“Inspiration comes from the land, but the subject is light.” These are the words that have guided Diana Suttenfield over her 40-year career as a professional artist. She has spent decades observing the light falling on her surroundings, and has mastered the ability to portray its effects through her preferred mediums, oils, acrylics, and pastels. Her work generally focuses on the regional landscape of Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, and she is proud to say that it has come to be accepted on its own merit. Ms. Suttenfield is celebrated for her paintings and intricate drawings in West Virginia, which have frequently been exhibited in regional shows. Additionally, the State Department selects one or two of her paintings each year to be exhibited in embassies abroad.
Ms. Suttenfield prepared for her endeavors by earning a Master of Fine Arts from the Maryland Institute of Art in 1971, which started her on the path to her distinguished career. In 1973, she co-founded the German Street Gallery in Shepherdstown, W. Va., and then in 1982, she co-founded the Boarman Arts Center in Martinsburg, W.Va., which offers educational programs throughout the year for individuals of all ages and annually presents an exhibition of art from students in the area. Over the years, she has also been featured in shows in the Aqueous Open, the Baltimore Watercolor Society, John Hopkins University, the Pastel Society of America, the National Arts Club of New York City, and the Washington County Museum of Fine Art, among many others. Notably, she donated 27 paintings to the Hospice of the Panhandle’s, where patients can have the benefit of seeing her luminous and serene work.
Using her expertise as an artist, Ms. Suttenfield has composed several sketch books, including “Shepherdstown Sketchbook,” “Martinsburg Sketchbook,” “Harpers Ferry-Pen and Ink Drawings, “The C and O Canal: An Illustrated History,” and “Elegy to Barns,” which captures fading agriculture scenes in Shepherdstown.
Ms. Suttenfield was celebrated for her for her efforts with a 40-year retrospective at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts in Hagertown, Maryland, in 2015. She was also named Woman of the Year in Art by the West Virginia Women’s Commission, and was the recipient of the Artist of the Year Award by the Women’s Garden Council Club. She attributes her success to her enthusiasm for her subjects and her strong dedication to art. Additionally, she credits the Maryland Pastel Society for being terrific and for helping her learn a lot. She feels that she has gotten more imaginative as she has gotten older.