Friday, February 23, 2018

Unsettled - My painting metaphor

Breaking by Marian Dioguardi c2018 (Top oil painting. Bottom my reference photo)

Who among us doesn't feel unsettled in a world where Up is Down and Down is Up? In a year of upheaval one would think the logical thing would be to sit tight and stay the course. That's not what I do: I investigate, I observe, I learn, I feel, I change. 

"The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it and join the dance"-Alan Watts

In December of 2017 I changed studios in Boston, joining Studio 306, 450 Harrison Ave, with two talented women; the jeweler, Deborah McFail and the weaver, Mary Mandarino. I needed to get away from the group think of painters and take a long deep breath of fresh air. I also needed to take a journey.

I traveled to Sicily. Sicily, home to the most active volcano in the world, Mount Etna, constantly birthing earth and gifting this crib of ancient culture with fertility.  I found the moment to moment changes of the unsettled skies a beautiful counterpoint to this ancient earth both ever changing but at very different rates. The changes reached my soul. 

One one day through the Alcantara Valley there were five different rainbows, at different times.

For 2018 I am working on a series of paintings exploring the unsettled skies over Sicily. Not comfortable or fluent in landscape painting, I am struggling and learning as I move along. I'm not sure where this series of paintings will take me but I know that I am going.

Here, I am using photo references, a practice to which I am not accustomed because I prefer to paint from life. However along with learning to handle greens, blues and neutrals, I am also learning to take the moment of feeling and awe and reinsert it back into the painting. The painting  will not be a recording of what I saw but it's a reflection on how I felt in that moment of time and space; free, a little wild and very unsettled.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Opinion: Michelle Obama Portrait

Detail from Amy Sherald's Michelle Obama, 2018
Detail from image of Michelle Obama
First of all if you are not acquainted with  Amy Sherald's portraits; do your self a favor and visit her website.

So the Michelle portrait: do you love it or hate it or fall in between? I am in between but as I admire Michelle Obama as a person, I also admire Sherald's portrait of Michelle Obama. 

Sherald's portraits and figure are wonderfully imagined lifescapes. Faces rendered with  photo realistic monochromatic sensitivity placed in the context of  beautiful colors, clothing and props. The subject is never named. However titles are given about each person's being. The title serves to question (HangMan), describe  (The Boy With No Past) or make observatons ( What's different About Alice Is that She has the most incisive Way of Telling the Truth). The images are at times comforting and at times subtlety disturbing. However they are always colorful, wonderful and engaging.

 Michell Obama's portrait is all that but also a departure for Sherald. While her subjects, to date, have been anonymous  Michell Obama is iconic. So apart from the masterful composition, the symbolic dress and the seated posture we can't help but look at her facial features. 

As a painter who uses and loves bold colors the choice of the Wedgewood like neutral blue feels too cool in which to place the monochromatic face. So be it. It's not my choice (I'd go yellow).It's not awful, not between. 

While the figure captures everything Michelle, her facial features are not recognizable to me as "Michelle". The features were minimized. Eyes too far apart, distance between the bottom lip and the chin too far and eyebrows shrunk. Gone are the big eyes, lips and beautifully strong nose. The hairline/forhead has been softened into and oval, where it is more familiar as angular. She is barley recognizable as the Michelle Obama we recognize.

They say every painter paints themselves into a portrait and perhaps that is the case here. I wish Sherald would have taken another pass at the eyes. Alas, even if the portrait is not quite Michelle, like all great portraits through time, Michelle will be the portrait. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Brickbottom Open Studios 2017 Nov. 18th & 19th 12-6 PM

Crazy Color Buoy by Marian Dioguardi,12 X 14, oil on panel c 2017
I will be exhibiting Brickbottom Open Studios, 1 Fitchburg Street, Somerville, MA for 2017 as an invited affiliate guest artist again this year. You can see my paintings on the 5th floor entrance in the Cannery building.

Brickbottom is one of the oldest Boston area open studios. Now showing in its 30th year, there are 60 artists located at Brickbottom's live-work complex, joined once again by 50 artist at the nearby Joy Street Studios. 

Friday, November 3, 2017

Future First Fridays SoWa 2017-2018 and beyond

Summer in September, oil on panel by Marian Dioguardi, c2017
My last SoWa First Friday in Studio 223B is tonight, November 3rd. From here on I'll be at First Fridays by request, by appointment or by whim in the wonderful studio #306, at 450 Harrison Ave, Boston, MA of  Mary Mandarino, weaver, and Deborah Macfail, bead jewelry designer. It's a studio bright with complimentary jewel colors of beads and threads where my painting will feel right at home on the wall.
After nearly nine years of being in studio 223B I wanted a creative change. I find that I am more productive painting uninterrupted in my messy studio at home. However, I love having a curated space on a wall for my paintings, new and old, that I can share with interested visitors. Because I do not need to rent floor space to paint and with this new big show wall  in Studio #306 I have it all.

You can call, 617-332-9967, or drop me an email,,when you want to come by to see my paintings. I'll meet you at studio #306 at your pleasure. 

And now; onward to painting and surprises. And so it goes.