Creative Corner - Diana de Ville - Blog | Keyton

A lifelong love of art

Award-winning artist Diana de Ville’s life of art continues at Coastal Waters, where she’s painting stunning watercolours and teaching art to fellow residents.

School guidance counsellors don’t often advise students to choose a career in art.

Usually, they try to steer you into more conventional vocations. But in Diana de Ville’s case, her talent was clear. As a girl, she was always drawing and painting, and she’d already won accolades in a state-wide school art competition. 

But the life of an artist is rarely straightforward, especially for a young woman in the 1950s. Diana’s first obstacle was her father. He refused to allow her to go to art school, insisting she train as a secretary. Diana took a commercial course and went to work for AMP. But she soon switched to nursing in her quest for a more satisfying career. 

Never losing sight of creative passions

Diana kept drawing and painting throughout her life. She took courses at Julian Ashton Art School and studied watercolour with Lionel Taprell. But she couldn’t fully return to her art until she finished raising her children with her husband Laurie and retired from the family business in 1984. Despite this, Diana never lost sight of her creative passion. 

‘Over the years, I have made it my mission to acquaint myself with a lot of different mediums; pencil, charcoal, oils, pastels, acrylic, and watercolour. Everything I could lay my hands on, I had a go at.’

At the age of 50, Diana took a 3-year art course at TAFE. Now, she was free to paint daily, which she did in her upstairs studio. Diana sold works through local galleries, including the Von Dorff Gallery at Ramsgate, Kogarah Heights Gallery and Articles Fine Art Gallery at Stanwell Park.  

Finding contentment in artistic expression

In 1999, Diana and Laurie moved to Kangaroo Valley, where they built a house and studio with expansive views. The beauty of the natural world draws Diana in. And the abundant wildlife of her new home inspired many works in pastel and charcoal. 

Like most creative practitioners, Diana finds deep contentment and satisfaction in artistic expression. ‘When I’m painting, I’m problem-solving. It occupies my thoughts entirely,’ she says. 

‘For me, painting is a meditation. I just go away to another place, free of all cares and concerns. It’s a great place to be!’

Diana’s work also brings joy to others. She has won awards at the Southern Cross Art Exhibition and several first prizes at exhibitions in Kangaroo Valley, Shoalhaven, and Hunters Hill. Her works hang in private collections and at Shoalhaven City Council. When Diana and Laurie joined the Shoalhaven Art Society, they found pleasure in being part of a larger artistic community. And they volunteered for many years at the Shoalhaven City Art Space.

A lifelong student becomes the teacher at Coastal Waters

After moving to Coastal Waters, Diana had to leave behind her studio. Dispatching with messy oil paints and pungent turps, she returned to watercolours. Diana has settled on floral and botanical art, something she finds delightfully absorbing.  ‘The process is very tight, very detailed and time-consuming, which I love!’

Diana enjoys teaching classes in the village. A lifelong student with a huge collection of art books, Diana enjoys sharing her knowledge and skills with others.

‘For me, painting is a meditation. I just go away to another place, free of all cares and concerns. It’s a great place to be!’

For those interested in learning watercolour painting, Diana has plenty of useful tips. She says buying good quality materials is a worthwhile investment, and patience is key. Diana describes the watercolour journey as an exciting one. ‘It’s an inspiring, unpredictable and sometimes frustrating medium,’ she admits. ‘But if you persevere, the rewards are tremendous.’

Learn more about Coastal Waters, NSW.

For more information about the lifestyle and support offered at our retirement villages, call our customer service team on 1800 550 550

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