Diana Magnuson, An Artist Who Illustrates
CONTACT: 1- 906-362-9386 & magnusondiana at gmail dot com
BFA: Art and German; minor in Education
Gustavus Adolphus College, MN
MFA: Illustration/ Syracuse University, NY
Member: SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and PBAA (Picture Book Artists Association)
‘Magnuson’ is Swedish. ‘Gunvaldson’, my maiden name is from above the Arctic Circle in Norway. However, the Celtic half of me dominates. Drizzle and temperatures between 45 and 75 suit me just fine. PBS movies filmed in the British Isles give a sense of previous knowledge.
Childhood: My teacher/air force/part-time farmer father gave me leftover ‘lightly used’ school papers for drawing. But, according to my mother, my first painting was finger-painted on the wall with my diaper contents.
Over seven moves with my parents and five siblings, I collected dogs, cats, chinchillas, birds, baby chicks, hamsters and a kinkajoo. Summers on my grandparents’ farm in the Minnesota North Woods meant riding broomstick hobby horses deep into the forests and swamps; (Why does one not remember mosquitoes as a child?), picking berries, pin-feathering chickens for the pot and sneaking an unsuccessful pig ride (pigs spin in circles). Drawings of Peter Pan and every wild animal possible, wolves being a favorite, filled those recycled school papers. Tackle football, baseball, tree climbing to see into Far Far Away, falling off buildings and jumping onto surprised horses –injury-causing by the way, filled my days.
Today: My studio is one block from beautiful Lake Superior. There are bugs to carry you off and my favorite: thunder storms. If it’s going to hit -40 in winter, snow is the lovely and necessary accessory. My writer/ counselor/clergyman husband also has his office in our home. Daily we share life insights and cups of tea. ‘Going Green’ is our goal. Garden weeds are now native plants and organic really does taste better. To our daughter Samantha and son Joshua; you and yours are the joys of our lives.
Children’s illustrations: These bring me into the world I’m painting: the textures, the characters. I smell the forest, touch the beaver and run with wolves. I sense their thoughts. I fly and swim under the sea. My fingertips know the bear’s teeth, lizards skin, the bark on a tree. Sometimes the image draws itself. Sometimes we argue –a lot. If the character is to be happy, I think and imagine happiness. If it’s sad, I feel it too. Good thing no one is watching. (course with drones out there…)
Allegorical Realism: Living with a host family in Germany for one year as a student and teaching in Tanzania mid-college enriched and inspired new thinking and extrapolations. My culturally-assumed ideologies broke open, expanding to a much wider platform. Life is a never-ending, unfolding mystery.
I feel I can join or keep nature alive in drawing/journaling her fine details. My concerns weave themselves into the image.
My work blends social and cultural observation with emotional response. Mythological themes resonate. Mind-Traveling, I immerse in and search subconscious and collective memories. A good journey.