Fine art and the Grateful Dead may seem like unusual bedfellows, but they play in perfect harmony for Austin artist Diana Greenberg. Her abstract paintings use color and movement to capture a host of eclectic influences, whether invoking classic rock tunes, Austin’s abundant hiking trails or traditional Japanese kimonos.
We chat with Greenberg about her creative process and diverse inspirations, from the essential soundtrack of her studio to the timeless advice of poet Rainer Maria Rilke.
What’s your creative process?
Every painting starts with a color story, like an object, a person or something I’ve seen in nature. Then I get that image onto canvas, and from there it’s an intuitive process of abstracting the image.
How do you get your artistic juices flowing?
Music is very important to me. Others have said it, but showing up and keeping a regular schedule are the most important. Then you need music in the background. For me, it’s the Grateful Dead, The Band, Bob Dylan and Van Morrison.
My morning routine consists of…
Carpool, coffee and more coffee! If I’m able to walk the Lady Bird Lake trail, that’s a bonus. There’s always nature to behold–swans, herons, interesting plants and people.
Tell us about your all-time favorite piece in your home.
So many! Probably a small figurative on paper by America Martin. My son recently brought home a beautiful painting of a dog from art camp; it’s my new favorite.
The artists I look up to the most are…
Patrick Heron for his use of drawing, Joan Mitchell for her freedom of gesture, and Willem de Kooning for his use of the figure.
What’s your all-time favorite book?
It would have to be Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. There are many great takeaways for someone pursing a creative career.
The best piece of advice you’ve ever received.
A photographer, who is a professor at St. Edward’s University once told me that the most important thing is to “chop wood.” I believe in the process. Just keep working and moving forward.