Local instructor captures essence of nature through artwork

April 17, 2018

COLUMBUS – With 15 years of experience, local artist Diane Noonan passes her passion along to students at Lakeview High School.

Noonan was born and raised in Humphrey. She started drawing in elementary school and in high school, she thought “being a good artist meant drawing what you see and the more realistic you can make it, the better it was.” However, that was not always necessarily the case.

She takes pride in putting her special touch on each creation she makes by playing with colors and textures. She enjoys creating something people have never seen.

Noonan picked up painting in college where she learned a variety of techniques. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art Education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney.

“I had a really good painting teacher in college,” she said.

She took a break from painting after getting married and had children. Her passion remained and eventually she decided to pick up her brushes again as her children aged.

Most of Noonan’s work consists of acrylic and oil paintings of weeds and grasses in ditches. There is a good mix of realism and abstract in her paintings, she said.

“I just think they’re so beautiful and I just want people to see how pretty the weeds and grass in the ditches are,” she said. “Nobody really notices that but I love it.”

Noonan displays and sells her work on her website PaintingsByDiane.com. Her paintings range in price from $300 to $400.

She participates in the Columbus Arts Council’s Spring Show annually and submitted four paintings this year. The show also serves as a competition where selected artists compete in a statewide convention, and Noonan’s work has been selected numerous times.

In the past, she said her work has been showcased in Norfolk and Hartington.

When it comes to abstract art, the outcome of a piece is determined by the creator’s imagination, so it is vital to know when work needs to halt.

“It is kind of hard to know when to stop especially when it’s not realistic,” Noonan said. “When it is from your head, you just have to make a decision when to stop.”

Aside from being an artist, Noonan teaches art history, art appreciation and art production at Lakeview High School. She began working part time at Lakeview and Schuyler Central High School. During her seventh year teaching, she officially became a full-time faculty member.

She advises aspiring artists to participate in competitions to gain more exposure. Noonan explores different places to display her work -- one piece was displayed in a restaurant in Humphrey.

“We have a lot of good artists here but there’s just not a lot of venues to show stuff,” Noonan said.