Name: Diana Sartor

Studio Location: 25 Wells Lane, Charlestown

Current/upcoming exhibits: Current: Holiday Fine Arts Show-DeBlois Gallery, Middletown, through Dec. 24; Holiday Gift Show, Mystic Museum of Art, Mystic, Connecticut, through Dec. 23; Avondale Arts, Watch Hill, through December. Upcoming: Block Island Airport Gallery, Summer 2018.

Website: dianasartor.com

What is your background? I graduated from the University of Hartford, Hartford Art School, cum laude, with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, majoring in painting. I’ve always found the need to create in some way throughout my life – crafting, stenciling, faux painting and gardening. Upon retirement, my husband and I fulfilled our lifelong dream to live by the water and moved to coastal Rhode Island. Once settled in our new home I had the luxury of time to pursue my painting. I began to investigate the local art scene, connecting with fellow artists, and built a lovely studio overlooking a salt pond. The creative spark was reignited.

Why create art? I find painting a joyful way to express my feelings. I take an intuitive approach to painting. The impressions I carry with me spill out in lush hues and spontaneous shapes. Color is a dominant element in my paintings. Watching the bloom and interaction of colors find their way around the surface of a lovely piece of watercolor paper in unexpected ways is reason enough for me to paint!

What is your preferred medium? Why? Artists inks are my first love. The vibrancy of these intensely colored inks cannot be matched, in my opinion. My paintings begin with a rush of excitement, pouring and spritzing inks on water-saturated paper. I use various materials as a resist, hand-painted stencils and acrylics to complete my paintings.

How would you describe your work? My work is mixed media. Abstract or organic, my paintings are noted for their sensuous color. The organic paintings celebrate my love of nature. Simple shapes, veining of leaves and the rhythms I observe always draw me in and are a constant source of inspiration. My abstracts give way to colorful explorations where I delight in spontaneous mixing of colors and shapes. Abandoning control is freeing!

Whose work do you admire? Why? I admire many artists for different reasons. Masters such as Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, Helen Frankenthaler, Gustav Klimt, to name a few. A current artist who inspires me is American painter Brian Rutenberg. I find his use of color, yummy application of paint and the scale of his work exciting.

If you could experiment in another medium, what would it be? I think I’d like to play around with pottery. The tactile quality of the clay, squishing and molding it in your hands is tempting.

What is your dream project? I’m currently considering developing a series about connections. This is a theme that flows in and out of my mind and one I’ve explored before. Maybe it’s my age, but I find the connections and ties that mix and mingle, interweave and bind us together important. It’s a theme beckoning me to explore further.

What do you do when you’re not making art? I find great pleasure in my family and close friends. Living on the coast brings lots on fun-filled summers enjoying our family with boating, fishing and water sports of all kinds. Oh yeah, I love to dance as well. Working out several times a week for sixteen years with the same group of terrific women, I get to move and be silly! Don’t have to act my age. Yay!

What are you most proud of? Why? I’m most proud of my sons and their families. Together with their wives and growing families, we get to take pride in all their accomplishments. Involved with everything from track, acting, horseback riding, football, singing, softball, skiing, etc., they delight us with their talents, interests and dreams. Love ‘em!

Do you have a favorite local art spot? The Velvet Mill in Stonington, Connecticut. Home to lots of talented artists and interesting small businesses and restaurants. My affection for the Mill stems from my twice-monthly meetings with my Salon “Sistahs.” Salon is a group of four women who’ve met for seven years to celebrate our artistic trials and triumphs. A valued and treasured source of support for me.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists? Develop your craft, then find your unique identity. Once found, stick with that identity. It will provide you the most joy.

Artist Profiles feature area artists and craftworkers, highlighting their backgrounds and creative projects. Profiles run periodically in the Arts & Living section. For more information, or to recommend an artist, email artsliving@independentri.com.

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