Artist Profile: Diana Trout

Diana Trout is an artist and author of the book Journal Spilling: Mixed Media Techniques for Free Expression. She is also an instructor, teaching classes on-line, on video, and in person. Diana is a contributor to The Sketchbook Challenge blog, and she has her own blog where she helpfully provides Nudges to help readers get their creative juices flowing.

Q: What are you working on right now?
A: I’m working on Moon pieces in different media: 2D mixed media pieces that will include textiles, found papers and stitching. I’m also working on drawings and textile pieces with the Moon as the theme.

Q: What’s your current favorite, can’t-live-without-it supplies?
A: My edited current list: 6B pencils, my orizomegami and suminagahsi papers, shot cottons and vintage kimono fabrics.

Q: What is your least favorite technique that you still use anyway?
A: I’m pretty happy with most forms of art making. I was less patient with things like stencil cutting in the past, but patience increases with age. I used to dislike measuring and I don’t like numbers. At all. To this end, I’ve streamlined just about every measuring job so that there is a “system” in place that I can deal with and shortcuts. My eye for estimating is very well-practiced.

Q: What do you listen to when you create?
A: I like to listen to either music (Josh Joplin, Nelly McKay—mostly singer/songwriter or drum music) or NPR when I’m working. I barely listen to it though, when I’m deep into working. I think the voices are just a comfort. When I’m working at night, I love utter silence.

Q: What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
A: See the stack of books at left.

Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
A: I’d have an emblem on my chest “AW” —Always Wakeful. I really resent having to sleep and am not a great sleeper as a result of it.

Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
A: Murder mysteries and NCIS!

Q: With whom would you love to spend one day making art?
A: Right now, I’d say Eva Hesse. Her drawings make my mouth water, they are so exquisite and sensitive.  Jude Hill’s textile work is drawing me in lately.

Q: What’s the most inspiring trip you’ve ever taken or adventure you’ve ever had?
A: I’m always so inspired by travel. Over the past 10 years though, I’d say Ireland and Vermont. I have sketchbooks from all of my trips but the green and whimsicality of these two places really stand out in my mind.

Q: What’s the last thing you cooked?
A: Squash soup. Check out the recipe on my blog.

Q: What one thing do you want to do that you haven’t done yet?
A: Travel throughout Japan. Mostly for the small fishing villages and the papermaking towns. The simple Japanese aesthetic is very appealing to me. There is a compositional brilliance in the simplicity. My five-year plan is to go for a two-month stay.

Q: If you could surround yourself with only one color, what would it be?
A: Dawn is so beautiful. I know that is a cop-out because I’m only supposed to pick one color, but I never think of colors isolated. I see them only in relation to other colors. This picture was taken out my hotel window while in Connecticut teaching at Art Is You.

Q: What’s the best day you’ve ever had?
A: Just one? There have been so many. The days my kids were born are naturally at the top of my list. My husband and I had a fabulous 5-day visit to Rome where we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. When I asked my husband to help me narrow this down, he said the day the Phillies won the 1980 World Series. Big help!

Q: Do you have a talisman/power garment/ magical thing you wear?
A: I have a real soft spot for white sweat socks. Terribly uncool, but they just feel so right to me. I have to be careful not to wear them out of the house!

Q: What’s your favorite place in all the world?
A: I love mornings on my back porch. I sit on the step and watch the birds and squirrels and drink tea. All seasons.

Q: What’s today’s Word to Live By?
A: Intuit. Today and every day.

Q: When is your favorite time of day?
A: Morning is so full of promise and I feel very energized. This is my best time for working. Night-time is quiet-thinking time so stitching or journaling is very good.

Q: What is your first memory?
A: I have a whispery memory of a gray violet rug, an old woman and an old fashioned secretary desk. I once asked my dad about it, and he seemed very surprised at the amount of details I remembered. When I was about 18 months old, my parents bought a house and we all went to look at it. The secretary now sits in my living room and the color of the rug is completely fresh in my mind.

Q: What’s your best piece of advice for artists?
A: Go with your gut. I try to leave thinking out of the studio and simply work. This is not easy in our product-oriented society, especially if you are trying to make a living. But it is necessary to push your boundaries as an artist. You can find the market AFTER you make the work.

To learn more about or to purchase Diana Trout’s book Journal Spilling, click here.

Keep up with Diana by visiting her blog or her website.


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