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Diane5b

American Folk Art on exhibit in Sterling

by Lex Thomas

When artist Diane Ulmer Pedersen began painting in the American folk art style, she had no idea that it would become her preferred style, bringing her both recognition and enormous satisfaction.

“Back in the ‘70s, I was working in an antique and home decorating shop, and my goal was to create original art for period homes,” she says. “I was also doing a lot of watercolor painting at that time, then I started to do primitive portraits of children. It was the period work that got snapped up.”

An exhibit of Pedersen’s work is on display at the Sterling Senior Center through January. All pieces are available for sale, and the exhibit has received a great deal of attention and a very positive response.

Pedersen took her first art lessons at the Philadelphia Art Museum before entering grade school. She was an art major throughout high school, and went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Denison University. She later attended the Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia, where she studied commercial design and graphic arts.

Crafts and painting from 1800 to 1830 are her favorites and provide her greatest source of inspiration. “I paint very methodically,” she says. “It’s geometric. I like simplicity, rather than busyness in my painting.”

A native of Pennsylvania, Pedersen has lived in Massachusetts for 30 years, and in Sterling for the past 17 years. In addition to her American folk art paintings, she enjoys graphic design, and has created countless logos and posters for local events and organizations. She is also getting back to her watercolor painting, and enjoys attending the watercolor classes at First Church of Sterling whenever she can.

“I love a community approach to art,” she says. “I’ve spent a lot of years working alone in my studio. There’s a different personality when you’re in your studio. I love sharing with other artists, and walking around to see what everyone else is doing.”

Pedersen doesn’t pain every day, but finds other creative outlets in cooking and crafts. She loves puzzles and design challenges.

“Inspiration comes to me in all kinds of ways,” she says. “It’s always a kernel of something, whether a new material or even just a thought. I can’t always count on the source of inspiration, but it’s always a surprise, and that’s always wonderful.”

For more information and to see Pedersen’s work, visit DianeUlmerPedersen.com, or visit her current exhibit at the Sterling Senior Center.

Photo by Linda Davis: Artist Diane Ulmer Pedersen exhibits her paintings at the Sterling Senior Center through January.

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