Diekmann’s most recent paintings recapture the wildness and freedom of youth. (photo by Kiesa Kay)
Diekmann’s most recent paintings recapture the wildness and freedom of youth. (photo by Kiesa Kay)

Archived Story

Diekmann’s works depict unbridled joy

Published 5:28pm Monday, June 3, 2013

Generous mounds of sliced apples, fresh blue cheese, almonds and mixed nuts cover the table on a patio overlooking an elegant green garden. Whimsical paintings adorn the walls, bright colors and smiling faces.

“Here’s where I dwell, in fun and beauty,” Mary Lou Diekmann says.

Diekmann spent more than 30 years as a speech therapist. She’s raised her children. She’s found the love her life.  Now she’s come to Tryon and she’s ready for play.

“Don’t bring me the bad news,” she says. “I’ve heard enough of it. Don’t give me heavy. I’ve done heavy.  From here on, I want joy. I’m committed to happiness within, and it’s not from the outside, in. It’s from the inside, out.”

Her most recent paintings recapture the wildness and freedom of youth. Pablo Picasso once said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Diekmann never lost that vigor, but it’s intensified since she found her way to Tryon.

As a little girl, Diekmann became the youthful protégé of Elinore Schnurr, a noted artist. She’s learned the academics, studying with Cape Cod impressionist Ernest Principato. Her color sense, though came inborn. Elinore Schnurr saved her early works, and the same colors – vibrant blues and greens with sparks of orange, a deep teal – characterize her work to this day. The styles and features vary, but the palette remains constant.

“Wherever I traveled, I painted my reality. In Italy, Scotland, wherever – and when I came here, I realized I didn’t need another landscape. It no longer satisfies me. I can take a photograph any time,” Diekmann said. “Now I’m painting the unbridled joy in my mind.” 

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