Marilyn Diggs, Artist
by Elizabeth Willoughby
As a preschooler in America, Marilyn Diggs used crayons to illustrate music coming from the record player. Today, her work is included in seven museum collections in Brazil, Finland and the US.
She's an art teacher, cultural events reporter, museum guide, art lecturer, author and illustrator of art history books and museum guides for children, including a Vatican-approved one. Plus, she's zigzagging across the oceans, from South America to Europe and North America, answering invitations to showcase her oil canvasses as guest of honour at art exhibitions.
Marilyn Diggs shares her thoughts and dreams with WorldGuide:
on what makes an artist...
I agree with the philosophy that a real artist must be able to do three things equally well: still lifes, landscapes and portraits, and I have always worked towards that goal. Portrait drawing is often considered too difficult to tackle, but if you learn to see correctly, all objects, including faces, are equal. No amount of paint will make a portrait resemble your subject if you don´t know how to draw.
When you do a portrait, you also want to put a person's soul into it. You want to capture something about that person, not just what you can see. Ideally, the subject will first pose, allowing the artist to study expressions before paint even touches canvas. After that, there are many ways to capture the essence of a person in a portrait: the secret is in the eyes - they really are the windows to the soul; the mouth is the second consideration; the director of a company is painted from one angle (looking up), while a child from another (looking down); light and colour create moods, and so on.
With still lifes and landscapes, the "soul" translates into what the "star" of the picture is. The star receives special attention, like colour emphasis, contrast and/or detail. Even with a vase holding flowers, for example, there is one flower that should call more attention. It is the same with landscapes. Artists know where the star should be placed in the composition to gain attention.
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