Much of what makes for great interior design is going with your gut. Being in touch with your inner voice and honing in on your natural inclinations can be an indispensable tool when putting together your ideal home, choosing the art you wish to live with or even when making career decisions. Currently serving us major inspiration on all fronts is artist Diane Denise.
Growing up in a creatively minded family, Diane’s innate artistic ability was encouraged early on. She explains, “My grandmother, father, and mother were all my mentors. However, I really didn’t know that until later in life. I just thought everyone was like them. They taught me to do whatever it is with love and passion. If you cook with love and passion – the food will taste better. If you sew something – you must be in the mood otherwise things won’t turn out so good. The same with painting…I totally submerge myself in it with love and passion, and if I’m really not in the mood, then I don’t paint that day.”
The praise and encouragement she received did not end with those close to her. Diane began to enjoy success as a painter with pieces consistently being snapped up around Connecticut and New York. Given how her work is able to blend into a home and enhance its appeal, it is no surprise that it is so beloved. “I choose paint colors with interior design and minimal fashion in mind. I prefer the artwork to complement rather than dictate. I am inspired by casual elegant fashion, things, and places. I believe I need to love my finished art, or no one else will either.”
These fashionable places and travel, that inspire her art, took her in an unexpected direction. After years of dreaming of exotic locations while working in her studio and watching the Travel Channel, she had the courage to listen to her inner voice and made a change and took a position at a small luxury hotel, The Delamar in Greenwich, where she could learn the ropes. She applied herself with so much enthusiasm that she eventually moved on and took a corporate role within The Marriott. “There are many things in a hotel that bring people joy and peace, such as the decor of a guest room, the color scheme, the amenities, the bed linens and the overall experience. This is exactly how I would like people to feel when they look at my art.”
This idea of bringing joy and a sense of peace is one that Diane strives to achieve in her work as an artist. “When I paint, I go into a peaceful state of mind. It’s a place that is relaxing and allows me to express myself without giving it much thought. A place where nothing else is happening and time doesn’t exist. Everything seems to flow naturally and is very gratifying.” With this love of art and creating in her heart, after working in the hotel industry for over a decade, she eventually came back to her first love: painting.
While she no longer works in hospitality, travel still impacts her work. “You learn and see so much when you travel. I take away many ideas and inspiration from a venture. It could be a doorway, a restaurant, a sidewalk, a hotel, the colors of houses, or just the feeling I felt at that time. In many instances, you are not aware of just how much you were inspired until you return home.”
Home may be where the heart is, but it is also where Diane produces her work. Diane shares with us the way her space supports her creative endeavors. “My studio is not your average artist studio. It is a small room in my house with double doors and windows, which provides beautiful lighting. I have a long table, which I prefer to work on as opposed to an easel. For me, I paint where I am most comfortable, and for right now this room does the trick. However, at times I have been known to paint in my dining room or kitchen. I keep the TV on while I paint. I prefer to have background noise, as compared to playing music, which I love to have playing when I cook or bake.”
Three Questions with Artist Diane Denise …
TLV: Favorite travel destination?
TLV: Favorite item in your home?
DD: I have many things in my home that are special. For instance, I have many family members (who have passed) items displayed in my home. Items that meant so much to them and were part of us all being together. I carefully have included them into my design. But, the one favorite item is my mother’s wooden spoon that she used for cooking. Which I use now all the time.
TLV: What are you currently reading?
DD: Then Again – by Diane Keaton
Images of art Courtesy of Diane Denise
Text and photo of the artist by Liana Hayles Newton