Thursday, April 26, 2012

Diane Artz Furlong, Painter–Shenandoah Valley Artist Interview

Today we have the privilege of interviewing Diane Artz Furlong, an impressionist artist painting the Shenandoah Valley. Diane has held true to her roots with her love of the Shenandoah Valley and was born, raised and still resides in Strasburg, VA.
Diane’s paintings have an impact on me each and every time I see one of her works on display. I can instantly recognize her work from across the room. Diane’s landscape paintings bring me back to a snapshot of a moment in my life. Being a lover of the Shenandoah Valley, born and raised as well, I recognize many of the landscape paintings at first glance, instantly bringing me back to that moment in time when that view or landscaped was etched in my memory. Her painting of a hillside on Funk Road (on right) reminds me of the many trips back to Deer Rapids to wade the river. Thank you Diane, for capturing the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and keep up your wonderful work.

Enjoy the interview! and remember to show your appreciation to local artists by engaging them on FaceBook, Twitter, Etsy, or simply by dropping them an email to let them know how much you love their work.

Artist: Diane Artz Furlong
City/State: Strasburg, VA

DianArtzFurlong_thumb2Can you tell us a bit about where you’re from, where you’ve lived, and where you’re currently residing?
I’m a Valley girl, born and raised in the small town of Strasburg, Virginia. My family has lived here for generations so my roots are deep. I never really felt the need to move elsewhere. Besides, my muse is here as there is no where else quite so beautiful. My home is in the country, 5 miles northwest of town.”

What type of artwork do you create?
“I am a pastel landscape artist. I paint impressionist scenes of the Shenandoah Valley.”

How long have you been an artist?
“I was born an artist so that would be about 62 years.”

Where do your artistic ability come from?
“My grandfather and one of his sisters both dabbled in art. They painted landscapes in oil and my grandfather also painted a couple of portraits of my mother. Other than their genes, I like to think I channel some of the creative energy left in the world by great artists that have passed on.”

What inspires your work?
“I am inspired by the natural world—the light at sunset and dawn, the shape of a cedar tree, the curve of a mountain ridge, the colors of the seasons. There is so much beauty to see that I never run out of inspiration.”

Where do you create most of your work? At home, in a studio, outdoors?
“I have a large studio in my home and most of my work is done there. I take digital reference photos from locations I’d like to paint, put them on my computer then study them to work out the best composition. I refer to these images while I’m painting but I do not try to duplicate the photograph. Most often, the final painting looks nothing like the place in the reference photo.”

paiinting1_thumb2How many hours a day/week do you spend creating your artwork?
“When I am not painting at the easel I am thinking about painting or thinking about a particular problem within a painting or thinking about a new series I’d like to do or a place I’d like to visit to get some photos. I paint several days a week but also spend time marketing my art, looking for new places to show my art, following up on sales, commissions and shows,and writing in my blog. “

When you “hit the wall” per se, how do you re-inspire your creativity?
“That is interesting because I’ve just completed two demos for a book on that same topic. The truth is I’ve not really had that problem since I began working with pastel but to change things up a bit I like to pull a completed landscape straight from my imagination or , instead of my usual vista-type landscapes, I will pull in closer to a subject in order to reveal more detail.“

Can you tell us about your favorite piece of artwork that you’ve created?
“That would be a piece I did when I was 8 years old. Drawn with crayons on a sheet of paper, it was an image of a gloriously-colored tree in autumn. The tree stood in the center of the paper with nothing else around it, just the earth and the sky. I didn’t’ worry about drawing leaf-shapes but swirled the color around, layer on layer, until I felt I had added all the colors of fall. It was simple and straightforward, something I strive for in my painting today.”

Where do you currently display and/or sell your artwork?
"I currently have a solo show at Art and Dentistry in Bethesda, Maryland. My work can be seen at Cristina’s Café, Hi Neighbor Restaurant, Buggy B’s, the Emporium, and Hupp’s Hill Civil War Museum, all in Strasburg, the Firehouse Gallery and Shop in Berryville, Virginia and the Espresso Bar and Café in Winchester, Virginia."

paiinting2_thumb2What type of music do you listen to? What’s your favorite band or song?
“Here is my latest song list on Spotify: Gotan Project, Leonard Cohen, Gary Morris, Sting, Marc Antony, George Michael, Los Lonely Boys”

What are your other hobbies or interests?
“My favorite thing is having fun with my 2-year –old granddaughter, Isabela Marie,. I also have 5 dogs and 5 cats, and huge rhubarb patch and a growing herb garden. I like to read biographies, autobiographies and memoirs, especially those of interesting women. I like long car rides when someone else is driving, a yearly trip to the seashore, lunches with good friends and long talks with my husband.”

Are you a full time artist or is this more of a passion for you?
“I am a passionate full-time artist.”

Where would you like your artwork to take you in life?
“I want to make art until the very last day.”

What has been your most rewarding experience related to your artwork?
“Having a woman say, after viewing one of my paintings, that it made her feel like she’d come home.”

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