Greg Poole (1960-2018)

Greg Poole was a wildlife artist who drew from memory and feel rather than than from traditional realism.  The latter is often the accepted way of drawing animals.  Instead Poole practised a “subjective realism”, drawing his subjects as they were and as he experienced them.  He found art to be “the only release for what nature stirred in him” (Tim Dee).  He was trained as a zoologist but found himself overwhelmed by what he experienced during his field trips.

“I was with one other ornithologist (in the Canadian arctic) … hundreds of miles from the nearest people… Icebergs offshore, caribou migrating, arctic fox on the neighbouring ridge and all kinds of exotic birds in this near 24-hour clear light.  It was sensory overload and I did not know what to do with it.. I made the resolution to find a way of expressing what I was seeing as soon as I returned to Britain.”

Sadly Poole died far too young.  Read his obituary:


I was so interested to find this article because I also draw and make art from feeling and experience, and particularly horses are a thrilling subject for me. But so often the custom is to honour the animal with a very precise drawing or painting.  This obviously is how some people prefer to work, but I agree with Greg Poole that it is the sensory and energetic impression and the essence that is vital.






I was interested to see how Hans Hofmann influenced Lee Krasner, when I saw the exhibition of her work in the Barbican recently.  I am curious to know more about Hofmann

Here is a statement of his approach when he opened his first school of art  in Munich (2015).  It explains the relationship between the artist’s inner nature and the need for or experience of study.

“Art does not consist in the objectivized imitation of reality.  Without the creative impulse of the artist, even the most perfect imitation of reality is a lifeless form, a photograph, a panopticon.  It is true that, in the artistic sense, form receives its impulse from nature, but it is nevertheless not bound to objective reality; rather, it depends to a much greater extent on the artistic experience, evoked by objective reality and the artist’s command of the spiritual means of the fine arts, through which this artistic experience is transformed by him into reality in painting.  Creative expression is thus the spiritual translation of inner concepts into form, resulting from the fusion of these intuitions with artistic means of expression in  a unity of spirit and form, brought about by intuition, which in turn results from the functioning of the entire thought and feeling c omplex accompanied by vigorous control of the spiritual means.  Imitation of objective reality is therefore not creation but dilettantism, or else a purely intellectual performance, scientific and sterile.   A work of art is, in spirit and in form, a self-contained whole, whose spiritual and structural relationships permit no individual parts, despite the multiplicity of depicted objects.  Every independent element works against the spiritual context, and makes for patchwork, reducing the total spiritual value.  The artist must therefore learn the spiritual media of the fine arts, which constitute its form and fundamentals.  The artist must create his particular view of nature, i.e. his own experience, be it from nature or independent of it.  Through these realizations the assignments of the scholastic years will be clearly understood, ensuring the further development of the artist, who must then detach himself entirely from schools and directions and evolve a personality of his own”

P 9 Hans Hofman  by Helmut Friedel and Tina Dickey   Hudson Hills Press New York (1997)



Beautiful set up and arrangement of her work, this was a fascinating exhibition showing the development and achievements of a major American painter, who also happened to be the wife of Jackson Pollock.

It is clear that she was highly motivated from the very start


Life drawing

First with academic teacher Job Goodman

Then won scholarship to Hans Hofmann School   “push-pull”  flatness and three-dimensionality    Krasner started to move into abstraction

War Service Windows     20 department store windows promoting PWAP projects

She attended some of the courses and created collages of her photos blended with her own work.


1945 Little images    Detailed abstractions full of intense life and detail

Mosaic wagon wheels  1947  exhibited successfully

1955 Stable Gallery exhibition

1951 Betty Parsons Gallery had shown her  Geometric abstractions – no sales

In her depression she created series of black and white drawings but then ripped them up

These were layered over the B Parsons paintings as collages and then exhibited at Stable Gallery to great acclaim.

1956 Prophecy   After the death of Pollock large abstractions with reference to body and figure (I think)

1957 Night Journeys

Working at night in Pollock’s old studio using just umber because she did’nt like using colour in electric light


1969   The stained hand made paper  (images and description to come)

1970s Palingenesis   Hard edged colour and abstraction

1974  Eleven Ways    Collaging the abstract life drawings done years earlier


My personal view

I loved this exhibition for its story and the beautiful presentation.

To see how Krasner progressed from working in the classical mode to abstraction in her figure drawings, and then in the little paintings was fascinating. The Little Images and the Stable Gallery pieces I also really loved.  They were such strong images and the colours and shapes so tight and right. The Little Images appear to be her breakthrough into abstract painting after years of “grey slabs” if I recall the interview properly.

Prophecy I appreciated because of its distortion of the figure   Yay!!!

I liked the way her thoughts and feelings were described as background to the different series of works, and how she got stuck and then moved through, and was so engaged with the process.

She seemed to be a daunting person, quite abrasive!  Quite hard to watch the interview given at the end of her life.  No longer an attractive glamorous woman, but remaining an intense artist, as was her essence.

I liked the smaller works better than the huge paintings she did after Pollock’s death.  Why?

In her words “You can have giant physical size with no statement on it… and.. you can have a tiny painting which is monumental in scale”

Maybe I could appreciate the earlier stages because closer to my own experience

I read an article about the Turner prize 2020 nominee and made a special trip to see his exhibition, “Manifestations” at the David Zwirmer Gallery in London.

Murillo works energetically with texture and textile and paint to recreate almost wall sculptural pieces.  He has a brilliant sense of colour and pattern and design, and his work is much sought after.  I myself worked for many years with cotton and other fabric which I dyed myself.  I still get a thrill from using cloth, but I never dared to break the rules as Murillo does in his cross over works.  There is something Japanese about the free mark making in this work.







A series to be of winter landscape studies inspired by my local landscape.  All around 180 mm square and acrylic on stretched paper.

I like to do these at the end of the painting session when I feel the need for a bit of a play!




Back in the studio and starting this series of oil sketches on board from a Newmarket visit with the Society of Equestrian Artists a few years ago.  I am working as loosely as I can here to capture the essential shapes and colours.  Another 9 to go and hoping to submit a few for the Horse In Art exhibition.   I am planning to continue beyond these sketches towards real abstraction.  But first I want to look and try and get these studies into my bones.

#5 is an awkward photo and as yet I have not resolved it as a painting.  I am going to darken the area top right, something wrong, too much detail, wrong tone.  The red tree so important to the whole thing.  I did not realise this until I had stopped painting today.  I went back and altered it.


My 2020 calendar is now ready for sale in the shop or from me directly at events throughout the summer.

There are 12 beautiful drawings and paintings, one for each month, and you can choose from two different covers.

Diana Hand calendar 2020 Horse in Blue cover Diana Hand calendar 2020 Rosie cover Diana Hand calendar 2020 indexDiana Hand calendar 2020 March

Plum tree and wall oil painting Diana Hand

I am showing work at my own studio VENUE 35  from Monday June 10th to Sunday June 16th between 12 pm and 5 pm each afternoon.

I LOOK FORWARD TO SHOWING YOU MY NEW WORK!  This will include paintings and drawings from recent exhibitions in Edinburgh and Dunblane as well as current equestrian paintings and drawings.  Also a range of beautiful cards, mugs, prints and my new calendar for 2020.

Green oil painting by Diana HandPlum tree in light oil painting by Diana Hand


Dancing in the street Mixed media on canvas 800 x 1000Ghost drawing Charcoal on papeer 330 x 500 mm

Newmarket oil painting by Diana Hand Dawn Riders Charcoal and paint on board 400 x 300 by Diana HandRoaring Red Acrylic on board painting by Diana Hand

I am looking forward to this year’s Forth Valley Art Beat  

I am showing work at the Westmossside Art Collective (VENUE 35) based on my experiences of working in the Flanders Moss area every day.  This year I have been inspired by a visit I made on Christmas Eve, 2018, when the whole area was transformed by an intense frost.  I have done my best to convey this experience by a series of small oil sketches, each 150 x 150 mm.

I shall be showing paintings of a different kind in my own Studio (VENUE 37) on the south side of Flanders Moss.  Find out more here

Christmas Eve 1 oil sketch by Diana Hand Flanders Moss Christmas Eve 3 oil sketch by Diana Hand Flanders Moss Christmas Eve 4 oil sketch by Diana Hand Flanders Moss Christmas Eve 5 oil sketch by Diana Hand Flanders Moss Christmas Eve 6 oil sketch by Diana Hand Flanders Moss Christmas Eve 7 oil sketch by Diana Hand Flanders Moss Christmas Eve 4 oil sketch by Diana Hand Flanders MossChristmas Eve oil sketch by Diana Hand Flanders Moss



Rites of Spring Acrylic on canvas 700 X 500 mm

I am fascinated by the human body, and how we use it to communicate via subtle signals and energy.  I have attended dance workshops which focus on this kind of choreography and I wanted to work with these ideas.  My starting point for this exhibition was a workshop I went to at Siobhan Davies dance centre in London  late in 2017, and the work and ideas of Matthias Sperling.

Recent life studies form the basis of my work in this exhibition.   have been studying the human form for several years, and have a large collection of studies. But they are academic, and  I was amazed at how dynamic these initially static poses became when grouped together and overlaid and combined with memory drawings of movement.  I was inspired by the techniques and drawings of Degas and Rodin, who worked in this way, and it has been a different and very liberating process for me.

This has been an exciting project.  I wanted to combine science and art, but there was not enough time for the research.  I then allowed my body to direct the work, which was mind blowing.  Accessed massive energy and did a whole series of drawings before backing off to reflect.

Final stage were some small colour studies in effect close ups of the larger pieces, again a revelation.  The freedom and energy carried on into these studies towards abstraction .

The exhibition consists of a selection of drawings and paintings generated by this project.  I would like them to convey just a few of the moods and energies that we can share.

This exhibition is the beginning of a new thread in my work, and I would like to thank Dunblane Museum for the opportunity to develop my practice.


A BREAKTHROUGH EXHIBITION!  Finding my human identity.  Now I am exploring further.  Last month I was at Nottdance 2019, curated by Matthias Sperling, and this month I shall be at the Edinburgh Jam weekend, also exploring different ways of communication through the body.