Herald JournalHerald Journal, Nov. 15, 2004

Self-taught Winsted artist began career after being confined to a wheelchair

By Heidi Stutelberg

A woman of many talents, Dianne Mahoney of Winsted has kept herself busy since becoming confined to a wheelchair more than a year ago.

She creates watercolor paintings, pin jewelry, and does stamping and embossing, among other things.

It started when Mahoney became bored during her weekly trips to the Glencoe hospital; a trip necessary because of her health.

She got tired of books while waiting restlessly for the Trailblazer Transit bus ride back to her home.

So, she began knitting colorful, fluffy scarves with Fun Fur while waiting.

And, to keep herself occupied at home, Mahoney took up her numerous imaginative hobbies.

Mahoney’s grown children rearranged her home, so her painting and craft supplies could be accessible on the main level.

She often combines her crafts to produce one-of-a-kind works of art and is always experimenting.

While working with her watercolors, she learned to create an airbrush look by painting target-like circles.

Sometimes accidentally, she achieves beautiful effects with a monolith technique. That involves applying the paint on wet watercolor paper, and with extra water, allowing the colors to blend naturally.

Mahoney, then, studies the paint and “finds” a picture in it. She enhances the painting with details to bring out necessary features for a completed scene.

A painting called “Phantom Fish,” which uses the monolith technique, will be for sale at the Howard Lake craft fair.

Mahoney’s inspirational cards, bookmarks, and pins may have stamping, with watercolor painting and embossing, creating her own unique style.

“I get a lot of compliments from the pins. People say ‘You should be selling the pins.’”

She also enjoys painting flowers, landscapes and scenic buildings.

Years ago, Mahoney painted with oils, but found it difficult after starting a family.

“You need a separate room,” she mentioned, because oil painting takes days to dry and much more preparation time is needed than with other paints like watercolor and acrylic paints.

She is self-taught, but also learns various techniques from art books or from the “Carol Duvall Show” on Home and Garden Television, one of her favorite programs. Mahoney even gets inspiration from quilting programs for her watercolor painting.

She will have a variety of art pieces for sale at the Howard Lake craft fair, as well as paintings of poinsettias, Christmas ornaments, and cards.

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