Friday, August 31, 2012

Words To Live By

Value your instinct for beauty.
Take time to look deeply into whatever nourishes you.
Create small touches of beauty wherever you are.
~Stephanie Dowrick

If we focused as much time on sharing our joys, rather than dissecting our ailments, what a beautiful world we would live in.  What a wonderful example we would set for all of those around us. Spending our energy on activities that nourish us has the ripple effect of nourishing those around us. I'm always in a better mood, able to cope more effectively, and be far more present with my family when I have taken the time to nourish my creative soul!

Finding the time to create is always the hardest part, but learning to create for the sake of creation is the key. Doing it despite our busy lives, learning to work quickly yet with meaning, filling pages of a sketchbook or journal with memories of a moment.  Small touches from a brush, quick splashes of paint, fast unstructured scribbles can go a long way to adding beauty to your life.

I'm thinking about this because I've had a lot of invitations and requests recently to produce new online classes, deliver studio masterclasses, and exhibit my work.  It's so humbling, yet sometimes very overwhelming.  I have very limited capacity as my focus is still squarely on my family.  But finding the right balance of projects for my artistic endeavors is so rewarding. And so it has me thinking about where to focus my efforts in the coming months.

Right now I am trying to narrow down my online class offerings for the coming new year.  I've been overwhelmed with requests for new classes and can't decided which ones to focus on.  Therefore I am sending it out to the Universe, and to you.  What type of online classes would you like to see me offer next year? I have several classes currently in the works, but I want to narrow my focus.  Some of my new classes (not yet complete) include:

The full program of "Wisdom Circles".  I offered a splinter from this class as part of "21 Secrets" this year.  The full program focuses on a journey of nurturing and honoring our beautiful selves within the mystery of mandalas.  It uses myth, legend, and meditation to guide us through a sacred journey of self-awareness, self-acceptance, and wisdom. Working hrough a series of exquisite creative projects that uses an array of mixed media and artistic techniques to create deeply personal and meaningful mandalas.

"The Art of Luminescence" is an online class that focuses on techniques for working with shimmer, glitter, sparkle, and shine.  It combines many of the watercolor techniques from my "Mastering Twinks" class, and the acrylic techniques from my "A Taste of Silks" class.  This class will introduce participants to a wide range of luminescent, sparkly, and shimmering mediums, and explore techniques and projects for creating exquisite shimmering art.

In addition to this online class, "The Art of Luminescence" will be running as a one day studio master class in 2012 and 2013, the first of which is scheduled for November 17, 2012 at The Gallery Off Broadway in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. (For more information on this one day masterclass and accommodation packages, click here.)

"Water-Soluble" is a class that will take you on a journey through beautiful water-soluble mediums.  We will play with all things wet including watercolor paint, watercolor pencil, water soluble crayons, pastel, oil sticks etc.  It will be a fun, fluid, freeing experience with color and liquid.

"The Art of Art" is a skills class for beginners that will introduce the basics of everyday creativity.  We will explore the art of drawing, sketching, color theory, and painting techniques, including watercolor and acrylic. We will play with a variety of mediums, create fun-filled projects, and explore easy to learn exercises. We will learn about the sketchbook, working on paper, as well as large format canvas.

"Sketchbook Secrets" is a class that will take you on a journey through sketchbook and journal art.  Using a series of creative prompts, and mixed media, we will explore different techniques, styles, and process for building creativity into our daily lives.  By creating moments, capturing feelings, interpreting experiences, and honoring  memories in our sketchbooks, we will give life to our creative souls. 

My current classes, "Watercolor Pencil Workshop", "Mastering Twinks", and "A Taste of Silks" will all be available again in 2012. For information of the scheduling of these classes, click the "WORKSHOPS" tab at the top of this page.

So, I'm asking you to give me your opinion and choices.  If you could choose to take any two of my new class offerings (not including my three current classes), which ones would they be??  Is there something you would like to see from me that I have not included here?

So this piece called "Grapevine" was done in Twinkling H2O's. It is 5x5 and is available for purchase as a matted, or unmatted print. Email me for more information.

Thanks for checking in. xx

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Note For You

It seems very few of us practice the art of sending a thank you card any more.  In these crazy busy times it's all too easy to send a quick email or text message.  But to me, there is nothing more exciting than opening the mail box and seeing something in there other than bills. Nothing is more thoughtful and simple than an pretty, hand-written, thank you card.

Since as long as I can remember, my mother encouraged my sister and I to sit down and write thank you notes for the smallest of graces.  It became a thing for us...collecting beautiful notes cards, finding just the right ones and sending them to each other.  My sister, even now finds the most uniquely, beautiful, and always glittery note cards.  They are works of art and I have a pin-board dedicated to them.

My daughter has inherited this trait.  She LOVES writing notes cards for all sorts of occasions.  Right now, she's into creating her own cards, that way she can put on them exactly the right picture for the occasion.  But more than ever, she loves getting them.  They sit on her dresser for months.  She's always telling me that we should send a thank you card to someone.  Yesterday she told me we needed to send a thank you card to the mail-lady for delivering our mail.  It guess it was that funny little comment that prompted me to share these cards with you.

I have created a "Summer Florals" collection of blank note cards from some of the pages of my sketchbooks.  They are happy and bright, and my daughter helped me pick the images. These cards make beautiful gifts, or as the perfect thank you card.  There are only a limited number of sets available, which contain five cards, each with a different image and white envelope. They are $15 a set, plus postage. 

If you would like to purchase a set of these lovely satin finish, floral note cards, please email me direct. I accept PayPal for secure payment.  And remember, you can also purchase single image or bulk, high quality 5x7 note cards of any of my works, from my shop at Fine Art America. If there is something you love that you don't see in the shop, email me and I will upload it for you.

Thanks for checking in xx

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

When Artists Cook

I've introduced you to the amazing Jennifer Mclean before from Just Add Water Silly.  She was a guest on my series An Artist You Should Know in May of this year.  To read all about her, click here.  When I first conceived this series, Jenn was a natural choice as a contributor.  Her world is so energized and interesting and I'm agog at how much this amazing woman manages to juggle.  On top of all her art and blogging commitments, Jenn has recently been made contributing editor of Featuring Magazine. It's a huge honor to have Jenn as part of this series and I know you'll enjoy her art and cooking as much as I do.

Hi my name is Jennifer McLean but you can call me Jenn, all my friends do. I'm thrilled to be part of Dion's "When Artists Cook" series. What a great idea, to start a series about the influence of artistic temperament on how one makes food, sets a table, deals with a dinner party or arranges one's kitchen. I'll be honest, I'm a freakishly organized artist. It's not my general nature, I'm naturally chaotic, messy and ridiculously disorganized. BUT, I'm so lucky to have been raised by a logical and highly organized mother who taught me at her knee about how to fight against my natural tendency to be a scattered artistic type.


My kitchen is organized within an inch of it's life, ;o). All the containers are labeled using my Brother P-Touch label maker and cooking directions are taped to the back. Every utensil has a place and all drawers are filled with bins to separate and organize all the stuff. Even the dreaded plastic drawer is organized by size & type of lid. It's disgusting, I know. I blame my mother. Hehehe. (Thank God for her linear thinking mind and organizational skills or I'd lose my head somewhere between breakfast and page 4, as they say.) Now, please understand, the organization does NOT extend to my mind, lol. Therefore, when I'm in the middle of doing something like cooking or painting I'm scatterbrained, like many artists are when they work. I think it adds to one's creativity though, to allow one to come up with inspirational ideas.

Artist: Jennifer McLean Title: "An Apple A Day"
I recently found out I'm sensitive to gluten so my entire diet had to change, taking all wheat and wheat based products out. This has led to me being even more creative in the kitchen because beyond the Celiac symptoms, I'm also allergic to a myriad range of other things. For instance, I can't eat apples and since apple juice is a great sweetener and applesauce can be used as a substitute for fat, lowering the fat content on baked goods, I had to think creatively. I use mango juice instead and I make my own pear sauce (peel pear, crush, boil. Done.) I love to think outside the box when using any recipe. In fact, I don't know if I ever just use a recipe as written! It's kind of like trying an unexpected color in a painting when I add a tweak to a recipe. Speaking of recipes, I begged my good friend Tracey Fletcher King (also a contributer to this lovely series) for her mushy peas recipe. I've heard so much about Mushy Peas as I watch Coronation Street and I so totally needed to try them! I also love to paint peas, they're so round and abundant and of course, there's the color green, one of my favorite colors. The recipe is so wonderfully easy peasy (Ooh, bad pun, Jenn!). Here it is...
Mushy Peas

Artist: Jennifer McLean Title: "Peas Please"
Ingredients: a bunch of fresh or frozen peas a couple of garlic cloves a few peppercorns butter lemon juice fresh mint salt & pepper Directions: 1. Boil some salted water and throw the peas in with the garlic cloves and the peppercorns. 2. Let boil until peas are soft. 3. Drain very well. 4. Add the butter (to taste), mint and a splash of lemon juice and blitz it with a hand blender or something similar. 5. Add salt & pepper to taste. Serve hot. Tracey suggests pairing mushy peas with salmon and I thought that sounded delicious as salmon is one of my very favorite proteins. I have a drop dead fantastic and simple recipe for salmon. Here it is...
Salmon With Mustard Dill Crust

Internet Photograph
Ingredients: salmon fillet Dijon mustard (I prefer Grey Poupon) dried dill weed Directions: 1. Heat oven to 350ºF. Cover your pan with foil and spray with cooking spray. 2. Place salmon fillets on your pan and slather with the Dijon mustard. Sprinkle generously with the dill. 3. Bake your salmon for a short amount of time, enough to just cook it, about 10 minutes. 4. Place mushy peas in the middle of the plate and carefully place fillet onto mushy peas. Serve with brown rice cooked using vegetable stock instead of water. DONE. :o) If you'd like to visit me just click over to Just Add Water Silly, I'll make sure I have the hazelnut coffee on and a fresh batch of gluten free chocolate chip cookies ready for guests. It was such a pleasure to join Dion and the other contributers in this series. I'll see you again next month! Best,


Jenn's Blog:
Jenn's Etsy Shop:
Jenn's Email:


Monday, August 27, 2012

Giveaway Winners

I'm so very excited to announce the winners of my "Art of Dion Dior" giveaway.  Thank you so much to everyone who LIKED my new Facebook Page, or visited my shop at Fine Art America. I'm thrilled to say that I have had some wonderful orders, and some unexpected commissions.  I feel so very humbled by your support.

The three winners who will each receive a matted 5x7 giclee art print of the work of their choice are:

""First Chill" is my favorite :) Your drawings are very beautiful!
Congratulations on you new venture, wish you happy sales!"

Congratulations Lariata, you will receive a 5x7 matted art print of "First Chill" (above)
Liz Raward
Ohhhh how beautiful*swoon* I'm in love with "ice crystal". I have a 12 year old artist in my home and it's so inspiring to know that like yourself, artistic control does not need to leave his hands. Good luck with your new venture, I'm sure you will be very happy :)

 Congratulations Liz, you will receive a 5x7 matted art of "Ice Crystal" (above)

"Love your work! Liked your FB page. "Winter Green" Spoke to me the instant I saw it. Thank you, Dion, for the opportunity to win one of your pieces."

Congratulations Sue, you will receive a 5x7 matted art of "Winter Green" (above)

And as an added bonus...because last Friday was my birthday and I'm late in drawing the winners of this giveaway, I've decided to choose another winner:

"Congrats Dion Dior! I am so happy for your new venture! Love you're art work! <3 I am so happy that you created an art page on Facebook. I love your creations and treasure your art work. I love the 'Autumn Glory'! Beautiful art work! ;)"

Congratulations Elizabeth, you will receive a 5x7 matted art of "Autumn Glory"
Could all the winners please email me at diondior(at)yahoo(dot)com

Thank you again to everyone who entered and for all the lovely comments you left on my blog.  I have another wonderful giveaway in the coming weeks.  This one will be a collaboration with another artist, so stay tuned.

Hugs xx

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Words To Live By

"Completely true to nature! -- what a lie:
How could nature ever be constrained into a picture?
The smallest bit of nature is infinite!
And so he paints what he likes about it.
And what does he like? He likes what he can paint!"

~ Nietzsche

You tell me you can't draw.  I tell you that you can!

The art world is an amazing mix of personalities, perspectives, and  impressions.  It's easy to be intimidated and at the same time seduced by what you see.  Easy to be belittled, marginalized, or captured by the art.  But there's something inside you, something that connects to you, speaks to you, embraces you.

Recently I've been reading a lot about realistic artists.  People with such an amazing artistic talent that they can capture an image in paint and make it look so real that it is sometimes confused with a photograph.  Finely detailed, meticulously structured, gently shaded.  I admire the realist, but I don't connect.  Their snobbery and arrogance corrupt their art.  

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a German philosopher, poet, composer, and cultural critic. He wrote about  religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, science, and, of course, art.   He had strong views of those who engaged in the superiority game, particularly the realist painter, as is evidenced by his quote above.

For the longest time, I convinced myself I couldn't draw, therefore I wasn't an artist. But the artist in me kept speaking, and eventually I had to find my own path in art...despite the critics.

To me there is no place for ego in art.  Ego, arrogance, elitism all erode true creativity.  It's passion, emotion, and connection that defines the artist, not the technique or technical skill.  I don't care what you studied, I don't care how long you have been doing it, I don't care how straight your lines are or how real your painted face is, if it's lifeless, devoid of passion, then I don't like it.

I am an artist, I create from the heart, my proportions are sometimes off, my skin-tones are sometimes sallow, my flowers don't always look like flowers.  But still, I'm an artist. You may like their work more than mine, you may prefer their colors over mine, but I will continue to paint anyway.

My passion lies in color, texture, and depth.  My artist eye is filled with shimmer and sparkle.  I know what I like, I know what connects to me.  I don't do it for an audience, I do it for survival.  I simply have to create or I will die.

You are the same, you too are an artist!   Find a way to give your artist a voice, let go of the false truth that you cannot draw, let go of proportion, let go of perfection. Is it color that you see?  Then embrace the colors, push into the texture, fall into the sparkle.  Let your passion fill the page. Pick up a brush and paint...just paint!

But despite it all, you can call me what you like, in the end I am just Dion.

This dragonfly was done from my place of passion.  I have a 'thing' for dragonfly's. The fact that I don't draw them perfectly doesn't matter. When you look at this picture, what do you see?  I'll tell you what you don't don't see perfect proportions, you don't see masterful technique, you don't see realism. But do you see color? Do you see the depth?  Do you connect? 

If you do, then I want you to join me on A Taste of Silks.  This is a class that draws you into color, that  nudges you into texture, that gives your inner artist a chance to embrace the spectrum of expression, and silences your critic.  It is about the freedom of expression, the lusciousness of acrylics, and the dance of shimmer.

A Taste of Silks will take you on an exquisite journey of silky abundance, and I'll take you, gently, step-by-step through the process of creating beautiful art, including this dragonfly.  It's a lot easier than you think and it's not too late to sign up.  

For more information, or to register, click here.

Thanks for checking in. xx