The Bainbridge Public Library is dedicated to spreading the joy of reading and the discovery of ideas with not just our local community, but with visitors from near and afar. In addition, the library is fortunate to house beautiful local works of art both inside and outside the building. Each month the library celebrates a local artist (or artists) with an exhibit, which opens monthly on the Island’s First Friday Art Walk tour, and includes a reception hosted by the featured artist.
Diane Walker will host a reception opening her exhibit, “Stormy Weather” on February 7th, 5-7pm for First Friday Art Walk
Like many artists, Diane’s love of creating art stems from her childhood joy of painting. Unfortunately, criticism of those efforts discouraged her and she moved on to other creative outlets. While in her twenties, working as a librarian, Diane designed logos for the library and the statewide library newsletter, as well as artwork for library displays. She also taught display design for statewide librarian conferences. By the time she was in her thirties, she’d moved into hi-tech marketing and graphic design, creating logos, brochures and ads. In 1996, she moved to Shaw Island (and later Orcas, and briefly, San Juan Island), where she decided to focus her energy on full-time motherhood. But she also needed to keep her creative spirit alive, so she purchased a point-and-click camera and began to photograph various island scenes, such as driftwood, boats, water, farms, and anything else that caught her eye. It was then that she discovered a true passion for photography, and many of her shots were exhibited in galleries on Orcas, Lopez, and in Friday Harbor. When they moved to Bainbridge Island in 2001, it only seemed natural to continue on with her photography, and she submitted her work to Bainbridge Arts and Crafts (BAC), where she became known for her photographs of boats—her work has since appeared in books, calendars, newspapers, magazines, and galleries around the country, including on the cover of one of our very own BI phonebooks.
In 2013, Diane attended a demonstration at BAC by artist, Christopher Mathie, and her childhood dreams of painting re-materialized, inspiring a new passion—abstract art.
“Painting is much more challenging: it’s hard work, it really forces me to wrestle with my demons – the need for approval, the need to get it right, imposter syndrome, etc. – but I love texture, and color, and the thrill of seeing something come alive with what feels like very little interference from me. I mean, I’m wielding the brush, or the palette knife; I choose the colors and the canvas size, but what happens after that is the result of a sort of constant conversation between me and what wants to be painted, and my job is mostly to get out of the way and let my fingers and my heart make the decisions.”
She began by taking a few classes from Christopher, and converting her daughter’s old bedroom into a calm, peaceful studio. Twenty-five years of living on various islands throughout the Pacific Northwest has heavily influenced her style and subject matter, and she often finds that regardless of her initial intentions, her paintings tend to end up depicting clouds, rain, water and boats. Her pieces are vibrant tones of light and dark, yet espouse a peaceful, soothing quality that draws the eye and sparks the imagination. Diane’s work has appeared in a number of juried shows, including the Bainbridge Arts and Crafts Gallery, the Edmonds Art Festival, the Kitsap Arts and Crafts Festival, the Mercer Island Arts Festival, St. Paul’s School in Concord, NH, the Anacortes Arts Festival, three Evergreen Association of Fine Arts exhibitions, two Port Townsend Art Festivals, the Gig Harbor Peninsula Art Festival and the Montlake Arts Festival (where she won the Liquitex Award).
In addition to her paintings and photography, Diane is a poet and playwright, as well as a regular practitioner of mindful meditation. She writes a daily blog called Contemplative Photography, showcasing her meditations, poetry, photographs and paintings, many of which have been compiled into books, which can be purchased on Amazon. She also hosts occasional podcast interviews for Bainbridge Community Broadcasting.
Diane’s work is available for viewing and sale at the Bainbridge Public Library throughout the month of February (a portion of the sales proceeds will be donated to the library) in the meeting room during regular library hours and on the library website, www.bainbridgepubliclibrary.org.
As always, thank you for supporting your Bainbridge Public Library and local artists. If you have interest in exhibiting your work, feel free to contact Linda Meier, art coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org
***Library content and images provided by Linda Meier, Bainbridge Public Library and Diane Walker