Art Quotations by Dyan Law (2004-2006)

Published from the Challenge Category in Robert Genn Newletter:

"I'm thrilled to be thriving on art all through the daylight and the dark-of-night hours, only to go off and snatch too few hours of rest, dreaming of the art I want to challenge me tomorrow."

Published from the Space Categoryy in Robert Genn Newletter:

"Without negative space how would we appreciate the positive in our art and in our lives?"

"How wonderful that Renoir, Matisse and many other artists (renowned and otherwise) never wanted to put their brushes down despite illness, blindness or arthritis."

Published responses by Dyan Law to artist/author Robert Genn's, "The Painter's Keys" to follow:


Member input necessary
by Dyan Law, Pipersville, PA, USA

When I moved to PA I was anxious to become a part of the extensive art community here. I became a member of an art club that had approximately 300 members. I was active in several committees and later appointed membership chairperson for three years. In that time the club grew to over 500 members, had an ample bank account and achieved good strength and community visibility. I found that it's important to have good input from members no matter the numbers. You may have hundreds of artists simply interested in having an affiliation or exhibit opportunities and only five who do the "grunt work." Even with a strong governing board composed of mixed age members and a lovely gallery, the club can run into many problems unless the bulk of its members are interested and involved. It can lose the gallery and more importantly risk losing its original ideals--in a moment's flash! It's not a pretty sight. Social events and fund-raisers shouldn't overshadow goals.

Positive and Negative in Life
by Dyan Law, Pipersville, PA, USA

Old Mill at CuttalossaI'm working on a painting which has bare tree branches in the foggy background of the painting's main focal point. It wasn't until I intensified the color of the negative space between the branches and twigs that I recognized excitement and life. What are bare tree branches without the light peeking through? One can't exist in harmony without the other. In turn, what would the human figure be like without the play of space between and around our limbs? What would hair look like without the "feel" of air beneath, around and through it? Pretty nasty for sure! Without that all-important negative space wouldn't we all be "fallen" artists? Each day we confront the positive and negative issues of our lives. By simply ignoring the negative how would we appreciate the positive in our art and in our lives?

Variations in Student Expectations
by Dyan Law, Pipersville, PA, USA

Dyan Law with Students in Brittany, FranceMost of my adult life I've been painting and teaching art and have found that formulas for value and color need to be adjusted for each and every work we do. What works as a formula for some emerging artists is ineffective for others. I try to stick to my academic leanings. However, what do I do with the student who is only interested in being "expressive" and quick? True, they do not advance as quickly as my other students who take the time and do the "process." Better artwork is the goal for some. But it seems that for others it's simply the act of doing something creative. The longer I teach the more I am accepting of the differences of the many students who pass through my studio. Their progress varies, but their joy in participation is always gratifying.


Offensive Photography
by Dyan Law, Pipersville, PA, USA

I am guilty of cruising around with my digital camera throughout France and Italy over the past 2 years and so far the responses have been positive or ho-hum. However, my feedback was rather unexpected when I was shooting native 'models' in Oaxaca, Mexico. I was taken by the delightful scene I stumbled upon in a busy local market. An older woman in colorful dress was snoozing as she sat on the ground in the outdoor tent surrounded by her fruits and nuts... a truly artistic display of the local culture, I thought! I quickly snapped my photo as the nearby locals gasped in horror. Well Senora's eyes opened wider than my shutter and up she jumped throwing her colorful delicacies at me. I proceeded to run from her while being bombarded throughout the market. It was quite a scene. I learned later that it was considered an insult and perhaps against her religious leanings to be photographed at all! When I got home anxious to see the picture, I searched for the image, it was gone! All the other photos were there. I think she willed it away. Anyhow, I've learned to ask before "shooting" (well, only if I'm looking obvious, that is!).

Believing is Seeing
by Dyan Law, Pipersville, PA, USA

The suggestion that seeing is perhaps, "somewhat a matter of belief" is certainly the "painter's key" to me. I can't imagine any artist, with or without sight, pulling off an honest work of art without a belief in their unique perception of that image, representational or abstract! By learning about the world around us through touch, through stories written (in Braille for some), by feeling the warmth of sunlight, the coolness of snow, the softness of a baby's skin, the smell of grass, the sound of thunder (or of silence), and the feeling of love, a person without sight can truly "believe" in the image(s) which lies "within" his/her own world. We are all touched by life, those with eyes that "see" and those that do not. Perhaps the spirit we each possess allows us to believe and trust in the senses that we're born with. We may want to revise the old saying, "Seeing is believing" to "Believing is seeing"!

Part of the 'hood'
by Dyan Law, Chalfont, PA, USA

I thrive on being part of the "hood." I'm an artist/art educator for adults, but of foremost interest is my need to share feelings my about Art and of those who wish to share with me. Art "belongs" to the artists! Art buyers, collectors and appreciators equally deserve to know how and why the artists they collect or represent feel about their work. Perhaps sharing our multitude of feelings with the "general public" we'll not only be remembered for our finished works, but also appreciated for our passion to "get it honest." It's not all about marketing… it is about our "Chi" contributions, feeling free to share, inside and outside,with our brother and sisterhood of artists.

Paintings reflect 'art bridge'
by Dyan Law, Pipersville, PA, USA

Last fall I unexpectedly found myself on a bus route that took me up Mount Saint Victoire in Provence, France, a favorite subject of beloved Cezanne. My painting materials were back at the chateau, but fortunately I had my digital camera handy for reference photos. The French bus driver sensed my excitement as the bus began its climb up Cezanne's famous limestone mountain and he immediately beckoned me to sit in the front seat of the bus. To my surprise, as he rounded each steep corner of the route he stopped the bus, opened the door and let me point and shoot while the other passengers smiled on. No doubt Cezanne had no such modern conveniences at his disposal!

Last month back again in France, I taught a painting workshop in Brittany. We took endless photos for future paintings. It was the kindness of the French people toward American artists that set the warm "tone" for our future paintings, also inviting us to exhibit our paintings in the mayor's office. Hopefully our paintings will reflect the strong "art bridge" we continue to build between our countries… a peaceful place that politics can't touch.

Redesigned her wedding gown
by Dyan Law, Chalfont, PA, USA

When something "jumps out" of my precious photo files, I usually end up changing it, adding to, or subtracting from it, tweaking it, squinting at it, or projecting it. On rare occasions I leave it alone and paint what's there, reveling in the possibility of making it look unique or "better". When I eat at a restaurant I mentally redesign the interior to look the way I would want to see it. Even when I buy a dress or a piece of jewelry, I usually redesign it. For example, after I picked out my wedding dress I asked the bridal shop how much the manufacturer would allow me to alter their design.

Stroke it like you do me
by Dyan Law, Chalfont, PA, USA

I like to stroke my canvas much in the same way I like to be "stroked"--sometimes softly with love or, heavy with intense feeling, but always with purpose, careful intention and attention. I feel there are too many strokes when "just one more" stroke ceases to offer meaning and enjoyment of the "doer" or the "receiver" (me or my painting)!

Busy night person
by Dyan Law, Chalfont, PA, USA

I'm pondering why I am still awake this late, re-re-reworking my biography for a soon-to-be couple of websites, a magazine feature, and a workshop opportunity teaching and painting again in France. I do realize, however, that this "compulsively-creative" mind works best in the wee hours. Speaking positively, how fortunate I am being able to have enough "history" to re-write? I'm thrilled to be thriving on art all through the daylight and the dark-of-night hours, only to go off and snatch too few hours of rest, dreaming of the art I want to challenge me tomorrow! I'm thriving on this behavior and my paintings seem to be surviving as well.

Burnt into her soul
by Dyan Law, Pipersville, PA, USA

I live in beautiful Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I don't often paint from memory. This time, however, an after-image was "burnt" well into my soul by the pure delight of such color and grace. We witness trees in all their glory from infancy on and know them so well. Much like the human form, if you study a few trees very well it becomes easier to grow one in your mind. Enjoy the thrill of building its personality, bathing it in light, shadow, or peeking it through a fog. That's creative license at an all-time high!

Free to Be You and Me
by Dyan Law, Pipersville, PA, USA

Having been a student of Josef Albers (once removed), I was required to do endless, often grueling color charts and witnessed the magic colors performed before my very eyes. No magician's trick could excite me more. Mix a yellow and a blue and voila, we have green! Even black and white offers us the "feeling" of color because of the kinship of values to color and black and white, mixed along with our imaginations. However, a wise Sufi master I studied with years ago told me that our impressions are simply "not reliable because they are constantly changing." I can only conclude that the colors we choose to use are as random as the impressions we have of ourselves in a mirror. We see them as they are to us at that moment. They often look different to ourselves on our own canvas or paper, etc. the next minute, hour or day. They may look different to the jury who judges our work for exhibition or those who buy our art. Most importantly, it's the act of making those magical color mixes that please us, that reach out to others, that help record history, or simply thrill our Aunt Tilly, no matter how frustrating that can be at times. It's the epitome of being "free to be you and me" despite the rules that guide or restrict each of us everyday.