Diana Stelin is an award-winning Boston-based landscape artist, who creates conversations between reality and abstraction. Her palette knife paintings have been on display at corporate spaces like Google and Novartis. Her work has been a part of numerous art fairs around US, with her colorful impressionistic abstract landscape art is in dozens of private collections worldwide. Stelin's work is notable for its "melting'' elements on canvas.
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.
Artmaking keeps Diana balanced, grounded and less overwhelmed in today's life, and is her primary focus.
During the quarantine, Ms. Stelin's creativity led her to launch another leg of her practice, a luxury fashion line, Gallerista, that transforms her paintings into unique prints on high quality organic fabrics and further, into exquisite limited edition pieces for a creative woman.
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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