Artist Statement

First and foremost art is about having fun by creating. Most of my work never feels quite finished to me, as I enjoy adding to and embellishing it. Experimenting with new materials and techniques and making things up as I go are essential elements of art for me. 

 

As a horticulturists and long, long time gardener much of my work reflects my love of plants, the natural world and taking care of our environment. Recycled materials (rust, copper) and natural elements (leaves, braches and natural fibers) are typical of my materials. I enjoy photography and manipulations on the digital images to achieve abstracts that show a different side to nature.

 

Dave and Diane, after 40 years of marriage, have long combine artistic endeavors that often involve Dave being the fabricator and facilitator for the numerous public arts projects that Diane conceives using material remaining from his earlier career as a contractor. Diane loves to select her favorites from Dave’s photographs, get them printed and work with him in framing them. 

What led you to the kind of art work that you do?


As a small child growing up in Texas, I was always collecting strange things and putting them together. Out walking with my family, I would find a rock with a hole in it and a little while later some dried, sun-bleached seed heads. A little snipping here and there: suddenly I had a nature sculpture. Odds and ends of metal, glass, and wood intrigued me and played a role in my imagination. Shelf fungi from a dead tree attached to a board and framed with barn wood decorated my walls in graduate school. But I was never an artist. My art teacher in grade school made sure I knew that, because I painted my flowers blue and, as she knew there was no such thing as blue flowers, she completely rejected my efforts at art. (Shall I give you a list of blue flowers?)


My deepest love and thus professional pursuit was growing indoor plants, annual and perennial flowers. This, combined with a desire to help people, led me to the exploration of horticulture as a therapeutic tool and horticulture education for the public, two areas alien to horticulture degrees, which I pursued. So I guess I have always been the odd one in what I did. I moved to a little house in the country between Blacksburg and Shawsville, from the Washington D.C. area, to begin my career as a faculty member in the Department of Horticulture where I was a state Extension Specialist in Consumer Horticulture responsible for starting and developing the Master Garden Program in Virginia; sharing gardening information via weekly a radio program and newspaper column, monthly newsletter and computer posts for people state-wide; and, providing training and support for the 35 consumer horticulture agents around the state. I taught several horticulture classes, including Horticulture Therapy and focused my research and graduate student program on horticulture for human health and well-being. My work focused on finding ways to help anyone and everyone in Virginia recognize that green-thumbs are an integral part of who we are as humans. You just have to find the right plants to reach your potential as a plant lover. The ability to grow plants is genetic – it just takes a bit of motivation and support from those who have developed the skills. Just like being an artist –or would I be wiser to simply call both skills being a “creator”?