Artist Diane Weinerman’s Works On Display At NE Mpls Library

Diane Weinerman calls her artwork “odd” and “non-traditional.”

She began painting 35 years ago, at age 44, while living out West in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Inspired by Indigenous artwork in New Mexico, the Jewish artist felt compelled to pick up a brush herself. Now, she has extensive collections of colorfully-painted canvases and furniture.

An early painting inspired by Santa Fe artwork. (Photo courtesy Diane Weinerman.)

An early painting inspired by Santa Fe artwork. (Photo courtesy Diane Weinerman.)

Initially, Diane didn’t think she could be an artist. It took her six months to apply paint to canvas, despite noticing inspiration all around her in New Mexico. Diane began her artistic journey with acrylics on canvas and furniture, but recently decided that watercolor was her medium. Eight years ago, she began watercolor classes and never looked back. 

“My use of watercolors is non-traditional since I apply many layers of paint to get strong colors,” Diane says. “But watercolors have an essence that I like and don’t feel acrylics have.” Diane’s pieces are notably very colorful, and display her inspirations in an exciting and maximalist manner. She divides her paintings into two main categories Odd Villages and Impressionistic Food, all drawing from her daily inspirations.

Diane’s inspirations include cookbooks, magazines, photography, and art books. In fact, she likes to leaf through the cookbook section in libraries, looking at the photographs taken for the recipes. For her Odd Villages collection, she drew inspiration mostly from another artist: Cezanne. Diane calls his landscapes “wonderful,” but thinks: “Cezanne would be a bit perturbed if he knew he inspires something so quirky.” 

"Odd Villages For Odd People" by Diana Weinerman.

“Odd Villages For Odd People” by Diana Weinerman.

However, inspiration isn’t always easy to come by. Diane notes that there are times where she waits weeks for inspiration. Occasionally, she’ll scrap a few paintings before an idea really takes off. 

Still, Diane manages to paint and curate beautiful collections of “fanciful food and odd villages for odd people.” She believes that she’s done most of her painting since retiring from her job as a social worker with Hennepin County seventeen years ago. Diane’s work has been featured in Coffey Hall at the University of Minnesota, as a part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI), in the Phoenix Theater, and in the Edina Senior Center. Diane also participates in exhibitions for artists with disabilities, like those held at the Northrup King Building. 

Now, she is displaying twelve paintings at the Northeast Hennepin County Library. Hennepin County libraries feature Community Art Displays, selecting smaller-scale artworks from community members. These exhibits aim to highlight community artists with “limited access to exhibiting their work,” as well as create an artistic space to amplify diverse voices. Diane herself stumbled across the library’s program in an article, which called for neighborhood artists to apply for exhibit slots, and she was ultimately selected. Diane’s exhibit will include pieces from Odd Villages and Impressionistic Food, as well as a couple of individual pieces. The exhibit can be viewed at the Northeast Hennepin County Library through May 31.