Artists to Watch | Diane N. Eugster

Stories for all seasons

Diane N. Eugster, Season of Hope, oil, 20 x 20.

Diane N. Eugster, Season of Hope, oil, 20 x 20.

This story was featured in the November 2020 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2020 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

FOR YEARS, figurative artist Diane N. Eugster saved a photograph she had snapped in the backyard of her home in Las Vegas, NV, thinking it would inspire a great painting one day. Starring in the photograph is a girl who has wrapped a shawl around her shoulders and face, covering her nose and mouth, as if she’s steeling herself against a chill in the air. “I always liked that photo, but I didn’t know what to do with it to make a painting,” Eugster says from her home in Phoenix, AZ, where she and her husband moved four years ago. “During this pandemic,” Eugster continues, “that shawl around her mouth reminded me of the masks [we are wearing] and of being isolated and holding everything close.”

Seeing her photograph in this new light prompted Eugster to paint SEASON OF HOPE, a work showcasing the artist’s trademark style: strong value patterns, crisp edges, and eye-catching passages of color. “I want a razor sharpness,” explains the contemporary impressionist, “and I love texture and design, breaking that space up in a big, solid way.” The painting, which garnered the Gold Medal in Oil Painters of America’s Western Regional Exhibition in August, also conveys Eugster’s knack for storytelling. Though the scene captures the tension felt by many these days—with the girl’s monochromatic profile positioned among vivid shades of purple and red—the buds sprouting on the tree branches behind her suggest that “there is life,” notes the artist, “and it’s going to come back and flourish.”

In other works, Eugster creates a similar sense of narrative by strategically selecting background scenery, props, and even costumes when conducting photo shoots with her models. Back in her studio, she works with a range of painting tools, from brushes to trowels to knives, achieving a painterly style all her own. Having studied with numerous artists at the Scottsdale Artists’ School over the years, much of her learning came simply by “sauntering around the school” and noticing the diverse artworks being created. “Everybody’s work reflected their personality,” recalls Eugster. “That’s when I realized this has to be me on the canvas. I had to dig down deep. Little by little, I started to express what was in there.” In doing so, she portrays the human experience with moving poignancy, offering viewers compelling stories for every season. —Kim Agricola

representation
Meyer Vogl Gallery, Charleston, SC; Paul Scott Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ; www.dianeeugsterart.com.

This story was featured in the November 2020 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2020 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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