Diana Horowitz | Painting Advice and 20th-Century Influences


By Judith Fairly

New Jersey from the World Trade Center (oil, 16x16) by Diana Horowitz


For many years, Diana Horowitz rode her bicycle to lower Manhattan and painted views of the city from the observation deck on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center, first as a graduate student and later as part of a studio program. After the Twin Towers fell in 2001, she scouted around for a new location from which to paint and eventually landed on the 48th floor of the newly reconstructed 7 World Trade Center (WTC), where she has a 360-degree view of the city. “I’ve had an affinity for high vantage points for as long as I can remember,” she says. “I think that’s because of the way things become more abstracted.”

To learn more about her artwork and process, see the September 2011 issue of The Artist’s Magazine. Click here to find out more about the digital issue.

Read below about Horowitz’s 20th-century influences and advice to art students:

Advice to Art Students
“Squint, stand back from your paintings often, don’t sit while painting,” says Horowitz, “and read Hawthorne on Painting.”

Charles Webster Hawthorne (1872–1930) was an American portrait and genre painter and founder of the Cape Cod School of Art in Provincetown, Massachusetts. William Merritt Chase was one of Hawthorne’s teachers; Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) and Edwin Dickinson (1891–1978) were both Hawthorne’s students. His advice to art students includes the following:

• To see things simply is the hardest thing in the world.

• Paint what you see, not what you know.

• Realize the value of putting down your first impression quickly.

• See what you can do with your daring with color and your ignorance mixed with it.

• Swing a bigger brush—you don’t know what you’re missing.


Horowitz’s 20th-Century Influences
Hans Hofmann (1880–1966) was an influential artist and teacher whose work synthesized traditional methods and avant-garde concepts. He famously declared, “Eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.” Hofmann’s passion for nature pioneered a new type of landscape composed of the tension between its space, form, color and planes rather than the objects themselves. (“If an object creates space, then light creates form. Light makes color in nature, but color creates light in painting.”)

Richard Diebenkorn (1922–1993), an American painter whose early work has been described as a bridge between Henri Matisse and Abstract Expressionism, is best known as a member of the Bay Area Figurative Movement in the 1950s and 1960s and in particular for his Ocean Park paintings.

Charles Sheeler (1883–1965) was an American painter and photographer whose meticulous linear renderings of the urban landscape, particularly of factories and machinery emblematic of the Modern Industrial Age, presaged the Photorealistic movement of the 1960s.

Edward Hopper (1882–1967), an American painter and watercolorist known for his careful geometric placement of human figures in proper balance with their environment, derived his subject matter from the common features of American life and from rural and urban landscapes.

Diana Horowitz received her BFA from SUNY-Purchase and her MFA from Brooklyn College. She has taught drawing and painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Tyler School of Art in Rome and at Brooklyn College. Horowitz is the recipient of numerous awards including an art residency at Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and her work, represented by Hirschl &Adler Modern in New York City, has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions across the country since 1985. Her work is in the collection of the Brooklyn Museum of Art, the New York Historical Society and the Museum of the City of New York, among others. View her website at www.dianahorowitz.com.

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