By likemindblog



DIANE LEONARD is one of America’s highly respected contemporary impressionist, a published writer,  photographer, filmmaker and teacher, who dances while she paints.  Her love is to capture light and color in her work and express joy and happiness which she does marvellously!   A self-taught artist, Diane began painting in her early twenties while she lived in Boston.  She is presently working on her new video series: “Art Is For Everyone”.    

Diane, welcome and thank you for sharing with us your personal thoughts through this inspiring and joyful interview!

No. 1)  What is art to and for you?

1. This question made me really think about my art — why I am painting and what it truly means to me — because art is my life!   So, thank you for this question — it is great to step back and see what makes us real.  (so, I did the other questions first).

Art is my gift to the universe.  Through my artwork I give joy and happiness to people — and that is why I paint.  The Japanese told me this when I was in Nagano, three years  before their Olympics, and I was in awe as each couple who bought 26 out of the 30 paintings that I had there told me that very same thing!  I sat in my little room and cried — tears of joy and happiness, as I truly realized what art meant to me — I get to give and make a difference on this planet.

No. 2)  What inspires you?

2. Inspiration is all around me — I see everything as a painting.  the light dancing across my garden excites me.  Sometimes when I go antiquing I find an item that starts a series of paintings.  An antique sailboat that I found years ago sparked a series of paintings with both children and adults that lasted over four years!  I still love the warm yellow light on the sails and the reflections in the water and sand.  The beach is an inspiration all in itself — everywhere I turn, I am not only inspired, I am drawn to paint!  The colorsPeace5 that I see in the reflections in the wet sand at low tide make me WANT TO PAINT!

I get ideas in my head throughout the day and I put them in a sketchbook that I always have with me.:  a red dress, a glass of wine, a beautiful hat, bubbles, lanterns — my house is filled with my “props” and I love them all! 

And, sometimes I meet a model and create several series with her and her friends.  That is truly exciting.

No.3)  When you are painting, creating, where does it take you?  Where does your mind travel?

 3. When I am creating, I fall inside the painting and I am “in the moment”.  The music starts and I dance when I paint.  I let the music take me into the moment — I feel the painting!  And, as the music flows, I let my paintbrushes fly across the painting and as my arms move, the strokes make their own dance.    It comes from my heart and I let go and just paint!  After painting for over thirty-five years, I can let go and let the painting come from my heart, as I know my colors and lots of techniques and sometimes I am using my fingers, or paper towels and of course brushes — I feel the painting!  And I get lost inside the painting.  I fall in love with the painting — well, most of them anyway.

 I am in the moment of the painting — whether it is on the beach, or in my garden or somewhere special.  When I am finishing a painting I do not use any photographs, I use my memory and that is when I just let the painting tell its own story.  The painting has a magic on its own. 

 No. 4)  Do you feel visual art, music and health are related and is so, how?

joy4. When you are happy, you are healthy!  Music always sings to our souls — and without music our hearts would not know peace!  A painting is a song that sings to you from across the room.  It calls you ever so gently — a small sonata or a huge orchestra — it talks to you.  Music, health and art are all intertwined because without one of them we would not truly feel the magic that is within us.  People who love what they do are using their creativity  — and they are the healthiest and happiest people we know!  Because we are all so visual, there have been years of music videos to sell the albums.  We see art in all walks of life, and how it is depicted and how we feel about it does affect our health. Happiness is what our higher selves are seeking, and we find it in art and music.

 When we meditate and visualize our dreams, or paintings, or something that makes us smile, we are maintaining our health.  And the songs of beautiful music add such delight to meditation.

 No. 5)  When you are painting, creating, how do you feel?

5.  When I am painting I feel the joy and happiness that I am creating — I do know that when I am not in “delight” I am thinking in my head too much and not working from my heart.  When I am challenged with a new idea and new techniques I have to work through those “technical challenges” and I will start a painting over and over until I get it right — and when I get it right, I feel it — I know it — and that is what and how I love to paint.

 No. 6)  Do you identify with your subject and if so on what level?

 6.  Most of my paintings are of people – I am drawn to them.  I started out as a portrait painter and then my work evolved into painting people at leisure, having fun, tender moments, playing on the beach or just sitting in reverie with a glass of wine.  As I photograph and paint my models I am reminded offields_of_love our times together and they are here with me in the studio.  I paint from life every week and I love that energy that is shared when two people are creating together.  I paint the experience of our times together.

 No. 7)  Under what conditions do you do your best work?

7.  My best work is done when I start a painting with great music and it just flows — when I am truly painting from my heart — Before I start a painting, I “sparkle up” myself by fixing my hair and putting on some lipstick — so that I feel great about me.  Before I walk into the studio I bring only joy and happiness and leave all worries behind — I also keep the phone outside the studio so that I am not disturbed.  I have selected my subject matter and visualized how I want the painting to look like — then I just start with the block in and off I go!

 No. 8)  Does painting help you connect with your higher self, whatever that may be for you?

8.   The painting and my higher self are connected — It is my higher self that is doing the painting — when I step aside and let the universe paint through me and get my ego out of the way, I can create.

 No. 9)  What is your opinion on the school system and creativity?  Many people seem to think that it kills it.  How do you feel about this and what would you see as a simple solution?

 9.   The school system does attempt to bring art to the students and guide them with instruction.  An art instructor is there to teach, not grade — as daddy's_homeeach one of us is an individual, a teacher should open up doors to creativity, not judge.  The judgement can kill a student’s desire to find their own creativity and quite honestly, then it is the “judgment” of that person.  For instance, I have had paintings win awards in one juried show and then that same painting get rejected from another show — again, a judge’s opinion.

 I think that the best way for our children in the school system to learn what art means to them is to be surrounded by artists who are doing it for a living and who are open to teach and encourage.  Perhaps more professional artists should give art lessons in the schools — I know that I do and I love it.

 Diane Leonard

 Wishing you happiness and smiles all day long!

Diane, it has been a real pleasure doing this with you.  And your art does bring back memories of wonderful times, and childhood, and home, and apple pie!  Thank you so much and until we meet again, be blessed!

Diane’s links:


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What fond memories does Diane’s art bring back to you? 

Your comments are very much appreciated.  Also, if you wish to be kept informed of any changes, please do leave your e-mail address.  Thank you and ENJOY!

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Filed in: ART • Friday, April 16th, 2010


By helenebro on April 17th, 2010 at 2:12 pm

C’est réconfortant et plein de tendresse de l’enfance. Il y a une lumière de bonheur simple dans vos toiles.C’est comme un sourire franc.

You are an incredible artist. Your paintings bring joy to all who see and own them. I am so proud to be your sister.

Diane and I went through 4 years of high school together – so I’ve had the privilege of knowing her even before she began to paint.
Her work never fails to amaze me. Diane’s use of light, color and technique are reminiscent for the great impressionist masters. Her work draws you into the scene and it becomes ever apparent as to where her heart and mind are. She is every bit as genuine and beautiful a person as her work reveals her to be.

The beauty of spirit and creativity shines though in your article and work. Message clear…..To be happy is to connect with the inner spark of life, which is creation and to give back through creativity completes the circle. It’s when we find ourselves outside of the circle we quit sparking and sparkling. It’s not easy to stay in the “zone”. What is your secret for staying inside the circle? Thanks for sharing your work and words….Cecelia
.-= Cecelia Gay´s last blog ..Sometimes Lovers, Sometimes Friends =-.

Great article. I love the line “A painting is a song that sings to you from across the room.” Your work is amazing – it feels like it has a “soul”.


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My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours