Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel are co-authoring Rainy Day Thought. New posts will be on Saturdays and otherwise randomly as a subject arises. Comments are always welcome-- invited, even begged :)

Monday, April 14, 2008

Painting Arizona

(All paintings by Diane Widler Wenzel. Click on to enlarge.)

When I first met Diane (who comments here as Parapluie and has the blog Umbrella Watercolors), she was dating (later married) a friend of my husband. She and I were both interested in art and were taking art classes at Portland State. It was her major but my area of interest as I was an education major.

In 1965, when the guys, fishing buddies of a few years, made plans to go to graduate school, they both chose University of Arizona. We drove south together, saw the Grand Canyon for the first time, and explored the West-- on a graduate school budget. Diane saw subjects for paintings everywhere.

Since the four of us lived at the same apartment complex, week-ends would often find us out on the desert walking up small draws, looking for interesting rocks, hiking trails, and everywhere she went she saw subjects for watercolors, acrylics and oils. One trip up to the White Mountains for Easter led to the painting to the left.

Out of each of the drives or hikes came more paintings. The Patagonia and San Rafael Valley area (still one of my favorite places in Arizona) led to the one on the right.

For me personally doing art has been more of a grace note to my life-- sometimes a frustration. It's something I like to do, see subjects I want to paint, photograph a lot, think someday, sketch, and sometimes do paint on location, but I have never felt as gifted at it as I would like; so it comes and goes how frequently I paint.

Diane is a painter who will always paint. I would use the term professional painter because all of her work is for sale (except what I own), but painting as she does it is more of a calling than a job. I am not sure there is a good word to describe that sort of painter but will think about it.

(She gifted us with this painting when we were still in Arizona. Primal Sea. It can hang vertically or horizontally, each saying something different.)

Her paintings, which are throughout both my Tucson house and here, always inspire me. It's not just the colorful, vibrant energy they add to any room, but also how they are not just of a place's physical elements but its spirit.

I have many of her paintings (two which she painted of me) and enjoy them all. That is the only problem with her work. I like to switch my paintings around, change what is hanging to create new moods, but when I look at this one or that of hers, I think how can I not see it when I walk into a room; so she limits my shifting her work to the storage attic. And then there is an added problem. When I see something new that she has done, that I would really like to have, where can I hang it?

I am not the only one with that addiction problem when one gets started collecting her paintings. My daughter-in-law said she was visiting a neighbor and recognized Diane's work on her wall. The woman said it wasn't all and showed her how many were elsewhere in the house.

My blog is intended to be about ideas and inspiration, and I can't think of anything that illustrates that better than the paintings of Diane Widler Wenzel. The link below is to a blog she created to show the work she did on her most recent trip to Arizona with her husband. The locations to park their motor coach were chosen for his fishing with the intention she would paint. If you have ever seen the scenery she was surrounded by, you will be amazed at what she was able to see when she went beyond its physical elements to its soul. Maybe that's my title for her type of painting. She is a soul painter.

So whether you visit her new blog to see the work from her March trip (and be sure you follow the site to the end for the last paintings painted from memory after she returned home), read her regular blog, or contact her to buy a painting for your own wall, I believe it will enrich your view of art and nature.

The photograph of Diane painting is from 1999 on a visit to our Tucson house. Many of her paintings are plein air which means painted on location. Click on any of the above paintings to enlarge.


Parapluie said...

I am honored by your lovely post on my work. Thank you very, very much. The photographs are exceptional. Your experience of living with my painting over the years is a valuable endorsement.

robin andrea said...

What a wonderful post, rain. It's great seeing Parapluie's paintings. They are quite beautiful. I'm also very moved by your long-time friendship. Such a wonderful thing.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Her work is very very interesting Rain....Thanks for bringing her "Art" to all of us in the Blogworld! I did go over to her site and found it quite beautiful!

Fran aka Redondowriter said...

Yes, thanks for your intro. I see Parapluie (what does that mean, by the way?) all the time in your comments and now I know more about you and your long friendship. I really like her work. Could you post one of the paintings featuring you?

Dick said...

It is nice to get to know more about a person that we see posting here quite a bit. It has been obvious that you two have a long friendship but I had no idea how long. That is great. And I do like her paintings.