For this month, the Winnipeg River Arts Council features multi-media visual artist, Diane DePauw, from Lac du Bonnet. She grew up in Morris, but moved to Winnipeg where she worked as a teacher.
After fourteen years in Winnipeg, her love of travel led her to pursue a career as an international educator, living and teaching in England, Thailand, Viet Nam, Tanzania, and Venezuela. In summers, she often visited her sister’s cottage on the Lee River. She loved the area and eventually bought a house the town of Lac du Bonnet.
DePauw’s great inspiration is nature and she spends a great deal of time in the surrounding forests. They provide many of the materials she uses, such as pine cones, tree branches, bark, flowers, and leaves. She incorporates these elements into her work, also using acrylic paint, ink- stamping, pencil crayons, paper, and canvas.
Five years ago, DePauw took a two-week course offered by the Model Forest, called “Non-Timber Forest Products.” This course taught the participants how to use natural objects to make artistic creations and other useful items.
Four years ago, the drive to create grew stronger and she started to think about art more seriously. She had already learned plenty from artists who taught in the many schools where she worked, all over the world.
In Viet Nam, she spent more and more time with artist friends, watching them work, looking on-line, and finding pictures of art she liked. She says, “I regretted that the art supplies found in North American stores like Michael’s, were not available to me, but the markets, and nature, provided me with materials.”
DePauw has not exhibited her art, but has given lots away as gifts. She says, “After a career that demanded so much structure and planning, art gives me the freedom to explore aspects of myself that I never knew were there.”