Diane Young

Artist ~ Printmaker ~ Painter ~Every Picture tells a story ~ Artwork ©Diane Young


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Painting Stories: Freddie and Digger

So, what is going on in the picture?

Digger the dog and Freddie the Goldfish a painting by artist Diane YoungIf an image captures your imagination you may find your own internal dialogue emerging as to what is taking place in the picture. I make ACEOs with my own narrative  in  mind and often show them to my family and find that they in turn arrive at their own (sometimes surprising ) conclusion as to what they think is going on with the characters in my ACEOs.  

I love to start the story and hope there may be a variety of possibilities for a story to be told.  

Decide yourself what is happening here between Digger and Freddie, and then see below for what I had in mind. My description for this aceo goes something like this : “Digger could not be sure but he thought that Freddie was trying to tell him something…..”

My narrative could have been…. “Looking at Freddie Digger was not sure if Freddie  actually liked him.” but I decided that it would be “Freddie kept glancing at the Fish Food and looking at Digger hoping Digger might take the hint and gives him a little snack!”

Go on surprise me with your story line…..


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Painting Stories – Harvey the Aardvark

Harvey Loves Rainbows

There was something special that Harvey was looking for.  Mouse was hoping that Harvey would find it very soon.

“We need the rain to find one of my favourite things” said Harvey  “There is no other weather that makes something so beautiful.”

At last there it was….

Harvey and the Rainbow ACEO Painting by artist Diane Young

Harvey has been out and about on his antics with Mouse, Digger and other animal characters .  He still has so many things to see and do.

Until next time…..


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Mind shifts and New Paintings of dogs.

It is strange how your mind and thoughts can dance around a subject or a project and produce means or obstacles, pathways to enable action or absolute resistance.  One minute you have one mind set, then suddenly you can see things quite differently and are able then to make a change or take an action that you had not considered before.

ACEO painting of a wolf by artist illustrator Diane Young of Manic Illustrations

ACEO Painting of Wolf Portrait

This process is no doubt with us more often than we realise, but for me produces itself very readily in the light of day when considering the redesign of my website.  I have had a website for many years and it was pretty clunky for quite some time at the outset.  But the amount of times I thought I had reached an optimal design moment were many.  Time passed, my mind shifted, and suddenly it would be made quite clear to me that improvements would yet again have to be made.  In a way it is a little like producing a painting, you think no more can be done, you put the thing away. Then some other time you stumble across the same painting and you can see straight away how to make it so much better.

In all the years I have been painting I could never  for one moment have envisaged making miniature paintings sized at just 3.5 inches by 2.5 inches but found myself having an eureka moment (a sudden shift in thinking!) nearly a year ago after tightening up my painting style, and acquiring reading glasses.  Since then I have produced several ACEO paintings each week featuring funny character animals or more realistic style animals too.  They have been listed and  sold each week on ebay in a special category for ACEO art cards.

A year hence, and I have been wondering how to develop my art further, today a new possibility has surfaced in my mind relating to pets and in particular dogs.   Here is a taster of my current work in progress…..more to follow 🙂

Belgian shepherd dog portrait painting by Diane Young

I really do wonder why my brain cannot follow through in the first instance?  I am sure there is a good answer for this  which at this time is unbeknown to me.

It is of concern that whilst my mind can play tricks on me and  can often ensure that I avoid action or end up procrastinating for what amounts to be in reality no-good-reason at all, but I am grateful that at other times it can reveal fresh ideas, shifts and visions so that even I can surprise myself with brand new possibilities.


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Art, Painting and Unfinished Business

Painting, when to stop….

It happens so often, that artists actually stop working on a painting sometime after the vital moment when they should have stopped.   Spotting the optimum time to stop working on a piece is just so difficult as unless you could see into the future the you cannot anticipate whether your next few painting decisions will better or possibly worsen the painting’s outcome.  For this reason a good many paintings are over-worked and without a lot of experience this optimum moment can pass you by before you know it.

Painting of a wolf by Artist Diane YoungThis is a painting I have been working on today. It takes some concentration to be disciplined in the craft and it is best to work when feeling energised.  Once an artist tires and concentration waivers then sloppy decisions and actions are made leading to frustration and disappointment in the outcome.

I liken this process to swimming.  Whilst striving to get one’s swimming stroke right you need concentration, some discipline and energy.  Once the energy is depleted you fall back on old sloppy habits, inefficiency and then more tiredness is the outcome.   My painting and my swimming can go the same way.   This painting of a wolf is unfinished in my opinion.  It is just a matter of how far past the optimum point I persist…..


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Mouse and Manic Artist in stormy weather!

Here in the UK we are having challenging time dealing with constant rain and stormy weather.  Having just had a day of rain that was the equivalent of the amount of rain for  a normal month things do not like they will return to normal very soon.   Thousands of people are without power and many having to abandon homes and farms where flood water has taken hold across great swathes of land.  I am staying firmly holed up in my attic studio watching the rain lash down across the hillside and listening to the roof creaking in the wind.  I am trying a larger painting and the drawing is under way.

ACEO painting of a mouse sleeping by artist Diane Young Meanwhile amidst the weather and the winter animals which are on dry land continue to hibernate along with us hoping that Spring will arrive very soon.


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Hares – Original animal painting by Diane Young

 King of the Meadow

The hare will be featured intermittently in a series of my ACEO paintings for the beginning of 2014.

This is The King of the Meadow a new painting  completed today.

An original Painting by Diane Young featuring hares.

The brown hare is an elusive animal, I may have glimpsed one only once here in the English countryside in  my lifetime.  So different a shape and behaviour the hare has to the rabbit, it is in fact a different animal.  A fundamental difference is that the rabbit lives below ground and the hare does not, for this reason the rabbit escapes by burrowing and the hare by running with up to speeds of 45mph.  I found very few good videos of hares – so here is one of the best I found of some of a group of hares having fun in the fields of Yorkshire enjoy…


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Creativity for New ACEO paintings in the New Year

My creativity shut up shop for the Christmas period.  I could sense my focus slipping as extra festive activities took hold.   Rather than wrestling Christmas photo of Toy Santabetween the two I gave myself a break.  I let myself off the hook.

Creativity is often seen as an easy kind of self indulgent luxury.  Those that feel they have not been bestowed any creative talent imagine the enjoyment and loveliness of making pictures.   Perhaps it does come easily to some, but I would imagine that like me plenty of artists procrastinate, heading off down the  path of least resistance, that is any other activity except creativity.

Even washing the car has an easily perceived outcome…you wash it, it looks clean.  With shopping, you shop and hey presto you have food you can cook with.  What about a bit of decorating? Assuming you buy the right paint, paint it on in a sensible fashion, the room looks completely renewed.  Having done all these things before there is no real danger of me straying into unknown territory and making a complete hash of this lot.

As for creating art, well only hundreds of decisions have to be made as you progress, tiny but important ones, the outcome of which make or break the painting.  One of the hardest decisions is eliminating your options, what should one do next?   And when things are not going right do you keep on with it or bin it?

Sketches for ACEO paintings by artist Diane Young

So enter creativity as a discipline.  I gave myself a Chrismas break,  now I have to reintroduce my creativity.  Like a daily supplement.  It needs to be rated as essential, like fruit, or vitamins to let it grow, grow, grow.

Today being the first day on my renewed creative path I have gathered some ideas and started on something new.   There are polar bears, hares, wolves and owls, cats and mice.  Harvey the Aardvark is still hibernating, but only for a short while, he will be back soon.

Wishing anyone taking the time to read this a very Happy New Year for 2014.  And for anyone wanting to be creative and not quite getting around to it,  do a little bit each day and make it essential,  just like your daily fruit and veg.


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Santa’s Songbird The Red Cardinal

Two ACEOs inspired by a Poem

Red Cardinal Bird painting inspired by a poem by Diane Young Red Cardinal singing a painting inspired by a poem by Diane Young

The Red Cardinal

I was approached by a poet writing a children’s book using a poem she created about a bright red bird.  She sent me some stanza’s of the said poem and wondered if I might be inspired to create ACEOs with her poem in mind.

The poem “Santa’s Songbird” is about a blessed Red Cardinal, a North American bird rather like the Green Finches of the UK but with feathers of a vibrant red colour.

And so here he is, in all his glory.