Diane U. Pedersen – Faith and Fascination

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” It is hard to believe that I have now been painting in a folk art style for over half my life. What seemed like an experiment at the start seems now like a natural drawing together of many threads of my life: my traditional art style, my faith, and my fascination with our artistic and cultural history.

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Having taken my first lessons at the Philadelphia Art Museum before entering grade school, I can’t remember life before art. I went on to earn a B.F.A. from Denison University. Then while working in an antique and decorating shop, I began painting naive portraits of children (real and imaginary).

In researching the portraits, I encountered other folk art forms: landscapes, still lifes, theorem paintings, stenciling and faux graining, needlework, sculpture, scherenschnitte, etc. I became fascinated with the stylizations, the colors, the textures, and the crackled and aged finishes. The feeling of peace, light-heartedness, and friendly openness I found there resonated with me.

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Incorporating subjects, forms, and techniques from 18th and 19th century folk art, I gradually developed a personal style to apply to not only portraits, but landscapes and still lifes as well. Many pieces are inspired by short verses from the Bible.

My paintings are original compositions on gessoed fiberboard, plastic laminate, wood, canvas, or paper. I work with acrylics in two basic styles: one resembling watercolors and the other, oils. The “oil” paintings incorporate layers of color and have a crackled finish achieved through a series of glazes applied over the artwork.

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Since the early 1970s, I have exhibited at juried arts festivals and folk art shows in the Northeast; have displayed my work in galleries, designer showcases, schools and churches; and have sold work to specialty shops around the country. My paintings have been selected regularly for the Early American Life Directory of Traditional American Crafts.

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Over the years my art has been found on wallpaper borders, greeting cards, calendars, gift bags, collector plates, framed prints, furniture accessory pieces, woven throws, wallhangings, pillows, placemats, coasters, trivets. custom wood puzzles, and floormats.

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