Artist: Diane Beem

Enjoy the fascinating style of oil painter Diane Beem. The artist shares her story and inspiration.


"Kettle Cove Footbridge", Oil on Canvas, 30" x 42"

“Kettle Cove Footbridge”, Oil on Canvas, 30″ x 42″


ABI:  How would you define your painting style?

DB:  I call my style “Modern Fauvism”. Typical of most painters, I experimented with many styles before I grabbed on to the style that really clicked with me. When I was in art school in the 90s I had taken an extremely challenging Abstract Expressionism course with Pat Lipsky, Abstract Expressionist artist in New York. She greatly influenced not just the evolution of my style, but the way I paint today. I love everything about Abstract Expressionism, but for some reason I just couldn’t find my voice with it. I kept using these dashes and dots in my paintings, and also as hard as I tried, objects kept creeping into my paintings. I really couldn’t go completely abstract. One day she looked at what I was doing and said, “You know what? I think you are a Fauve!” I had no idea what she was talking about (I had clearly slept through that Art History class!).


"Rocks/Trees/Sky, Reid State Park", Oil on Canvas, 30" x 40"

“Rocks/Trees/Sky, Reid State Park”, Oil on Canvas, 30″ x 40″


I went right home and looked them up, getting all the books I could afford. It was a breakthrough that is still going on. An entire world of painting opened up to me as I began to study this movement and the artists that brought it to life. I just loved the freewheeling, bold colors used indiscriminately across landscape and still life. I loved the elements of abstraction that were employed to create a balanced picture plane that was equal to the subject matter.


"Richmond Island from Two Lights State Park", Oil on Canvas, 36" x 50"

“Richmond Island from Two Lights State Park”, Oil on Canvas, 36″ x 50″


ABI:  How did you choose to be a Fauvist?

DB:  Completely by accident as the above story relates, I was really trying to be an Abstract Expressionist, but it just wasn’t working for me. And to her credit, Pat Lipsky was more concerned with her students finding their true voice rather than just doing everything by following. She was ruthless about being honest in your art. I would definitely say that Fauvism chose me.


"Squirrel Point Light", Oil on Canvas, 32" x 44"

“Squirrel Point Light”, Oil on Canvas, 32″ x 44″


Once I started looking at Matisse, Derain, Dufy, Braque, and other artists from the same era, especially Wasily Kandinsky and the Blue Riders, it wasn’t even a question of choice; I had to make this my style. What I connected with on a very gut level was the confidence, the boldness, and the “wild beast” – throw caution to the wind kind of painting that I saw in the Fauves. This is still something that I strive for in my own work. I think I will be striving for that seemingly carefree, loose way of painting for the rest of my life.


"Kettle Cove Evening", Oil on Canvas, 32" x 44"

“Kettle Cove Evening”, Oil on Canvas, 32″ x 44″


ABI:  How are you selling your work?

DB:  I have sold my work in the past through galleries, and now I am mostly selling direct to collectors. People can go to my website to see my work, read my blog and join my mailing list. I also use social media: My Facebook page is Diane Beem Fine Artist, they can find me on Instagram @dianebeemartist. I currently have a show at a beautiful Cafe in Bath, Maine. Mae’s Cafe is an historic building in “The City of Ships” with multiple dining rooms, and absolutely delicious food and baked goods.


"Nubble Light", Oil on Canvas, 42" x 60"

“Nubble Light”, Oil on Canvas, 42″ x 60″


When the owner Katie Winglass called me to inquire about showing my work there I wasn’t so sure, but she convinced me to come and see the space, which is gorgeous, with lots of light from huge windows and 10’ tall ceilings. I also learned that Dahlov Ipcar showed her work there regularly, so I was sold! Bath has a third Friday Artwalk during summer and Fall, and my next opening will be Friday, September 21st 5-7, so if you are in the area, come and see me!



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