Diann Klink is a Northern California artist who is passionate about abstract expressionism. She originally painted in a realistic style, but now delights in the freedom to “break the rules of realism” and enjoys new discoveries and paths through abstraction. She paints and draws with acrylics, inks, oils, oil pastels and charcoal to explore all facets of our physical, emotional, and spiritual environment. Diann was born in Akron, Ohio; lived for awhile in Colorado; and currently lives in San Jose, California. As a child growing up in northern Ohio, there were a lot of cold, snowy days with lots of time for children to amuse themselves inside. Diann and her sister loved comic books…the funny cartoon ones and those that had drawings of TV-stories like the Lone Ranger and Silver, and also the historical novels that were put into comic storyboards like “The Tale of Two Cities”. They would spend hours with these, and Diann started copying the cartoon characters, then the more realistic figures. She was very shy and spent more time watching than talking. She became intrigued by people’s faces in her father’s “National Geographic” magazines and used them for practice drawings. As Diann grew older, she began to discover the work of other artists, her first love being Michelangelo. His sculptures were agonizingly beautiful to her. That led her to other artists like Bernini, DaVinci, and Rembrandt. Even though she had several devoted art teachers in high school, Diann is mostly self-taught. She fondly remembers her first art instructor who taught students not just the practical art methods and techniques, but more importantly, how to see the world and all the variants of colors and shading. In addition to charcoal and pencil drawings, she had experimented primarily with oil paints in Ohio but hadn’t yet taken her art seriously. Diann grew up in a very provincial family, where women were expected to become housewives, teachers, secretaries, or nurses–definitely not artists. Rather than pursuing her art, she trained for office work and continued drawing and painting as a hobby. It was in Colorado where she moved in her early 20’s that Diann discovered oil pastels. She loved holding them and being aggressive with marking and using her fingers like a palette knife to smooth the colors and blend them. It was a very tactile way of painting, similar to charcoal, that appealed to her. Her charcoal and pencil portraits led to a number of commissions, as well as featured artist in an exhibit of portraits at Colorado Women’s College. A commission for portraits at a high-tech firm in Denver resulted in a full-time administrative job that gave her more financial stability, but she had less time to paint. Diann still had a dream to pursue her art full-time when she retired, but she temporarily put aside her paints. In the mid-1980’s her work transferred her to San Jose, California. During the “dot.com” bust, she was laid off for an extended period of time and took advantage of the opportunity to begin painting again. Even though Diann eventually was employed in another office position, she continued to fit art into her life. She exhibited several portraits of elders in a special group art show at a local law firm. She also received special recognition and awards for portraits (both animal and people) in online galleries. It was in 2016 that Diann discovered her love for creating abstract paintings. Her first abstract painting was called “Stuck”, reflecting her frustration with creating yet another realistic painting of a rose, something she would say could just have easily been created with a camera. There was something missing in her artwork–it felt stale and boring. She felt discouraged with herself and started blurring out the image of the rose and letting her feelings emerge in a barrage of strong strokes. There was a sense of tight energy with the small painting. Her second abstract painting was titled This one reflects a release of what she was seeing in her soul’s eyes, not just with her physical eyes. All that tight “stuck” feeling suddenly released like letting go of one’s breath in a huge sigh. The painting reflects what looks like a hand opening up and letting go of the flowing colors. In mid-2017, Diann officially retired from office work. Her passion, joy, and what truly inspires her is to join with a painting and let that expressionistic creative spirit take over. Diann loves experimenting with new methods and sometimes creates paintings by combining different media. Most of her abstract paintings have been with acrylics, but she enjoys the richness of oils and often has several paintings going at once while the oil layers dry. Diann continues to receive online gallery recognition for her abstracts, as well as exhibiting her art in the California area. She has received recognition and awards at the Urban Riche Online Gallery, the Contemporary Art Gallery Online, the Light, Space & Time Online Art Gallery and has exhibited at the Triton Museum of Art Community Gallery in Santa Clara,California. What Diann loves the most about an abstract painting is how it can bring out multiple meanings and emotions from different viewers, making a painting very personal to the viewer. It’s exciting to hear comments about what others see in a painting, often something the artist had not seen herself. When asked why she paints, Diann has said it is freedom to explore and celebrate the inner life/soul itself…then to freely and joyously share it with everyone else.
- Megan Shoemaker-Rivkin
- Alison Green