5 Quick Questions: Diane Nelson

By Aly Schuman on March 31, 2017

We are officially announcing a new series on our blog, 5 Quick Questions! For each post we will ask a different artist member 5 questions about their lives as artists.

This week we are getting to know more about landscape painter Diane Nelson.


Why did you become an artist?

My first grade teacher told my mother that I would be an artist. She gave a name to what I loved to do, and a lifetime goal.

What is your background?

Between the fourth and eighth grades, I was very fortunate to have had Saturday morning art classes in Taunton MA, where I grew up. After graduating from the Boston Museum School in 1960, I enjoyed a long and varied career as a Graphic Designer/Illustrator, mainly for Boston area educational publishers and trade show producers. Since retiring in 2005, I have concentrated exclusively on painting personal fanciful landscapes.

What is your process?

I paint in acrylic on small gessobord panels. My process may vary from painting to painting, but whether I start from a thumbnail sketch of a landscape idea, or close my eyes and put quick random strokes on my panel just to make a start, I am most interested in having the landscape ‘reveal itself’ to me as I paint.

Who is your favorite artist?

My favorite artist is Johannes Vermeer, for his transcendent use of light in creating a moment in time. His “Woman with a Water Jug” is also my very favorite painting.

Johannes Vermeer, Woman With a Water Jug, oil on canvas, c. 1662

What advice would you give to an aspiring artist?

I think this Chuck Close advice is invaluable for any artist at any age: “Get yourself in trouble. If you get yourself in trouble, you don’t have the answers. And if you don’t have the answers, your solution will more likely be personal because no one else’s solutions will seem appropriate. You’ll have to come up with your own.”


Diane’s painting, Canyon Rising, is on view now through April 6 in our Lower Gallery’s show, Small Works: Shake It Up!

Diane Nelson, Canyon Rising, acrylic on panel, 12 x 15