ART MATTERS
The Philadelphia Region’s Magazine for the Arts & Antiques        
December, 2002

Teaching and Healing
by Donna Dvorak

There are those with an appreciation of art and there are others whose passion for perfecting their ingenious talent is infused in their work. Dyan Law, finalist for the Louie Award and director/instructor at the Highland Manor art Studio, Chalfont, has encouraged lots of talent in Bucks and Montgomery County.  This petite artist, whose paintings and designs hang in prestigious homes and are sold and distributed internationally, recently relocated from New York to Doylestown.

“I left high-pressured design and marketing jobs working 10-hour days with clients like Armani, Revlon, The New Yorker, and MGM,” she said, sitting in her cheery studio, flanked by her students’ and personal artwork.  “I created exclusive designs for Lillian Vernon Catalogs and my custom invitations were featured in Bride’s Magazine.  I also created journals for the Guggenheim Museum, a velvet scrapbook for “The Haunting.” A movie by Steven Spielberg’s DreamWorks, and custom notebooks for the Philadelphia Museum of Art.” 

Dyan, who prefers to paint and teach than discuss herself, has achieved many accomplishments.  Her custom designs and paintings are found in the Napa Valley wine country, and promotions for celebrities like Ralph Lauren, Reba McIntyre, Vera Wang, and more.  She designed a 9-foot custom stained glass window, and picturesque interiors for homes and offices.

I directed a school and art camp, in Chappaqua, NY, and an art program for a camp on the Rockefeller property,” she said.  “Now I teach at my studio, create custom paintings and designs on commission, and exhibit at galleries and shows.” Her eclectic vision of life, related to art, is captured not only on canvas, but also on Christmas tree ornaments, needlepoint pillows, boxes, wallpaper, lamps, and oriental rugs.  Her line of stationery, UP Notes, has been contributed to auctions to help raise money for children with AIDS. 

Law’s teaching techniques convey the significance of art as a tool for stress reduction.  Although differs in subject matter, the distinguishing aspect of her work is reflected in feelings of serenity and peacefulness.  As a cancer survivor, she understands the importance of art in the healing process and consistently depicts a positive attitude.  “My most rewarding experience was instructing cancer patients in art at he Hospital of Joint Diseases, in New York,” she explained, noting she’ll be donating her time to Gilda’s Club of Bucks and Montgomery Counties, teaching art workshops.  “I blend body, mind and soul into the visual arts.  Art classes can be therapeutic, although I’m not a therapist.  My classes include people who take yoga, tai chi and other forms of relaxation, who wish to integrate visual expression with personal expression.  Everyone is welcome.  I encourage students to work in their favorite medium and at their own pace.  My classes are small so students can work in a class atmosphere with personalized instruction.  “I promote working intuitively and viewing unforeseen occurrences as opportunities to uncover new possibilities,” she explained.  “I place emphasis on line, composition, proportion, perspective and color theory incorporating various techniques for achieving textural effects with watercolors and acrylics, although my favorite medium is oil.” Dyan combines formal, yet relaxed methods, teaching art inspired from the old masters.  Before each class she explains theory and technique. 

Her art career began as a child as she drew beneath her bed-covers with a flashlight.  “My parents looked at art as an avoidance of schoolwork,” she said, laughing.  “In reality, I was pursuing my passion.”  Once she picked up her crayon, she never put it down. “I earned a BFA degree in primary and secondary art education as well as an associates degree of fine art from the University of Bridgeport, in Connecticut,” she said.  “I also studied painting and drawing at the Art Students League of New York, the Westchester Art Center, and Cornell University.  I am an artist/member of the Edward Hopper House in Nyack and, since moving to this area, membership Chairperson on the Executive Committee of Artsbridge Gallery at Canal Studios, in Lambertville, NJ.”

Law, formerly a single mom who raised two children by teaching design, painting and martial arts, is proud to be part of the Bucks and Montgomery art scene.  “Although I visited this picturesque region for more than 25 years, I’ve never really ‘seen’ its true beauty and charm until I painted it,” she said.  “Now I can share that experience with my students.”