Diana Coonradt named Artist of the Month

DianaDiana was born in Pocatello, Idaho and spent her growing up years on farms and ranches in southeast Idaho and in Salmon River Country. Her constant companion during those years was her love of drawing and books.

Diana filled every piece of paper she could find with drawings, often raising the ire of her parents and teachers. She always had a Little Rainbow Notebook with her which she filled with drawings. Comic books were her first teachers. As she grew older she graduated to Movie Magazines, drawing the faces of her favorite movie stars.

While living with her grandmother in Red Mesa, Colorado her seventh grade class visited an artist’s studio were she was introduced to painting and fine art for the first time. Her imagination soared until entering high school where she encountered an art teacher who, with only a few sentences, killed her dream of being an artist. But, luckily, her inner artist would not let the dream die.

Diana married, had a family and helped her husband support their family in various ways. One day in 1977 she saw an ad in the paper for an oil painting class at the local craft store. On a whim she enrolled, produced a small 3″X 5″ still life (that she has hanging in her art room) and, as the saying goes, the rest is history.

She has not stopped learning or painting since that day. Every time there was a class offered through the high school adult education program, the local galleries or craft shops, she was in it. She bought “Teach Yourself” art books and devoured them from cover to cover. She has studied with Sue Froeher, Darlene Hamblin, Norma Forsberg, Jan Thomas, Diane Turner, both Dan and Ken Baxter, Osral Allred, Carl Purcell, Patty Bingham and Lester Lee; all prominent Utah artists. She has traveled to Jackson Hole, WY; Moab, UT; Spring City, UT; Zions Park, UT and Boise, ID for extensive three to five day workshops. In 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 she was enrolled at Southern Nevada Community College in Mesquite where she continued to improve her skills in drawing and painting.

In Sept. 2006 Diana went from student to instructor teaching her own classes in acrylic painting and drawing classroom maintained by the Virgin Valley Artist’s Association.

Diana has paintings hanging in patron’s homes in Idaho, Utah, California, Arizona and Nevada. Her goal is to continue to learn and improve. She creates in all mediums; oil, acrylic, watercolor, pen and ink, pencil, colored pencil and clay. She enjoys still life, landscape, portraits and pictures that tell a story.

She is a member of the Moapa Valley Art Guild and Virgin Valley Artist’s Association.

She has won numerous awards including the Davis County Fair, Utah State Fair and Western Art Guild Fall Show. In spring 2001 she entered a painting in the “One Foot” Show in Salt Lake City sponsored by the Utah Watercolor Society of an old tractor titled “Out to Pasture”. It didn’t win a ribbon but it was the only painting that sold.

Since moving to Mesquite in 2004 Diana has committed herself to her art. She has entered art works in every Art Show sponsored by the Virgin Valley Artist’s Association winning several awards and in November 2005 she had a one woman show at Mesquite Art and Frame where she sold numerous paintings. She has also painted several commissioned pieces. Her second One Woman Show was held at Galleria Arte’ in February 2007. Several paintings were purchased by collectors. She recently was awarded an “Executive Art Achievement Award” from Black Gaming for a colored pencil painting.

In January of 2008 Diana was made chairperson of the Programs and Partnerships Committee of the Greater Mesquite Arts Foundation with the directive to design and implement an art program to serve the people in the Mesquite community with special needs that are not met by other organizations.

This she did with the “Get Smart With Art / Stay Smart With Art” program for which a grant was awarded from the Nevada Arts Council. The program is still serving the children and seniors of Mesquite.

Diana paints what she finds interesting and everything interests her. She finds great joy in the world around her and is thankful every day for the beauty she sees everywhere. Most people go throughout life without ever finding their true life’s purpose. Diana believes art is her purpose and finding that purpose has made her happier than she has ever been.

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