Despite being the daughter of a professional artist, Elaine Diller, of Edray, didn’t fully develop her own artistic skills until she had two children of her own.
When the kids – Caleb and Susanna – were young, they accompanied their mother on walks in the woods and on the trails in Pocahontas County, where the vibrant colors of nature sparked Diller’s artistic interest.
“I just think, the longer I lived here, the more the artist in me came out and the more I saw nature,” she said. “I’m also spiritual. I don’t worship the creation. I worship the creator. If you take a walk in the woods – which we did a lot – or along the trail – which we did a lot – these little pieces of color would pop out.
“The kids would be ‘here mom, here’s another flower,’ because they liked to see me happy, and the beauty of it calms your spirit,” she continued. “It draws you into this very quiet place where you can focus on something very simple. Just jaw dropping beautiful.”
Diller began drawing West Virginia wildflowers using pen and ink, adding color with pastels. From there, she moved into pure pastel drawings of flowers, insects, fungi and birds.
“I never thought I’d do birds, but now I live in Edray near these little woods, so I’m feeding them,” she said. “They’re everywhere. Now I can draw birds.”
While raising her two children, Diller stuck to mediums that were easy to keep contained and clean, so painting was out of the question.
“I never went into paint because with two young kids, I had no place to get out jars of water and watercolors,” she said, laughing.
With youngsters running around and playing, paint would have been everywhere, so Diller stuck with her pastel pens and even explored embroidery for a time.
“Textiles – I love,” she said. “I taught myself to quilt. Not very well, but I taught myself to quilt. I like fabric. I did a lot of needlework, embroidery. I would put the fabric in a hoop, and I would draw my flowers with a disappearing ink pen.
“Sometimes I would put Bible verses or ‘Hope’ or something like that,” she added. “Then I would give them to friends.”
Diller is the first to admit she is better at giving her art away than selling it but, lately, she has decided to open her own website to sell her artwork.
On the site, Nature Sings Art, she sells her original drawings, prints, note cards, magnets, keychains and stickers. She also has a color book of her original pen and ink designs.
“They’re all West Virginia wildflowers,” she said. “I traced my own drawings and then I [added a photo] to the page to give you an idea of what to do and the colors to use. Or, you can use your own colors.”
When she’s not at her job as the director of One Room University, Diller is bent over her drawing board, brushing Pan Pastel pure pigment into the shape of a wildflower or bird, with a big smile on her face.
“I draw – just because I love it,” she said, simply.
To browse Diller’s collection, visit www.naturesingsart.com