Whether it is oil, pastels, or acrylic on paper, canvas, or board, Falmouth artist Diana Lee loves everything about paint and painting—plain and simple. The passion comes from a woman who can’t remember not feeling the pull of a brush. “I never left painting,” Lee says.
When her children were small, she couldn’t work as much she wanted. So, she says, “I would paint at night, while they were sleeping.” Those nights had to tide her over until she could go back to school and earn a bachelor of fine arts. Her earlier training was at the competitive School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. She went on to show in area guilds, including her first major solo exhibition, at the Cape Cod Conservatory in Barnstable in 1991.
Lee’s exuberance is clear in her vivid colors and majestic brushstrokes that capture their subjects spot on in landscapes, seascapes, still lifes, and portraits. From beach scenes with drifting sailboats and playing children, to marshland vistas with grassy knolls and rolling dunes, Lee’s work conjures up the natural beauty that locals and visitors treasure about the Cape.
Today, Lee lectures and teaches summer workshops on painting en plein air and pastel. “When I’m teaching, I’m still learning,” says Lee. Both her paintings and workshops reflect her joy of the natural world. “I’m using the landscapes in a way of responding to nature, how the spirit moves me, rather than thinking about it so much,” she says. Lee often mulls the words of Henri Matisse: ‘to look at life with the eyes of a child.’ “That is my passion,” she says, “to be able to see nature with the eyes of just total joy and to be able to convey that.”
Diana Lee’s work may be seen at Gallery 333, 333 Old Main Road, North Falmouth (gallery333.com), which will feature her work July 18-Aug. 12. Her upcoming shows include two at Cataumet Arts Center at 76 Scraggy Neck Road in Cataumet: the “Summer Group Show”, July 19-Aug. 5 and “Cape Scapes”, Aug. 9-26. Her work also may be seen at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Nov. 28-Dec. 2; and at dianaleestudios.com.