“To do something that I was afraid of when I was younger: now it is more about who I am, when while I was young it was more about achievement“: Diane Page Harper, 49, artist, art student Little Rock, Arkansas
Diane is an art student at UALR. She is studying part time and is working as a medical social worker. She wanted to pursue something new before turning 50. So she decided to study art. “I decided I would have my art degree before I was 50”.
Diane showed us a still life: “This painting hooked me into this freeing approach to painting”. Her professor keeps it at the university to show it in class.
Diane grew up in a military community and she was also very ill as a child. She developed a special imagination that has accompanied her throughout her life. She can make out – not so obvious – connections between people and things. Also did she work in hospice and has experienced sad stories in her social worker everyday life. She even has lost both her parents to cancer. She described her art as: “the content can sometimes be dark”.
Diane’s effervescent grandmother was a big influence; she has been in the French resistance with her husband. She was not the usual grandmother she was French and the narrative Diane grew up with is mystic, intriguing and fun in exotic locals – that is what feeds Diane’s imagination.
Diane’s father was an intrinsic photographer and he got a minor in art at UALR when he was 52. “My father and I, to this day even if he is gone we are pretty tight”.
By the time Diane will be 80, she is hoping to have her own studio and be a painter full time. If she thinks of growing old, “letting go of vanity is a difficult thing, accepting gravity – now it is more about who I am, when while I was young it was more about achievement” The gift of ageing is to see things for how they are. “Not as idealistic but yet not totally cynical”
interviewed: 20. 9. 2011