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Diane Wallace began creating detailed realistic studies in conte crayon and oils while studying with Dr Maynard D Stewart at SJSU, who was himself a student of Frank Vincent DuMond at the Art Students’ League in NY city (one of the most famous art teachers in the US). Through Stewart, she learned to master French academic neo-classical painting methods, but ultimately preferred a less formal style with natural subject matter.


Gradually her work evolved into a relaxed style between American Impressionism and Realism, with a modern twist. Her early paintings were influenced by the paintings of Winslow Homer, John Singer Sargent, and Joaquin Soroya, while more recent paintings have

Leona's Garden, Watercolor, 22x30.jpg

benefited from the workof 20th century artists: Wassily Kandinsky (father of abstract art and fabulous colorist); and the color and abstract design and fabulous brushwork of early California impressionists, especially Donna Schuster, Maurice Braun, Edgar Payne, William Wendt, and Franz Bischoff; and most recently, the energetic and emotional early watercolors of John Marin.

Multiple degrees in Painting, Art History and Ceramics, with minors in Humanities and Music, helped develop a broad expertise in painting and a comfortable familiarity with many artists throughout art history. Undergraduate and postgraduate studies with noted art historians Dr. Richard Tansey and Dr Horst de la Croix, authors of the popular art history text Art Through The Ages, brought to life the development of revolutionary ideas by great artists of past generations. Much of their research remains applicable today, though often as variations with new applications.

Postgraduate studies were followed by seminars from many nationally famous artists who are particularly noted for their expertise with color and composition, including Don Andrews, Marbury Hill Brown, Mario Cooper, Charlie Movalli, Arne Westerman, Tom Hill, and Ted Goerschner.  Wallace worked 16-hour days for many years to master both oils and watercolor techniques, and discover how to use composition and design principles for the greatest impact. 

She has created watercolors and oil paintings of exceptional quality, winning top awards in local and regional juried shows. Her work has been included in the American Watercolor Society‘s annual exhibit in New York City. Limited to a single entry, her work was selected by jurors for their annual show, which averages only 5 entries per state; it is reputably the most difficult exhibit to enter in the world.

Robert Flynn Johnson, while curator of the Achenbach Collection at the Legion of Honor (now professor at Stanford), gave top ratings to an early exhibit of her paintings at the Bonnfante Gallery on Green Street, San Francisco.

Her devotion to education and teaching comes from a long lineage of educators extending beyond the Mayflower Pilgrims; ancestor John Cooke served as first School Master for Plymouth Colony in 1649 (and Sir Isaac Newton in the 17th century was a second cousin!). When back problems hindered her painting career, Wallace taught painting and art history at Shasta, Gavilan, and De Anza junior colleges. Ultimately, decades of caring for her disabled mother made home studio classes the only option; she took a hiatus from her own painting during that time.

Her classes provide instruction with a wide range of techniques that are thoroughly demonstrated, explanations of traditional concepts, theories of composition and design, and historical examples when helpful. Classes present many options to the students; as their choices accumulate, they gradually invent a style all their own.

Students ages range from age five, to well past retirement; all are surprised by the paintings they are able to create.  Several of her students have gone on to become top students at the prestigious Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, and many have received scholarships to other art schools as well.

In 2001, Wallace began an internet company ( founded on a white balance lens attachment invented by her father; the ExpoDisc won top photo industry awards when it was first introduced.  Her son’s successful management of the company made it possible to focus on caring for her mother until she passed away in 2013.  Since then Wallace has resumed teaching in her rural Morgan Hill studio, and has recently resumed producing watercolors and plein air oil paintings.

For more information on classes or a tour of her gallery, please contact Diane Wallace at or directly by phone at (408) 778-6640.

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