Diane Young

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


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Painting to Printmaking

Taking on a new technique can be good move for exploration, experimentation and rejuvenating creative energy! I really did need a change at the end of 2019 as I had ground to pretty much a halt. Collagraph printmaking is a completely different approach to painting and so now I have two very distinctive styles; painting up until 2019 and printmaking for 2020 and ongoing. Today my work is more textural, incorporating different techniques including monoprinting using dried leaves with nature continuing to be my inspiration.

The Kite below was printed using a mountboard collagraph plate, the leaves are monoprints added after the paper has dried and the bird has a little burnt sienna and yellow watercolour also reflected in small detail on the leaves.


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Paths of least resistance!

So many ideas and so little time! I mean lots of people have ideas and don’t necessarily go with any of them at all, but one of the difficulties of knowing that you are going to create something is ruling out all those amazing ideas other than the one you choose to run with.

I am not suggesting that any idea will turn out well, but the more you that try the higher your success rate, and a lot of attempts end up in the bin along the way!

Also theoretically it is a good idea to go with a theme. Choose an idea and beat it to death, until you run out of steam. All those mistakes and all those gains made with something intentional in mind.

Since this is all theory let me show you some practice! OOPs I have to reveal that I haven’t followed my own advice at all!

I am inclined to representative work, I love making images of animals and birds. But then I can get a momentarily distracted by other ideas I am interested in too and head off in a different direction. I really would like to do a series based on images produced by NASA earth observatory. They have this amazing website of beautiful images from space being continually updated. I am as fascinated by these as I am fascinated by drone imagery of our coastline here in the UK; seeing the landscape from above and then understanding it from the ground is really interesting to me.

The work below is the Arkansas River from space. This sort of work moves me toward the abstract and helps me exercise less restraint on my colour combinations.

NASA earth observatory images here

The original artwork below is £45 for sale online here


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A Day of Play #Peacock #Painting

Playing with paint sounds like fun but for me it usually ends with frustration, perhaps because I am not really concentrating or taking it seriously and I finish up with a number of sketchy paintings which I really do not like.  I have taught myself to try to ignore this feeling as the act of being undisciplined and attempting to have fun leads to discovering new ways of doing things.   So today I have been having some “fun” with textures.

Sketch Painting of a peacock by artist Diane Young


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#Raven #Painting Original #Art

New Raven Original Painting

Here is my original painting which is now called The Gatekeeper in a nice chunky black A3 sized frame, it is a painting of a raven holding a key.    Ravens are a common feature of ancient religion and mythologies from familiars of witches to the supernatural, from the carriers of  souls and associations with good luck, to trickery and foreboding.  According to legend, the  Kingdom of England will fall if the ravens of the Tower of London are removed; care has been taken to ensure that they continue to inhabit the Tower as they have done now for centuries.

Painting framed of a raven and key gothic art by Diane Youn


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Sedna in Animal #Mythology

Stories and Mythology in my artwork

Sedna is mythological figure, a Goddess of the sea for the people of the arctic.

The Myth of Sedna

The young girl Sedna was tricked into marrying Raven, and later when her father tried to rescue her by kayak a raging storm brew and her father threw Sedna in to the sea in order to save himself. Her hands clung to the side of the boat and he beat them until her cold and frozen fingers fell into the sea and became sea mammals. Sedna sank under the sea and was transformed into a sea goddess, able to conjure up storms with her rage whereupon shaman must swim down to calm her by combing her hair.

The Innuits survival is dependant upon the success of their hunting animals.  From this is derived a great respect for the animal kingdom.  Part of the myth is that Sedna holds onto the animals if she is displeased with the people ( so that they will not be successful in hunting them)  and untangling her hair is part of the process of calming her.

From this story I created my image of Sedna with fishes swimming amongst her tresses of red hair, she is looking up to the light of the sky on the surface of the water.   The image at the bottom is a painting done some time later showing Sedna sleeping with three seals.

These three paintings on the left seen below featuring Sedna  are for sale in Studio 71 in Totnes.

Studio no 71 Totnes display of mythological Sedna Artwork by artist Diane Young


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Simple Tastes; Happy Times for a #Cat.

Happy Cat Simba

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a cat…. hey I will just take up this cardboard box in the sun, settle down and not worry too much about anything.  I mean what else is there to do.   Simba loves boxes, the rustle of some cardboard and his ears are pricked.  Such simple tastes and happy times.

Cat in a Box in the garden happy as can be photograph by artist Diane Young


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Stone Circles and Tree Roots

A Trip to Keswick Stone Circle

Gambolling free these ancient stones are set high up in the Lake District and surrounded by a circle of mountains.  They have stood here for generations against all weathers looking at the stars and even putting up with the Victorians chipping at them for souvenirs.

Stone Circle at Castlerigg near Keswick photograph by Artist Diane Young Stroud Manic Illustrations

Castlerigg Ancient Stone circle in the Lake District UK

Here at this little “beach” at Loch Venachar in Scotland the bank of this tree has been washed away by the loch over time.  But look closely what has the tree got suspended in its clutches?

Tree roots and beach in Scotland photograph by Diane Young Artist from Stroud

At Loch Vernachar Scotland UK

Poor old Mr Rock ensnared by the trees roots, the rock might be superior in the rock-scissor-paper game but it does not hold true here.  One presumes over time the water will erode the roots perhaps, but I think that rock has got a long wait for it to be set free.

Nature rock inside a tree photography by artist Diane Young Stroud

Large rock ensnared suspended by a tree.


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Scotland

I spent most of a week recently on holiday in the Trossachs in Scotland.  Lucky enough not to be rained on, nor bitten by midges (timed it just right)  and well able to enjoy the lush countryside, the watery brooks, lochs and dam, and also the broad and mighty mountainsides from the steam ship The Walter Scott on Loch Katrine.  Loving the natural world here, seeing horned Highland Cows, watching scatty curly horned sheep and a rather domineering greater spotted woodpecker, and desperately trying to spot a golden eagle (like I was ever going to LOL).  One highlight for us was a squirrel hide, set up so that visitors to the David Marshall Lodge (a natural park) could witness the antics of the pesky red squirrel, and even four at once at one time!

Ancient Stone Circle near Keswick Lake District surrounded by a ring of mountains

Castlerigg Stone Circle in the Lake District

Red Squirrel in Scotland eating nuts by artist Diane Young

Red Squirrels in Scotland

Mountains and Loch Katrine photo by Diane Young Artist at stroud

Loch Katrine in the Trossachs

Crow in the Car Park reference for art by Diane Young artist

Service Station Crow

Only I could be found taking multiple pictures by the car of a ragged crow at a service station car park for more art reference!

So the perfect location to stay as we did is The Ridings at Brig O Turk, which is in the middle of everything you need whilst in the middle of the lush countryside, with the Ben Venue mountain as a backdrop.  Beautiful walks, the local pub (The Byre) and the Brig O Turk Cafe with legendary cream cakes!


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Time with the Duck in a Jug

Time to make Artwork

You hear of artists taking months or even year or years to paint a  picture.  Obviously they are not painting at it all the time, just as a writer may not be physically writing a novel over that sort of period either.  I have just finished the painting below, but alongside this one I have four other paintings on the go at the moment.  One of these has taken four months or more since its inception before Christmas.  It is now loitering on a table in my studio sometimes becoming buried in paper and sketches, resurfacing to remind me that it still exists and that I need to pursue the finishing touches.  Initially the painting had a lot of momentum, and I have recognised that areas that go slow or even grind to a halt are where there are areas where I was not thorough in my pre-planning.  It is not the painting but the decision making that can take time.  As an artist I might hope that I will find resolve with time almost as if the painting might just fix itself, but  ultimately the decision may have to be forced.

The Duck In a Jug Painting

The Duck In The Jug below was kind of easy.  I had produced an ACEO some time ago along these lines and so I already knew what I was going to do but then I wanted to do a much bigger painting which was a bit more sophisticated and to throw in  the tulips as an extra feature.

And so now I need to get back to some decision making…

Duck in the Jug with Fox Painting by Artist Diane Young Stroud Manic Illustrations


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Commission for Ireland

It was lovely to receive an email from a customer who has received their commission by post today in Ireland.

“The painting has arrived and I am over the moon with it. So pleased. Thank you very much for painting such a great representation of Morgan and the circumstances of his arrival into our lives. You have captured the magic of the evening so well.”

The image has a number of ingredients requested by the client and ultimately the design was agreed upon before starting the painting stage.  A nice thing about this commission was there was no deadline.  This allowed me to think about the best composition using all the things that needed to be in the picture.  The scene was referenced using supplied photographs of the castle, grounds and Morgan himself. This was not a straight forward painting from a photograph perhaps as in a pet portrait, but more a design about an event which led to this dog, an English Pointer called Morgan having a much happier life.

Commission of an English Pointer painting with gold leaf by artist Diane Young of Manic Illustrations Stroud


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Commission

This weekend my focus is on painting a commission.  I am concentrating on this whilst dealing with an ear worm, an expression which does make me squirm somewhat.  I have been listening to the line about not messing with Major Tom from Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes track for several days now.  The painting is going well despite the interference! To my glee there is in fact a true story to this commission about a dog arriving at a castle one night at Christmas.

Below is cropped section of a painting which I did some years ago when I was putting together a children’s picture book idea.  I dug it out of my folder as like my current commission it is a night time scene.  This image was for a story about a jealous kingfisher who steals a peacock’s tail feathers whilst the peacock is sleeping.

I love storytelling whilst painting, whether it be a fully formed story or presenting narrative for possibilities that the imagination can cast from before or after the moment in the painting itself.  Here is a visual excerpt from the Tiny Tale Of Kingfisher.

Childrens books painting by artist Diane Young


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More Lost Things – The Stopwatch

Just a few tiny details to add and my Barn Owl will be completed.

This is another image for my series of Lost Things (along with the Lost Pearl and the Golden Bell) and a continuing theme of gold leaf moons. The captivating Barn Owl.  Both feared and venerated throughout history and a variety of cultures the owl has been associated with both evil and wisdom.  Thankfully superstitions such as its association with witches have died away and we can count ourselves lucky if we manage to enjoy a glimpse of this fascinating night time hunter.

Read more about my story for this image here.

Painting of a barn owl by artist Diane Young of Manic Illustrations