Introducing Artist No. 79 – Diane Russell

For as long as I can remember, I have been drawing and painting people. I began my professional career as a fashion illustrator, and over time my art has evolved towards portraiture. I have always found the human face, with its limitless expres-sions, fascinating, and I love the challenge of bringing those expressions to life in my portraits.

My paintings and drawings are a reflection of my own experiences and a tribute to all of the people who have touched my life. My inspiration comes from the people I meet, and the musicians that I photograph. Working in oil, my paintings evolve gradually, taking many layers of paint to complete. My charcoal drawings also evolve gradually, building up over time. The portrait process is a shared experience between myself and my subject, and by the time I’m finished, I feel as though I’ve made a deep connection with my subject. This to me is the essence of portraiture… to reach beyond the photograph and bring my subject to life. When the portrait be-gins to breathe, I know I have achieved my goal.

Portrait work has become, without a doubt, the most meaningful and rewarding work I’ve ever done. I can’t imagine doing anything else, and I feel that without art, my life would not make sense. I hope to always continue to grow as an artist, and make a positive impact in the world around me by virtue of the art I create.

I’m looking forward to the upcoming Portland Open Studios tour, because I love showing visitors my painting and drawing process. I will be working on both a portrait painting and a charcoal drawing, and my palette will be on display for all to see. Since I use no solvents of any kind, people are always surprised by the pleas-ant smell of linseed oil and paint… no fumes!

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