Ellen Dieter splits her time between San Diego, California and Honolulu, Hawaii. “Living between San Diego and Honolulu, I am always practicing being where I am. Life and art are a journey, contemplating and discovering relationships, going deeper, skimming the surface, there are so many aspects and possibilities of adding to and taking away. We are all connected in some way and I tend to push and pull, battle with the senses and the formats until a place of happy angst is found. A place where I can say, ok, yes. The work/life evolves organically with constant intent combined with reckless abandon. The push/pull of life….”
After studying at The Cooper School of Art and the Cleveland Institute of Art, Dieter lived and studied in Europe for about 10 years. From Joan Mitchell, Kandinsky, and Georgia O’Keefe to Diebenkorn and other abstract expressionists, Dieter was inspired and learned something from all. In 2007, due to health concerns, Dieter left her day job, but quickly found the silver lining in her newfound time to create. It was in this space that Dieter embraced inspiration from both the world that surrounded her and her inner world. She put the two together to create a new personal view. In both her abstract and figurative pieces, viewers enjoy spectacular illustrations of balance, composition, light, color, movement and feeling. Her diverse and dynamic portfolio explores the highs and lows of the human experience in a clear expression of what it means to be alive.
Dieter wants to spark a joyful conversation among viewers. “Sometimes in painting I want to evoke a little discomfort, but mostly my work really is just about the joy of life. There are a couple exceptions that may conjure a sadness in some. But that is life. It isn’t one sided.”
Dieter’s work hangs in public and private collections worldwide. Ellen was selected as a Featured Artist (10 out of 350 artists) for the Mission Federal ArtWalk 2015. Adelman Fine Art represents Ellen Dieter in San Diego, California.
Cooper School of Art, Cleveland Institute of Art, Les Arts Appliques a Paris.
Q & A With Ellen Dieter
AFA: You work in 2 studios – Hawaii and San Diego. What are the main differences in how you feel when you are working in each of those places?
Ellen: There is a difference in feeling! It’s hotter in HI so I feel more enclosed in a way. I have a bigger expansive studio in San Diego. There’s a more inner meditative feeling in HI. San Diego is more like “let’s do it! and throw paint.”
AFA: You use a mixture of media and sometimes use apparently discarded items in your works. How do you go about choosing items to incorporate into your paintings, what is the criteria?
Ellen: I choose from what’s around me. I save stuff, like cardboard and rope and misc things. I’ll be painting and I’ll remember while I’m painting and wonder how it would look, so I play. It’s always somehow related to the painting depending on size, shape, and color. In the new red painting (Sunrise Ruby), there’s a piece of paper on it and the square is a duplicate of the canvas square. It relates to the outside boundaries of the canvas.
AFA:How does your personal history work its way into your work? How are YOU reflected in your current work?
Ellen: My personal history does work it’s way into my work. What I paint always has to do with something I have experienced, whether its abstract or representational. My sister tells me that my paintings are much happier than they used to be. The color that I used to paint with were a lot darker and now they are much happier. I must be in a happier place!
AFA: What are you presently inspired by – are there particular things you are reading, listening to or looking at to influence your work?
ELLEN: I am inspired a lot lately by color and values of color and how they react to each other. From the plein air workshop, they focus on color value a lot. I like to read biographies and autobiographies about peoples’ lives.
AFA: What ‘themes’ seem to occur or reoccur in your work?
ELLEN: Horses, the man and the dog, the colors the shapes and the lines are very similar. Organics vs. geometrics.
AFA: Do you have a motto or mantra that drives your life and work?
ELLEN: Like Nike, Just Do It! Let go. Continue to let go. Its ok. believe in yourself. Keep pushing.
AFA: Beatles or Bob Marley?
ELLEN: Bob Marley was my first answer but I am really more Beatles. I think of myself as a hippy, I love jamaica, but I’d probably rather listen to the Beatles on a more regular basis. I feel more comfortable and happy. I was never able to dance to reggae.
AFA: Grab the book closest to you – go to page 18 line 4 and what does it say?
ELLEN: “….told his students to simply open their minds and relax. If….” Pema Chodron “When Things Fall Apart”
AFA: Total gratuitous last question – What do you enjoy about showing your work at Adelman Fine Art Gallery?
ELLEN: The Adelman women….I love you girls! The energy of the gallery with everything has such a good feeling about it. When you walk in it’s warm and welcoming 🙂
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