural elements.
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