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The Muse's Storage Box

The Muse's Storage Box
Copyright Diane Lou.

Alchemical Dreams and Disparate Realities

Rust and bones, broken toys and old text, game boards, gears and nests. Even as a child such odd, unwanted items evoked a pit-of-the-stomach response that bordered on exhilaration.
While I make no attempt to conjure up specific feelings in the viewer, the ambiguous juxtapositioning of familiar materials creates art that evokes half-forgotten, dream-like visions that beg to be interpreted by the viewer. There is a sense of deja vu (the already seen) tempered by a sense of jamais vu ( the never seen, or the illusion that the familiar does not seem familiar), and this contradiction asks the viewer to dig deeply, to look inside her own repository of wisdom, intuition and experience to find her own meaning in the familiar objects she sees.
The once-private discards of people's material lives that I collect for my art seem to carry universal memories with them, memories that can engage and mystify the viewer. Their beauty lies within the rust, the erosion, the wear, and the mere fact that they were once possessions.
I play with abandon and with no forethought. Each piece of detritus seems to suggest to me a relationship with some other piece, and I begin to put them together and wait for the mental "buzz" that lets me know I am proceeding as I should. Even at this point, I continue to remain in the play state and will not allow myself to direct the outcome of the piece, a process that requires complete trust. The outcome often mystifies me as much as it might any viewer.
Remember when, as a child, whatever was in reach became the instrument of your creative exploration? That is my life. A rusty, flattened piece of metal on the street, a gnawed bone by the roadside, a unique twisted branch from a tree, a fallen nest, a broken egg, a snake's skin, a dead butterfly...all will be added to my collection and eventually have their beauty honored in one of my pieces. The resulting art creates a new story with its own imagined history, one that invites the viewers to lay some claim on it by allowing themselves to be enveloped by the sight, the history, and the ambiguity of the realities before them.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

May Workshop at Keizer Art Association

Nature Collage Workshop
with Catherine Alexander and Diane Lou
“Monarch and Wanderer” by Catherine Alexander
Read Before Cutting” by Diane Lou
About Catherine
As a child, Catherine often drew the flora and fauna of Western
Oregon. After studying fine art at the University of Oregon and Portland
State University, she worked for an art dealer in New York for eleven
years before relocating to Florida to direct a gallery and pen art criticism
for the New York Times Syndicate. After devoting six years to illustrating
orchids at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida, she
returned to Oregon to renew her connection with Pacific Northwest
ecology. She currently serves as the gallery director at the Bush Barn
Art Center in Salem, teaches at several art centers and botanic gardens
and exhibits her work regionally.
About Diane
A degree in art opened Diane’s eyes to the creative world she now
inhabits. From that time forward, artistic expression has filled her life,
whether it was painting, pottery, herb crafting, package design, jewelry
or assemblage. She has taught workshops at a variety of events and
venues throughout the Northwest and her work has appeared in
Somerset Studio, Cloth/Paper/Scissors, Art in Your Pocket, and more. She
shares a studio in the Oregon Coast Range with her husband and fellow
artist, Nils, and their feline collaborator, Flix the cat.
Nature Collage
Saturday, May 28, 9:00am-3:00pm
Keizer Art Association, Keizer, Oregon
Using pressed flowers, leaves, shells and
other natural materials, create a nature
collage incorporating decorative papers,
vintage memorabilia and photos, lace,
buttons and other found objects along with
botanical drawings or mixed-media paintings.
All skill and experience levels welcome.
Optional supply list. (Basic materials will be
provided.) Bring a sack lunch. To register,
visit or call
This workshop will be team taught with
Diane Lou, noted assemblage artist and


Carol said...

I'm green with envy. This looks such a great workshop, do wish I could be there. However, I'll be watching to see if you tell all about it.

Diane Lou said...

Wish you were here, Carol! It would be such fun!!..and yes, I promise to tell about it and post pictures (however, I am notorious for forgetting to bring a camera after I pack up everything else) :0)