What are you currently working on?

I have 4 pieces that are a commission from Funk farms that I need to complete before Christmas.  That will consume most of my summer.  I also paint outside at least once a week with the McLean County Plein Air Painters.  That all keeps me as busy as I want to be.

Storm Warning:  This was featured in my first shared show at MCAC.  I did this from a few reference photos I had of an approaching storm over a corn field north of Bloomington. 

Describe your studio space, what kind of environment do you make art in? music playing? silence? neat and organized? chaotic and messy? 

My studio is a rather make-shift space in my basement.  I have struggled to get the lighting right down there, but I think I've finally got it.  I have a collection of art books on shelving, some easels, a workshop table I've adapted to be my taboret, on top of which I installed a large glass-top which serves as my palette.  I can't get in the proper mood to paint in the midst of chaos, but I'm not exactly neat either.  I have a LOT of paint.  I keep collecting frames and brushes, so those are piling up.  I do have a TV there along with an old boom box.  I do love to have some type of new-agey or classical music playing in the background as I paint.

Prairie Grass Reverie:  I spend a lot of time painting en plein air at Moraine View SRA near LeRoy, IL.  I did a small plein air study (painting in the open air) and developed it into a large piece.  I was interested in the vivid colors in that late afternoon light.


Sun Slice: This was a still life I set up next to my easel.  After I painted it, I ate it!

Why should someone want to take a class from you?

I usually teach beginning oil painting and occasionally will teach an intermediate painting class.  I think oil painting can be a very intimidating undertaking, so I hope to provide a relaxed atmosphere in which newcomers can try their hand at a new skill.  I hope to pass on my enthusiasm for this art form and connect with other creatives in our community.  Hopefully we'll break this down to some basic elements and then put it all together for a masterpiece by the end of our 6 weekly sessions together.

 Vital Spark:  This is was done from reference photos of a trip to Scotland.  It was just a random stop along the tour bus route.  I want to go back!

What's your philosophy on teaching?

I want to be approachable and provide a relaxed atmosphere in which to learn.  I stress that oil painting is a lifelong learning process, and we never really reach the destination.  It's about the journey!  I aim to arm the student with some basic skills with which they can discover their own voice.  I don't want them to paint like me.  I also stress that there are some basic techniques we all must learn, but there is no one correct way to create a painting.

Cowhabitation:  I am a farmer's daughter, so much of my subject matter is of the farm.  This is my latest farm painting,  I had fun with all of the colorful colors in the red and white coats of these girls.

What are your future plans for your art practice?

I am trying to figure that out.  I retired within the past 3 years and I had hoped that I could develop my "hobby" into something more.  I'm finding that painting has been the thing that gives me a reason to get up in the morning and keeps me connected to the outside world.  I learn something new each day I paint, and that learning process has no end.  I want to develop my teaching skills so that I can share the joy I find in this process.  So it has become less and less about monetary gain or building a bio; rather it's about connecting with people and evoking an emotional chord in someone with something I have created.  That is enough for me.

You can find Deana out and about painting with the McLean County Plein Air Painters (group on FACEBOOK).

Deana teaches daytime painting classes for beginners in water-mixable oils at the MCAC.  

Some student comments on Deana's classes:

"The learning and development of a new art form (in Deana's class) was both challenging and rewarding"

"The instructor interaction with each student, very helpful suggestions one on one"

"Great instructor"

"She (Deana) was very good at giving feedback & being encouraging. Always available for help."

*all photos courtesy of the Artist (Deana Moore Schoolcraft)

Mission Statement: We encourage and promote the appreciation, study, cultivation, development, and practice of art for the benefit of all the people, cultures and communities of McLean County. 

        "This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts"

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