If you haven’t seen the Rose Mavis art exhibit in the children’s wing yet, be sure to catch it before Tuesday, Nov. 4, when a new ART@EPL exhibit of works by local artist Diane Horoschock goes on display.
Diane specializes in producing artwork so realistic that the viewer questions whether they’re looking at a photograph or a painting.
Read on to learn more about Diane, her art, and how she became an artist in spite of herself…
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
I’ve been an artist all of my life. I can remember drawing spaceship battles in kindergarten. My mother was a very good watercolorist and I remember always looking at her paintings we had hanging in our home. My parents enrolled me in private art lessons at Pasda Art Studios in Bethlehem. I went every Saturday morning during 1st through 4th grade.
When did you decide to pursue it as a career? Where did you go for your training?
I never pursued art as a career, but looked at it as a hobby. I actually stopped producing artwork for many years starting in my early 20’s into my 30’s. My return to art occurred after I sustained a severe disabling injury and the death of my father. In order to work through the fact I could no longer work and the loss of my father, it was suggested I return to art as a form of therapy to help me navigate my new limiting life. Since then, I continued to use art as a way of therapy to help me feel productive.
What has been your hardest challenge, and how did you overcome it?
I think my hardest challenge was returning to art after so many years of being away from it. I wasn’t sure if I was going to remember the basics, wasn’t sure if me returning to art was going to be therapeutic enough and if anyone would even be interested in either seeing or buying my art. I overcame these challenges and concerns by just doing what I had been taught so many years ago. I began drawing at first, giving my art to friends and family. Then I returned to painting and attended craft shows where strangers began buying my art with so many customers returning back to me year after year buying more of my pieces.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I have to say my biggest achievement and what I’m most proud of is the fact I was asked by the City of Bethlehem to paint several huge Japanese Panel Screens for the 1986 Musikfest Ball, which hosted the Japanese Delegation from Tondabayashi, (Bethlehem’s sister city in Japan). I produced these large 8’x22” panels in my basement using watercolors. Some screens were individual scenes and others were 4 panel scenes depicting traditional Japanese Woodblock art.
I was invited to that Musikfest Ball and I met and befriended Toshiaki Hirobe, the head of the delegation. For the next year we corresponded with each other and he invited me to Japan to stay with him and his family. I have and continue to love everything with Japanese culture so this offer was a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I went to Japan in 1987 and traveled throughout the country visiting Mt Fuji, Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, and Nara. I then stayed with Toshiaki and his wife in their home in Tondabayashi. There I exchanged my artwork with Toshiaki’s artwork (he was a plein air oil painter) and both of us kept each other’s works to hang in our respective homes. I have had other success in my art career but nothing, at least, so far, has ever come close to my traveling to and throughout Japan.
What’s your advice for anyone who wants to explore art, but can’t seem to find the time or feels intimidated by a blank canvas?
My advice for anyone who wants to explore art or creativity is simple; just do it. If a person has or shows interest in creating then I feel that art is a gift which should be embraced and shared with others. I would suggest signing up for an intro to drawing or painting class to get the basics. From there visit art galleries to see what types of art “speak” to you. See the different styles and mediums used. Don’t settle on just 1 medium, try different or all mediums to see which one or ones best suit you and your interests. There is no failure with art. Art is a continuous learning experience.
Any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Due to my love of Japan I also specialize in recreating Japanese Woodblock Art using different techniques with mixed media. Within the past 5 years I returned to pastels, which was the 1st time since I attended Pasda Art studios. I have found I absolutely excel at using pastels and I am the most proud of the art I produce, based on the feedback I have received and awards I’ve won.
Since I am a realism artist my biggest joy is watching people approach my art thinking it is a photograph and seeing their shock when they realize it is actually a piece of artwork created by me and not by a camera.
ART@EPL is the library’s exciting partnership with the Lehigh Art Alliance and the Lehigh Valley Arts Council. The series is funded through a grant from PA Partners in the Arts, making it possible for area residents to enjoy free art lectures, exhibits, and workshops from local artists working in pastels, charcoal, sculpture, and watercolor among others.