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Seeking Innovation & Creativity with Diane Rae

Next year, it will be 40 years since I graduated as one of the first students to receive a graduate degree in studio arts from the University of Toronto. I didn't really get going until 1989, when I made a breakthrough with a larger than life series of self portraits called “The Handma(i)des".

Diane Rae painting with acrylic at the On Site Art in 2020 in Nanaimo British Columbia
Diane Rae, On Site Art 2020

For many years I was involved in arts organizing in Vancouver, so much so that it took over my artmaking. It was in Vancouver that I began carpentry work on a heritage B house. I moved to Vancouver Island in 1999, and spent the first 5 years mostly in retreat, making art and completely restoring one of the original houses at Sproat Lake.

After selling that house, I made a third attempt at building what I hoped would be artist studios on a C1 heritage property in Greenwood BC. The timing for the project was wrong and I have had to wait since 2007 to turn my plan into reality.

I came to Nanaimo in December 2014 and my late spouse and I worked on turning a fiberglass fishing vessel into a liveaboard. I started displaying my art and rock jewelry at farmer’s markets in 2007 and I continue to do so today.

On Site Art, a public art project saw it's first year in Port Alberni in the fall of 2014. Since then, it has been in Nanaimo. From 2016 to 2019, it took place at the North Nanaimo Library with a small group of artists. Another group also started up at the Harbourfront Library. For the past couple of years, the program has gone back to it’s roots of being in a different location for a 12 week period.

I have completed several series of artworks over the course of my lifetime. These artworks range in size and in the number within the series. I work mostly with acrylic on canvas, but I also have an interest in 3D mixed media art. My artwork has fluctuated from abstract to realism, with the hope that one day, I would find a bridge between the two art forms. In addition, I consider my lapidary and canvas jewelry to be wearable 3d art.

Left to right: 'Prairie #1' and 'Prairie #2' by Diane Rae, Acrylic on Canvas

Recently, I was sorting through old photos and was intrigued by some photos taken when I lived for a couple of years north of 60, in the prairies. I wanted to use an abstract application that had the capacity to capture the sense of vastness and the importance of horizon during “Astronomical Twilight" of summer, when there is some light in the sky, but the sun is 12 to 18 degrees below the horizon. Small abstract horizons became the result of this curiosity. The pieces are all made by selecting the paint colours first. A dab of each pre selected colour is put on the canvas and mostly painted using a palette knife.


'Prairie #1' and 'Prairie #2' by Diane Rae are currently available for sale in our online gallery, to purchase click here

Diane Rae was our spotlight artist in our members newsletter, she answered our Proust questionnaire! Artist Spotlight

To view more work by Diane, please check out her website and social media


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