This month’s Paint It Forward feature, Diana Dellos Designs, captures two of our favorite things: a passion for natural inspiration and a deep desire to share a love for the creative process with the world! Diana took some time away from the canvas to give us an insider’s glimpse into the journey behind some of her favorite pieces.
We love seeing such a variety of wildlife and patterns in your paintings. How do you choose what to incorporate?
Diana: Some paintings begin with a definite purpose in mind, while others evolve organically. I remember when I first found the style of painting known as “intuitive painting.” It was like the fog finally lifted and I had found the key I was looking for. I still use this intuitive style in my paintings a lot. By that, I mean I start by just painting. Anything. Any color, any pattern. I just crank up my music, light the nag champa incense and let the process flow. Bold colors and patterns are staples for me. I love patterns and take photos of patterns everywhere I go. When I come back into my studio the next day, I might feel like the painting will have an animal or some kind of architectural element. These paintings are harder for me because I’m still learning to let go of control. It’s a beautiful learning process, but a constant challenge for me, too.
“Grit and Grace”
Diana: “Grit & Grace” happened at a retreat in the beautiful mountains of Asheville, NC where I was complete relaxed and not concerned with the outcome. We were prompted by our instructor to look through images she had out that spoke to us about how we were feeling our life at that time. As I perused through the beautiful images of botanicals, flowers, and people, I was immediately drawn to this buck. It was the confidence I saw and the direction of his eyes, looking forward. It reminded me of how I was feeling about embarking on my art career, so I went with it. I added the lotus flower because they persevere through muck and mud before they bloom into their beautiful self. The butterfly is a subtle addition that symbolizes transformation. It truly represents the journey I’ve been on these last few years.
Diana: “Grounded” took about six years to complete. It was about four different paintings, before it became the large feathers. You can follow the whole journey here:
Diana: “Alluring” still eludes me. I’m so drawn to texture and architectural pieces, but can’t quite figure out how to use them in my paintings. I feel like I’ve just began to explore this avenue, but I was really pleased with how “Alluring” turned out.
“Tree of Life” and “Wings”
Diana: More often, though, I plan for an end result of a subject. “Tree of Life” and “Wings” were both painted for my sister. I had told her I’d make her a couple of paintings for her office one year for her birthday. She told me the colors and the subjects: tree of life and butterflies.
These two paintings took much longer than I had planned because my ego kept rearing up in my head, telling me these needed to be “amazing” because they were for my sister. It was a constant battle to calm the crazy talk and just relax into my painting. Once completed, these two are still two of my favorites.
Diana: My all-time favorite painting is “Namaste”. The painting process that happened during this painting is my dream zone of ultimate chi, and it’s only happened with this one painting. I had been struggling in my spiritual life and started doing yoga at the same time. I had found a new level of calm and quiet when I did yoga. It was (and still is) one of the rare times I allowed myself to quiet the chatter in my head, become grounded, and listen to that inner wisdom we all have. About that time, the yoga school I attended had a call for artists. They were looking for a new look for their branding. I waited until the last minute and finally began. I wanted a calming, fantasy-like world, where it was just me and the peace that I felt (the silhouette is actually me). I used my favorite colors and patterns and earthly elements of rocks and water. I couldn’t have named all this to you during the process. I really didn’t think I had a direction or plan. It felt like it “just happened” and I was totally in my creative zone. It was fun, relaxing, and went very fast. So rare, but an amazing experience.
We noticed that in addition to producing your own pieces, you have mentoring opportunities for other artists. Can you explain a little bit more about your online courses and why you choose to offer them?
Diana: I knew early on in my art journey that I wanted to create an online e-course. There were two things in life I always wanted to be when I was little: an artist & a teacher. I guess I’ve come full circle. I love showing people that art is not as hard as we think it is.
Demonstrating the process and teaching someone how to do something they didn’t think they could do is such a joy for me. I have a brother, four years younger than me, that has Down Syndrome. Growing up with him, I learned there are always more than three ways to do anything. It’s explaining it in a way that works for that person that is key. I hope to find ways to explain creativity and art techniques to people so that they find the courage to explore and the calmness to enjoy making art. I just launched my first online course, called “10 Paintings.”
In this class, I walk you through over twenty creative techniques to make ten small paintings. My goals with this course are to demonstrate that anyone with a desire to create can make art, that we are already more creative than we believe we are, and that art can be a relaxing way to step off the crazy train of life and find your inner playful child.