I have always worked with dye on fabric, but I am now experimenting with acrylic and oil paint as an alternative source of colour. In my textile work, I used the dye in a very natural, expressive and abstract way.  It has been challenging for me to translate that freedom into paint, and I am having to learn how to use paint in a traditional way before I feel free enough to experiment.  The great benefit is the option of increased control over the medium as well as the option to rework.

But I am now realising how exacting a medium paint is.  It is a process of looking, looking, translating into a sketch, looking again, making a series of drawings to understand how my brain is selecting particular elements such as details or a colour or subject matter which have emotional meaning.  Then to bypass my brain to discover the underlying structure.


Freud portrait All Too Human TateLucian Freud “would talk about creating air around his figures, insisting that every square inch was of equal importance…”background” …had to be worked at like all else, paint vbeing the means of convinc ing the onlooker that such a sthing as a picture had more solid an existence … than we ourselves, or any old mattress, say.  Any painting not fully charged was liable to end up talkative … not telling”    William Feaver  “I was Lucian’s spare pair of eyes”   Observer 8.9.19

I am struggling with my own journey with this, redrawing and exploring to find the elements in the subject.  It is very hard work.  Lots of drawings to experiment with shapes and lines and tones before I get to colour.  I want to get these pictures beyond figurative, to get them to their elements.  That might mean changing them completely.  It will certainly take time.

Anthony Gormley, sculptor, says on drawing as a method of exploration:

“Drawing is about being with the materials: feeling the skin of the paper absorbing the scrafch of a pen.  In drawing, you can go to places you could never otherwise reach mentally or physically..”

A few weeks later I am looking again at this set of drawings.  I want to go beyond the photographic representation.  That is a challenge, but I want to go through that and engage more with my own energy and the mysterious energy of the subject and the image.  Yesterday I simply let rip with the colours and made an abstract statement that works.  But it is hard for me to work like this all the time.  I need a “plan” or a  “frame”, even if just as a springboard.  Today I used ink and brush to loosen up my engraved perception of the images.

The annual “Horse in Art” exhibition of the Society of Equestrian Artists will take place at Sally Mitchell’s Gallery, The Newcastle Arms, Tuxford, Nottinghamshire, NG22 OLA

Open Sunday 15th  September, 2019 9 am to 5 pm daily. Closes Saturday, 28th September at 3 pm.

I am delighted to be showing two works, one LARGE oil painting on canvas, “Newmarket Morning” (1200 x 900 mm) and one smaller piece “Newmarket Gallops” oil on board.  These were inspired by a trip I made with the Society a few years to Newmarket one sunny autumn morning.   The Society is a marvellous community of passionate horse lovers and artists.


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