Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!  Thank you for being a loyal reader of my blog!  We have so much to be thankful for, and 2010 will be the most amazing year for all of us.  Believe that miracles can happen and that they can change our lives.  I wish us all lots of love, abundance and memories that make your heart smile.

Life is a special gift -- enjoy it!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Painting a New Series

As we all travel home after the holidays, it is good to remember the times we shared and the memories that will stay with us forever.

I will be back at the easel today and I am excited to paint again with a renewed energy and spirit.

The memories of my time with my family have inspired me and a new series abounds!  

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

Merry  Christmas Eve!  I am waking up with beautiful snow falling!

As I am sipping on my coffee and looking out over the snow, I am reflecting on the Christmas spirit -- the joys of shopping, family dinners and fireplaces are all around me.

I love Christmas and the gifts under the tree will bring lots of joy to their recipients.  Give the gift of love to everyone you see today -- smile -- this is the best time of year.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve

Merry  Christmas Eve!  I am waking up with beautiful snow falling!

As I am sipping on my coffee and looking out over the snow, I am reflecting on the Christmas spirit -- the joys of shopping, family dinners and fireplaces are all around me.

I love Christmas and the gifts under the tree will bring lots of joy to their recipients.  Give the gift of love to everyone you see today -- smile -- this is the best time of year.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Painting Treasures

Three  Days to Christmas!  I am waking up in Boston with Joy in my heart!  

Being with family is the best part of Christmas!  Traveling at this time of year can be a challenge -- yet when you get to your destination -- it is worth the trip!

I am here with my family in Boston with a lot of beautiful snow that definitely says -- it’s Christmas.

Today we will go shopping and find some special treasures to put under the tree and ones that I will later use in my paintings!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Painting Peace

Four Days to Christmas!  I am waking up with Peace in my heart!  
I recently finished the most beautiful painting of my life, “Peace”!  And, in order to paint this classic painting, I had to find the true feeling of Peace in my heart -- I must admit that sometimes it was a challenge, especially after listening to our worlds’ News!

The Golden Light of the lanterns glistens as the two women gracefully look for seashells on the beach as twilight beckons.  The Beach is my favorite place to find solace and comfort and recognize the incredible beauty of our world.

We have to believe that the serenity and peace that we find in life’s  small moments are meant to be felt every day of our lives.

I wish us all “Peace” in our hearts every day and especially now during this special season of Christmas!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Painting a Christmas of Love

Five  Days to Christmas!  I am waking up to Christmas songs in my head!  It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas -- 

I wish us all safe travels, great food and lots of Christmas presents under the tree!

When you buy American made products you are  helping  our economy and the small retailers that we need here in the United States.

A great place to find a special gift for anyone is the Humane Society -- there are so many loving creatures there just waiting for a home and ready to give lots of love.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Painting - Daddy's Home

Six Days to Christmas!  I am getting so excited -- the child in me has definitely come out to play!

And to all of the men and women serving our country overseas, I wish them a very blessed Christmas, and hope that many of them are getting to come home for the Holidays.  My painting, “Daddy’s Home” is a study for a series honoring our military and wishing they would all come home.  The joy that a child feels knowing that his Daddy or Mommy is home!

Enjoy the snow, the fireplace, the hot cocoa and enjoy your family -- Christmas is all about love!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Painting Snow

Seven Days to Christmas and it’s looks like it will be a white Christmas in New England! Yeah!!!  Did you know that each snowflake is different -- isn’t that amazing -- especially when there are so many snowflakes falling -- like trillions!!!!

Christmas is -- a fireplace glowing, a beautiful Christmas tree, presents under the tree and a turkey in the oven -- and of course, the main ingredient -- family.  I will be going to Boston for Christmas and I am excited to be with my family  during this holiday season!

Painting snow is so much fun!  There are so many colors in that white stuff to paint -- there are blues, and yellows and of course, white.  This little girl and I were up in Maine in almost hip deep snow in some parts -- after her brother went inside to get warm, she and I continued down the path with her best friends.

I am looking forward to doing some more “winter wonderland” paintings and discovering the beauty of “Snow”, and perhaps having an old-fashioned snowball fight, and what about you?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Painting Christmas Wishes

Eight days to Christmas!  Painting the themes of Christmas brings out the child in me -- one of the reasons that I love to paint children!  And,  I am reminded of the joy of the season and the anticipation of gifts and candy and fun that abounds!  And what will Santa bring me???

Snow globes are such a delight to children as they see the  magic in globe and fantasize about the Christmas story.   I have been collecting snow globes for years and it was a delight to paint them.

We can all learn from children to find the joy in this season and make a wish of peace for everyone to share!

I did this painting several years ago and it still brings delight to my eyes.

What are you wishing for this Christmas Season? 

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Paintings for Christmas

Giving the gift of love to someone special at Christmas is the best gift of all -- and as an artist, helping a husband or wife surprise their spouse with a painting is soooooooo very special -- I love being a part of the loving surprise !  As I paint the gift, I think of the love that they share and it becomes a part of the work -- it is the painting.

Art brings joy and happiness to our world.  Artists love to create, and even more so, love to sell our creations -- it gives us confidence that our work has meaning, and it certainly helps in the economics as well!

Check out the galleries this holiday season.  Buying American Art  helps the economy and brings joy to the artist and to the recipients!

I am so very grateful to all of my collectors!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Christmas Spirit

Nine Days to go!  Are you in the Christmas spirit yet?  Since this is the season of “Love”, give a smile to all the people you see when you are out shopping.  And when you see those incredible people standing there ringing that “Bell” for the Salvation Army -- please reach deep inside your pockets and find something to give -- it truly helps.

And, you can make simple gifts to give your loved ones and friends, like the hand-painted apron above,  or offer services, like running errands, a foot rub, find something in your closet to re-gift -- we all have gifts to give, and it is not how big the gift is, it is the feeling of love that we share that is the true gift.

Find the child within you that felt “glee” at Christmas -- and give the gift of a Smile!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Painting Red

Painting “Monday Afternoon”

The color “Red” is such a fun color to see and paint!  I love it!  I think that is why Santa Claus wears “Red”!!!  It is the color of love and a color that makes you feel warm and happy.

Late afternoon is my favorite time of day and relaxing on my lawn in the warm yellow light brings out the beautiful reds!  This is my newest painting in my series, “The Red Dress Series” entitled, “Monday Afternoon”.  

Monday, December 14, 2009

Painting Winner

Congratulations to the winner of the painting, Robert Collins!  He has won the painting, “Magical Moments”, 7 x 5, Oil on Board, that I donated to raise money for Amelia’s House in Clarion County, Pennsylvania.

I want to thank everyone who contributed to Amelia’s House!  You have helped to give the residents there  a very merry and happy Christmas.

Here is a note from Sr. Susan Dale:

“I am writing this through tears of joy.   I have received checks totaling over $1,200.00.   I don't know how to thank you.   It is due to you and all my other classmates  and the other contributors that these 3 kids and their mothers will have a Christmas like they have never had before. ACHS class of '67 rocks!!!!!!   May God bless you a hundred fold for your kindness and generosity.”

I think she says it all -- thank you so very much.  I am thrilled!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Painting to See

Painting what you “See”.  Sometimes we get lost in painting and forget to really “See” what we are painting -- I like to spend time just looking at what I am about to paint before I start -- to “see” what I am painting and then visualize the painting before I start.

Every half hour I take a break, wash my hands, and walk back into the studio with a “fresh eye” and look at the painting.  If it works from the door at the studio, I leave it alone.  Then I can see where I need to go with the painting.

I also put my paintings on the floor in front of me while I am doing other things, and just look at them -- always with a loving eye -- to see the beauty of the painting.  By the time I am ready to finish the painting, I can paint it from memory -- and in this way, I am painting from my heart!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Painting Competitions

A great way to get more exposure for  your artwork more is to enter national juried shows.  There are so many of them throughout the United States!  And many of them have some great prizes!!

Remember when entering to follow the directions very carefully as they can be very specific.  And, make sure that you have good quality photos of your paintings -- good color, good resolution and that they are squared off properly.  Usually there is a size restriction for the photos to be entered.  Most of the shows have various categories:  oils, pastels, watercolor, acrylic and even drawing!  This way you can enter several times in the different categories which also gives you a better chance to be accepted.

Some shows even have a mini category which is fun as you can enter those little “studies” that you love.

Be confident in your work, and know that the judging panel is different every time, and one painting that will be accepted into one show, might not make it into another.

My painting, “Little Flower Girl”, 16 x 20 has been in five major U.S. juried shows and just won Second Place in a show in Louisiana.  The other painting, “Garden Magic”, 9 x 12 has also been in five major shows. 

You can find a lot of the shows on-line and listed in the art magazines.  Good luck, and please remember not to take it personal! 

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Helping the Homeless

With winter upon us, it is a great time to remember that there are thousands of people who live on the streets, without heat, without a roof over their head, without money and food -- these people need our help to survive.  Most shelters are full and they struggle just to live!

When you see a homeless person, please find it in your heart to give -- give them money, give them food, give them a warm jacket, and if you have nothing to give, give them a smile and words of encouragement.  Each gift of love that you give them helps.  They want the same things that we want, to be loved, to be happy and to have the comforts of a home.

They are people too -- people who got lost somehow in our beautiful world.

Thank you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Impressionist Painting Demonstration

Diane Leonard is world renowned  for her use of color and light.  In her demonstration she will focus on how to paint using impressionistic techniques with translucent colors  -- you will learn the secrets that make your colors vibrant!

She will also share  her  unique and  breakthrough painting techniques that make her works sought after and highly  collectible.  The demonstration will be on Saturday, December 12 from Noon till 2:00 p.m. at Arizona Art Supply located at 4025 N. 16th Street, Phoenix, Arizona -- for more information 602-264-9514 or email Diane at

Diane will show you how to take your palette of colors to a new dimension.  She will share the secrets of mixing colors that help capture light!  You will learn to use brushes in a new ways!

She has been an instructor at the Scottsdale Artists School for  many years and has written blogs about painting techniques.  Diane is presently working on a video for painting with color that will be available soon.

This Demonstration is filled with lots of new techniques and ideas for creating impressionistic paintings and is loads of fun!  You will leave the Demonstration with a new found passion to paint and new techniques to take your painting to a new level!  And you will rediscover the joy of painting!

Painting A Winner

There are those”special paintings” that speak to us -- they are the ones that are painted from your heart!  You can feel it when you paint it -- the paint is flowing, the colors are singing and you are happy!!  

At the end of the painting day, we step back, smile, pour a glass of wine and look at our work for the day, knowing it was a special day.

And that is the case with the painting, “Little Flower Girl”.  My little model has the most enchanting face, and capturing that on my Ampersand Board was fun and reminded me of innocence -- and that is what I captured.

This painting has been shown in four national juried shows this past year and last night WON Second Place at the Louisiana River Road Show in Baton Rouge, Louisiana!  I was thrilled to receive the notice today, and of course delighted to get the recognition for this painting.  

It not only put a smile on my face, and some money in my pocket, it has given me the confidence and elation to paint today!

I wish us all the feeling of joy when painting.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Painting With Color

Creating color in paintings is so much fun and using color to create light is what I love to do.

I found this hat on the internet and ordered it -- the blue on the hat creates the mood for the painting -- the light shines through and crates a glow.

My model sat in my garden with her glass of wine and the wildflowers that are growing there provided a great background and foreground for me to paint -- and, the splashes of the yellow/orange brought out the blues in the painting.

The magenta gloves added the color to the painting!

I love doing the small apuntes (studies) every day -- they give me the freedom to try new techniques and ideas in my work and they are fun to do!

“A Treasured Moment”, 7 x 5 Oil on

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Painting for Thanksgiving

This is the season of giving --- it’s Thanksgiving.

I have the privilege of knowing Sr. Susan Dale, who is the Resident Director of Amelia House located Clarion County (in one of the poorest counties in Pennsylvania). Susan was a former classmate of mine and I am in awe of her dedication to helping the lives of others.

We are aware of the larger charities --it’s the smaller ones that truly need our help -- in fact, they rely on it.

Amelia House, sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence, provides hope, support and long-term hospitality to women and children who are homeless and/or victims of domestic violence. Amelia House provides services to approximately 20 women and 18 children on an annual basis, and residents can stay for a year or more, if needed. The House addresses the problems and needs of women and children whose lives are threatened by domestic violence and homelessness.

As my way of saying thank you to anyone who donates money to Amelia House, I am give a painting away for free.

This Holiday season help out Sr. Susan and her residents by donating $25.00 or more to Amelia House which is a tax deductible charity. Then simply email me with the word “Thanksgiving” in the subject matter -- If you want to have multiple opportunities to receive the painting, you are welcome to make contributions of a multiple of $25 (five entries for every $100) and just let me know. Thank you so very much for your generosity. On December 10, I will choose a name and someone will own the painting - easy -- simple -- a wonderful way to help others!

Excerpt from Sister Susan Dale -- “The women and children receive the gifts of freedom, renewed self-esteem and physical and emotional healing. Seeing them ‘come alive’ is truly a gift and a blessing for me and makes me believe in the purpose and necessity of Amelia House even more.”

The best part is that you are helping the sisters make the lives of women and children in need a lot happier and brighter for this Holiday Season. They don’t have much, they don’t ask for much -- just a place to feel safe and receive some help. Anything you can give is a huge blessing!

In order to keep the anonymity and privacy of Amelia House, please make the check out to Amelia House and send it to:

Sister Sue Dale, CDP

c/o SAFE

P.O. Box 108

Clarion, PA 16214

Thank you so much! Have the most wonderful Thanksgiving -- I am so grateful to all of the people who have touched my life in so many wonderful ways.

Diane Leonard

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Painter doing Sketches

Sketching ideas in a drawing notebook as they come to you is a great way to enhance your creativity. Sometimes I use markers or crayons to put color in the drawing and then write the concept that I am looking for. This is how I start the process to create a new series of paintings or just one painting.

I carry a notebook with me at all times so that when the inspiration hits (and one never knows when this will happen), I have the idea on paper -- then I find the model to create it, take photos and then paint either from life (my preference) or from the photos.

Sketching from memory is a great way to get your drawing skills working and it is fun!

This sketch started an entire series of “The Red Dress” paintings!

As a Painter, I am always striving to learn and try new techniques.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Painting With Torrit Grey

Every spring the makers of Gamblin Fine Oil Paints create a very special paint called Torrit Grey. Gamblin recycles the pigment dust and creates a unique Torrit Grey that will never be repeated. And, then they hold a Torrit Grey Painting Competition for painters who are challenged to only use Torrit Grey, Black and White! It is a “FUN” to go back to the basics of black and white, and I was very intrigued and excited to do a painting. And, I knew that I had over two months to do it --

I do admit that I didn’t start to do the painting for the competition until a few days before the deadline - okay so I waited -- I even had to go to the art store to purchase a tube of ivory black!

I went through my photos and decided that a Ballet Painting (and I have so many great ballet photos) would be great in black and white. I chose a few ideas and printed some from my computer to paint.

I am known for my use of color, so this was indeed a great respite and a challenge! And, I loved it! In fact, I am now going to do a series of black and whites and then perhaps just add one color! It also got me back into doing ballet paintings which I absolutely love. Did I mention that I had so much fun!

Back to basics -- using the six values of light and mixing the greys shows the values quite clearly -- It is a great way to see light and shadows without worrying about the color.

The Torrit Grey this year is a cool grey, so I rubbed out some of the highlights with my fingers, q-tips and paper towels to show the warm board underneath the paint! I used an Ampersand Gessoed Board. After I let the underpainting dry, I scumbled lighter greys and whites to achieve the effect of light coming through the window on the dancers.

The first painting that I entered is, “Resting”, 10 x 8, Oil on Board, and it sold immediately upon arriving at Ann Buell Fine Art

in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and sold immediately. I sure am having fun now!

The other painting that I entered into the competition is “The Practice”, 10 x 8, Oil on Board and is here in my studio.

I am inspired to do more of the “grey” paintings and have fallen in love with Gamblin Oil Paints!

Wishing you days of magnificence!

Diane Leonard

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Bracelet

A Beautiful Secret Story

If there was ever a doubt in my mind that the universe is made up of miracles -- well, that doubt is now gone.

I had dinner with a friend at a restaurant the other night -- and I had decided to wear a very old, incredibly unique vintage bracelet that my Mother gave me when I was in my twenties -- I have loved looking at that beautiful part of her life -- she had told me that an old boyfriend brought it home for her after the War --

The bracelet has an engraving on it that says, New Guinea, 1945, and is made of coins from Australia! They are a three pence, a six pence and dated 1943 and 1944 -- it is indeed a special piece.

Well, as the night went on, it slipped off my wrist without my knowledge -- I did not know that I had lost it until I got home.

I went to bed telling myself that I would indeed find the bracelet and I starting affirming that I would.

The next morning -- call to the friend, was it lost in his car; no -- went outside and looked on my driveway -- no -- and then I called the restaurant and inquired -- when she told me that no one had turned it in, I told her that I would be driving over to the restaurant myself !

I printed up a few pieces of paper describing the necklace with my phone number -- I was determined to have the bracelet back -- sooooooo -- on the drive over there, I remembered what Rhonda had told a friend who lost his wallet -- to picture it, to feel it and to touching where the bracelet was -- I did that as I affirmed that I would find the bracelet.

When I got to the restaurant and spoke to the woman, she told me that she would post my little signs and that was all she could do -- so, I asked her if I could look around.

I walked to the back of the restaurant where my table was, and there, laying right on that table, right next to wear I had been sitting, was my bracelet -- laid out there, waiting for me to come and pick it up!

Well, I let out a scream of delight and started crying with joy as I walked out of the restaurant -- I am sure that the wait staff thought I was crazy -- I went to tell the manager that I had indeed found the bracelet and I asked her if she had read the “Secret” -- the man standing beside her told me that his friend had read the book, so he came over and I told him the story -- crying again -- my emotions were filled with such joy! It was so great to share a great story with someone who is familiar with the book.

I left with a joy in my heart that will last forever!

Thank you, Rhonda Byrne for being the special woman that you are to this world.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Painting The Joys of Life Series

The “Joy Of Life” series is a series of paintings that captures those moments when we are experiencing that magic and joy of doing what we love -- the simple things - - living life, being human, sharing love and laughter, and especially those tender moments when we are together with family and friends.

The first painting in this series is entitled, “Joy”, 28 x 28 Oil on Linen.

The painting first came to me as a simple idea .... Whenever children and even adults see balloons, they always smile! Then I envisioned children running through the fields with lots of colorful balloons. I pictured sisters holding hands and smiling and sharing those magical moments.

I scouted out a great location to do the photos -- the park near my house. Then I spent a few days watching the light to see what time of day would be best to do the photo shoot.

When the day came to take the photos, I found out that it was also Alexis’ birthday! I was thrilled that she celebrated it with her sisters and me, creating the magic of “Joy” by running through the field with the balloons we purchased at Albertsons --

Oh, and we added some other flowers and a pumpkin too!

When we returned to my house we went straight to my guest room. to select the outfits that they would be wearing. The closet is filled with clothes for all of my models-- in every color and size! Even little girls can be selective in what they choose to wear -- it is important for them to like the way they look, and, isn’t that so for all of us. We usually pick at least two outfits that will give us two different looks for more variety.

Everyone gets the full models’ treatment -- including hair and makeup -- for the little girls, we add a little color to their lips which brings out the smiles on their faces and makes them feel like very special models. Now it’s time to fix their hair. This can include either ponytails or pigtails and even colorful headbands.

With our looks complete, we are now we are off to the park to start taking photos. I have already scouted the location and the time of day that best suits what I am looking for. I chose a place where there would be no trees to get in the way of our floating balloons. We selected several colors of balloons and then the magic just happens. The smiles on their faces lit up the park.

Sisters share a special bond -- a friendship that lasts a lifetime -- capturing that love and joy on canvas is an honor and the reason why I paint!

After perusing through thousand of photos (and this process can take several days), there will be that special photo that just “pops” up-- and the one that captures the “joy” of the moment -- the one that I want to paint!

I usually start with a study of the painting which is where I work out the composition and the colors! And, then, several weeks later, the final painting!

“Joy” 28 x 28 Oil on Linen