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Stopping by the Studio: Elaine & Dianna Daly

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January 2015
by Peggy Farrell

Today I had the pleasure of interviewing noted North Shore artist Elaine C. Daly, and her artist daughter Dianna Daly. Dianna is mainly a watercolorist, but also works with textiles and as a three-dimensional artist. Elaine works in watercolor, acrylic and pastel. She is also a sculptor and even finds time to tap dance.

Elaine and Dianna, when did you first become interested in art?

SONY DSCElaine: My father bought home some scraps of paper and took out an Indian head nickel and proceeded to draw on the paper, I was fascinated watching it take form on this blank paper and knew that I wanted to learn to draw, from then on I did portraits of everyone I came in contact with starting with my family and girlfriends. When I was 10 or 12, I started learning to sculpt using bars of soap. My first endeavor was sculpting the family cocker spaniel. Nowadays I spend around 2 hours a day in our studio, in Salem, creating my paintings and being with my daughter who shares the studio space with me.

Dianna: I enjoy water color and working with material. I always knew that I would be an artist, from the time I was very young and put small holes in eggs drew out the inside and used the unopened but empty egg to make different shape heads, my family ate a lot of scrambled eggs. I come to the studio as often as I can between work and family.

What is your belief in art as a component to living?

Elaine: I believe everyone should take at least 2 years of art. Art teaches you to see your surroundings. Several years ago the state gave a grant for artist to teach teachers, I was one of the artists that was chosen, and assigned to work with a 7th grade history teacher. Like many, the teacher and students all were not artists so they were skeptical about the program. Many students have a hard time learning from a book but when shown a picture it becomes a visual image of the subject.

The teacher was teaching about the American Indian. I taught them how to express themselves and learn through art and by the time the class was over the children and the teacher were drawing and enjoying the learning process. I made them a believer in the program. No matter the subject, art can be used as a teaching implement……in math each color on the color wheel is a number and has a value. So there are very few subjects that we are taught in school that art cannot be a useful tool.

Dianna: It should be taught in every school, it could be on a small scale or an afterschool program, and people may have to volunteer to help out. To volunteer makes you feel good it is something we all should do.

What can we do to support the appreciation of art in town?

Elaine: More teachers to instruct and educate, starting in the schools.

Dianna: Get out and make it more available to take lessons, more artists to volunteer their time doing workshops or demos to the larger audience make it more accessible.

Who is your favorite artist?

Elaine: My favorite artist…I was always more in awe of the sculptor. Until I saw the Turner exhibit at the PEM. How Turner showed his emotion in his work, for those that saw the show in the last room when he was looser and freer some of his paintings took on an abstract feel…..He was an abstract painter before his time. I also think that Jamie Wyeth was a better painter than his father, that he had the better brush strokes, it is exciting to see his work.

Dianna: Georgia O’Keefe, I admire her life and how she lived it, also the Mexican artist Freda Kahlo, you should go on the internet and look at her work.

Finally how does art help you as a person?

Elaine: You learn to appreciate your surroundings, living in Marblehead is a wonderful place for an artist, I also credit Beverly Seamans for encouraging me to be a sculptor, plus I totally love what I do.

Dianna: I don’t know I just can’t imagine my life without it, I can’t imagine anyone without some form of the arts in there life, whether it be visual or preforming. I have done film making, performed with the modern dance company of Boston and of course my art work. It is who I am.

Where we can see your work?

Elaine: Right now I have a solo exhibit at the Bank of Gloucester on Main St, Gloucester the reception is on January 17th, from 11 to 1, and the show runs until the middle of March during banking hours. I will also have a show at the U.U. Church in Marblehead on Mugford St. This show will be in May. In Aug. at the MAA will be with my critique group the show is called “ArtWork”…   I also give classes at the MAA presently the Feb class is full…..there is no date set yet for the next class. I am also available to do commissions you can reached me by e-mail at elainec.daly@gmail.com you can reach Dianna at diannadaly@gmail.com