Dianna Shandorf received degrees in Studio Art and Art Education from the University of Minnesota, and taught K-12 art for many years in St. Paul, Minnesota. Her main interest during this time was in ceramics, but she also studied drawing, printmaking, paper and fiber arts. Her discovery of the pastel medium in 2004 completely changed the focus of her work. She exhibits regularly in the Twin Cities and in Southwest Florida. Her work has been accepted in national and international exhibits, and she is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America.
I have worked in many different visual media but have always been drawn to those that have tactile qualities and color potential. Through work in ceramics, printmaking and fiber arts I developed a deep respect for craft and attention to detail. But long before these experiences, I loved to draw. Pastel combines the hand-to-paper directness of drawing with limitless color possibilities. Discovering pastel gave me a way to simplify the process of creating art. No highly technical methods or equipment are necessary, and there is no waiting for paint to dry! Pastel reflects light brilliantly, is tremendously versatile, and one of the most durable mediums if protected under glass.
Nature’s complexity and abundance provide unending resources for painting. I spend a lot of time observing, sketching and photographing potential subjects for paintings. Though I mainly am a studio painter, I believe it’s critical to know the landscape well and experience it in different weather conditions and times of day. Living in Minnesota and Florida, I can explore the different qualities of light and color in each climate. Though it is usually necessary to adjust reality to some degree in order to create a strong composition, I want the paintings to convey something true about the subject and my experience of it.
Whatever the subject, its visual, emotional and symbolic qualities all play a part. The challenge is to simplify what is at times overwhelming into a coherent and believable composition that can be enjoyed for its own sake.