Art DeTour, an annual event of Knoxville’s Dogwood Arts Festival has become a don’t-miss-this-if-you-can-help-it tradition for us. We block out this weekend each year because it’s a rare invitation to see the inside of an artist’s studio and get to know artists in our area more personally. For this year’s Festival ’15, we began by meeting Diana Dee Sarkar in her spacious, well-appointed studio on Kingston Pike. And you’d be impressed as we were right when you open the door.
Diana, formerly an emergency room physician, greeted us and walked us through rooms of this office suite turned studio.
The tour became an educational one as Diana shared her techniques with us, teaching us about her media of choice from oil on linen to pastel pencils and even silverpoint.
She’s a scholar of art, even though she began as a self-taught artist. But workshops in Santa Fe, Woodstock, and Foster City, California, broadened her perspective and provided the guidance she willingly accepted. In 2014, she received an MFA in Figure Painting from the Academy of Art in San Francisco.
Subject matter ranges from equine studies to portraits — all capitalizing on the detail Diana deftly manages no matter the medium. In 2011, during a study abroad program with the Academy of Art University, Diana captured scenes of Venice and Florence as well as life in Corciano, a small hillside village in Umbria, Italy, where she lived for two months.
Bigness of heart also comes through. She pointed to Willis, the man in this painting who was touched by rescue efforts for abused horses but had found no organization or efforts on the behalf of abused donkeys. As a result, he began his own charitable activities designed to care for the animals he loved.
Her oils on linen were perhaps our favorite pieces — not just for the textures they offer but also for the bucolic scenery and restful nature of her subjects.
Her philosophy of art is embedded in this quote from her website: Even as a child, I took much pleasure in drawing and painting people and landscapes, and as I matured I realized how important creating art was for me a process of centering and finding a place of joy.
This is one Art DeTour we won’t soon forget.
For more information:
The studio of Diana Dee Sarkar: 6906 Kingston Pike, Suite 203 in Executive Place, Knoxville, TN 37919; 865-603-4465; http://www.dianadeeart.com/