“I take great joy in creating this work. I want you to feel that same joy in living with it!"

In the year 2000, Dianna relocated from New York City and corporate business life to Walla Walla, Washington and the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Moving to Walla Walla enabled her to concentrate on renewed arts education for herself, accompanied by vigorous art studio output.

Educated primarily in oil painting, in 2011, Dianna’s  discovery of molten beeswax, resin and other mixed media seemed a direct calling for her. Now working primarily with that medium, she has produced seven solo exhibitions and been juried into many national exhibits.  Her work was chosen as a 2016 label for one of the Pacific Northwest’s prestigious winemakers – Woodward Canyon – Artist Series #22.  

Dianna belongs to ArtWalla, an organization supporting career advancement and camaraderie of local artists.  She’s also a member of the Walla Walla Symphony Board, Carnegie Art Center Board and numerous other arts organizations that she supports on an annual financial basis. She believes supporting visual and performing arts organizations is an integral part of her being an artist, whether the support is in a commitment of time, fellowship or finances.  

Woolley’s mission as an artist, beyond the thrill of creating art pieces, is to engage with others who also create as well as those who do not yet create, have always wanted to create or claim that they haven’t a creative bone in their bodies. Her connections through art with clients, future clients or “just looking” clients are important steps in recognition of humanity’s vulnerability, curiosity, and complexity.  Whether one “likes, or relates to, or just can’t stand” a piece of work enables connection.


Artist Statement

Working in abstract imagery is personally invigorating for me.  I find fulfillment and a sense of purpose in presenting stories, images, and my own personal life energy through the intensity of marks and colors.

Steeped in travel experience and literary contentment, my abstract work is often a reflection of continents, islands, rivers and oceans where I’ve both visited and lived.   Knowing that through my art there is a possibility of piquing others' artistic interests or curiosity is a delight for me as a person and as an artist.



About Encaustic Work

Encaustic painting was practiced by Greek artists as far back as the 5th century B.C.  Most of the knowledge of this early use comes from the Roman historian Pliny the Elder whose Natural History, written in the 1st century A.D. was a monumental encyclopedia of art and science. Pliny seems to have had little direct knowledge about studio methods, so his account of techniques and materials is not thorough, but his discussion gives us an idea of its general usage. According to Pliny, encaustic had a variety of applications: for the painting of portraits and scenes of mythology on panels, for the coloring of marble and terra cotta, and for work on ivory (probably the tinting of incised lines).

Wax is an excellent preservative of materials. It was from this use that the art of encaustic painting developed. The Greeks applied coatings of wax and pitch to weatherproof their ships. Pigmenting the wax gave rise to the decorating of warships and later, merchant ships. Mention is even made by Homer of the painted ships of the Greek warriors who fought at Troy. The use of a rudimentary encaustic was an established practice in the Classical Period (500-323 BC). It is possible that at about that time the crude paint applied with tar brushes to the ships was refined for the art of painting on panels. Pliny mentions two artists who had in fact started out as ship painters.

Encaustic and Tempera Encaustic on panels rivaled that of tempera in what are the earliest known portable easel paintings. Tempera was a faster, cheaper process. Encaustic was a slow involved technique, but the paint could be built up in relief, and the wax gave a rich optical effect to the pigment. These characteristics made the finished work startlingly lifelike. Moreover, encaustic had far greater durability than tempera, which was vulnerable to moisture. Pliny refers to encaustic paintings several hundred years old in the possession of Roman aristocrats of his own time.

The Fayum Portraits – Perhaps the best known of all encaustic work are the Fayum funeral portraits painted in the 1st and 2nd centuries A.D. by Greek painters in Egypt. A significant Greek population had settled in Egypt following its conquest by Alexander, eventually adopting the practice of mummifying their dead. The portraits, painted either in the prime of life or after death, were placed over the person’s mummy as a memorial. The custom of funeral portraits did not begin until after the conquest of Egypt by Rome and lasted about two centuries. The portraits represent the converging influence of Egyptian religious ritual, Greek aesthetic and Roman fashions and social ranking.  Many of the Fayum pieces have survived to our own time, and their color has remained as fresh as any recently completed work.

The great period of economic instability that followed the decline of the Roman Empire and the change in cultural values caused encaustic to fall into disuse.  Some encaustic work, particularly the painting of icons, was carried on as late as the 7th century, but for the most part it became a lost art.  It was replaced by tempera, which was cheaper, faster, and less demanding to work with.

The preceding explanation is from the website of R&F Paints, one of, if not the most well respected manufacturers of encaustic supplies in business today.