.Deanne's Story Part 1
“Deanne Lemley is considered a master painter in both watercolor and oil, which is unusual to be gifted in both mediums and excel at the highest level. Additionally she paints a variety of subjects, landscapes, still life’s, figure, marine scenes and portraits. Many of her works have been accepted into national shows and award credits...” - The Watercolor Painter – Color and Light by artist and author Christopher Schink
Deanne’s artistic passion was nurtured by her parents who provided her with art materials. Later her own children became her willing models. “I would gaze at my children and envision a possibility of a painting. Yes, there’s Lisa and Rebecca in white frocks engrossed in a book. There is Dixie, with her little blue hat in her chubby hands, standing next to her big brother Dane, who is pointing the way into the woods. Envisioning all of this I quickly rounded up my flock. I knew kids were wiggly but didn’t understand just how much until I tried to paint them, live. I loved the idea of capturing moments in life. One of the things that served my burgeoning drawing skill was painting my kids, quickly. This activity helped me to capture the essence of the person, there was no time to paint eyelashes.
“Painting is always on my mind and it’s something I look forward to doing every day”. So even when Deanne wasn’t painting she was still thinking about it, envisioning a possibility for one. In car rides she would entreat her kids, “look at the landscape, look at the light, look at the clouds!” Only to have one of them explode, “Mom! Watch the road!” She is thankful to report no car accidents ever transpired from these road-travel tutelages. Their home in Redmond, WA, bustled with Deanne teaching four classes three days a week. Deanne is one of the two percent of tax paying populous who make their living as an artist – that two percent includes actors, writers, musicians, filmmakers, as well as painters. The thread of family is woven through her story from her irrepressible artistic passion to her enduring legacy of award winning paintings.
“It’s been an extraordinary journey." Here is her story.
Encouragement in Art
Deanne was born in Spokane, Washington. Her dad was a big man, playing football on scholarship for Gonzaga University. He was a philosopher in many ways and a brilliant, kind man. Her mother, a tiny Swedish woman, made everything happen at home. She was just on it. Monday was wash day. Tuesday was ironing day. Deanne had the advantage of having order and stability growing up. Because there were few children to play with in the country, her parents made sure that Deanne and Brother Stan always had creative materials and tools that would advance their creative thinking. Deanne’s parents fostered her direction in art. Her dad encouraged, “whatever you are good at, nurture it, stay in it, and you will do fine.”
Artistic passion is like a seed, if it goes into the earth as a rose or daisy seed, that’s what’s going to grow out. Art was in her, and her parents cultivated this. Ever hear of ‘the good ol days?’ Deanne’s perspective is, she’s thankful she lived during a time when parents were not rushing their children off to soccer, ballet and piano etc. “We had a really simple life. We had times of boredom and that is a gift. I tell my grandchildren that it is in those hours of boredom where creativity lives. All the computer games and phone time is a distraction and hindrance to creativity. Let your children be bored and don’t rescue them out of it because this is where they learn to think for themselves and problem solve.”
When Deanne asked her mom, “What can I do?” her mother would say, “Well, you can always dust.” Deanne resisted, and instead she took up things she enjoyed doing. One of those activities was making paper dolls. She drew and cut them out. Soon she was making paper dolls for all the kids in the neighborhood on commission. She prepared them however requested, some had blond, red or black hair. Going to school, her teachers would say to her mother, “Where does she get her imagination?” Her mother was baffled, she didn’t know either.
Stay tuned for Part 2!
(Interview took place in March 2022, documentary to be aired in 2023)