While sipping coffee one day, I noticed a piece of artwork that caught my eye. It was a watercolor piece item of the Golden Gate Bridge. While there are many paintings of the Golden Gate Bridge, I haven’t really seen any in watercolor. I’ve always been drawn to watercolor. Mainly because I don’t think it’s humanly possible to use that medium. It’s just not as forgiving as oil or acrylic. Every brushstroke is calculated. Something I can’t do at all.
The artist is Diane Ngo. She is an up and coming artist who once in a while uses her skills to conduct art with a mission. When I look at her work, I get goosebumps as I take a deeper dive into the fine strokes of each piece. She is a self-taught urban sketcher residing in the Bay Area. Her focus is on the lyrical quality of line drawing and color washes. Her sketches capture place, mood, emotion, and energy of that moment. You can find her in local San Francisco coffee shops.
I had the opportunity to dig in a little deeper about her work in this one on one exclusive interview.
EA: What role does the artist have in society?
DN: The role of the artist is to help people think outside of the box and to inspire beauty through their work. It should inspire and promote positive energy and synergy between human kind with their environment or invoke a feeling. Depending on the work and audience this should vary but again should help transport and provide a different experience.
EA: Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
DN: The artistic life can sometime be lonely, depending on which part of the process. Generally, I ask for feedback from other artists on my work to see how the work speaks to them. It’s been a very collaborative process in that sense. However, since my work centers on capturing images in real time, I am generally outside in my environment and often interacting with my subject matter in one way or another. But the work itself is very singular. I’ve countered this by using that time praying as I create.
EA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
DN: Best piece of advice has been to be as general for as long as possible before getting specialized in your field of work. This will allow you to learn more and be open to opportunities that won’t lock you into one area of specialty.
I was curious about the use of watercolor and the limitations. One of Diane’s goals is to invoke movement in her work. Some of the examples of this are in:
- Monochrome Sailboat – Per Diane, this was based on a photograph given by a friend of an actual boat grave yard at Candlestick Bay. I love the angle and movement of the boat in comparison to the tree and shoreline. It resembles life in many ways where at times we can feel that things are out of reach yet so close. The photograph was in color but I did this work in monochrome as part of a new series using only shades of grey and ink. There are hints of light blues and yellow to highlight the subtlety of the greys.
- The Arrival of Sakura – is another piece with great movement. Diane says, “This piece was an interpretation of a cherry blossom tree photograph taken by a friend. The original photograph was darker in hue so my aim was to capture not the light but movement of the leaves. Pink is also one of my favorite colors and the prisma markers & marker paper served as the perfect medium to capture the vibrancy of the colors with the pink/purple contrasting with the blue sky and greens in the background. The details were furthered outlined using Japanese brush ink pen to provide movement and mood for the piece. It’s one of my favorite work to date.”
Take a look at some of her work at http://baolinhart.com