Diana Trout Spills about Journaling, Art and Life

I caught up with the madly busy Diana Trout, author of Journal Spilling (watch for my review later this week), and poked her for some answers. Here's what she had to say.

Hey Diana! All of us continue to change as artists. How would you describe your recent work?

For some years now, I’ve been working on an on-going series in drawings and mixed media collage and paintings featuring an imaginary place I call the NorthEast Kingdom. I’ve been drawing and painting the citizens as well as the flora, birds and architecture.

That's amazing. How did your style evolve?

After art school, I experienced a terrible block. For years, I did realistic paintings and pencil or charcoal portraits on commission, but felt sorta lost in terms of my own voice.
About 15 years ago, I had a terrible shoulder injury and couldn’t work in my usual manner. I couldn’t even hold a pencil or paintbrush. I began working with my left hand and cutting and sewing my paintings. Clearly, I couldn’t do portraits! This was a real turning point for me. I just kept up doing and a style began to emerge. Lucky injury!

What fascinates you?

Right at the moment, I have been looking at the Japanese boro cloths. The layering of these rags is something I’ve been working on in my artwork. Layers of patterns under layers of cloth. It’s like an archeological dig. Matisse has always spoken to me, especially his later cut out paper work. His organic shapes are endlessly fascinating to me.

What are your artsy business goals?

Over the past few years, I’ve been teaching at more Art Retreats. I love it! My local workshops are wonderful. I work with teens, adults and even get to work with kids over the summer at my local library. I guess to just continue on, balancing artwork sales with teaching and writing. Perhaps to be a bit more organized? That would be a relief to my accountant.

How about your personal goals as an artist?

To continue building my little world in the NorthEast Kingdom. There are two other areas there that I want to have more time to explore: the Flatlands and the Southerly Counties. It is a source of inspiration that could be mined for the rest of my life. The mixed media approach gives me plenty of leeway.

I made a goal this year to work larger and I’m currently working on two paintings for a show that are 20” square. Very large for me! It very exciting to see what is happening next on the canvases. I’m sharing this process with my readers here on my blog.

Futuretalk. What is coming up next in 2010?

I just completed a DVD for Cloth Paper Scissors called Playful Paper Backgrounds. It will be available at the end of July. I’m super excited about it as it has some of my very favorite techniques with watercolors, inks and paste paper. There is also a short bit on designing and carving eraser stamps.

I’m teaching at Art Is and Journalfest in October. That should be a very busy month. I have a few other irons in the fire for more local workshops. I’m hoping to carve out some time to restock my Etsy shop with cloth bracelets and journals and more small paintings. (hmmm.... that may be a lot!).

This year I made a resolution to follow my whims more freely. I think that, truly, this is just the next step in working with my critic. That is tops in my mind when I am working on something. I guess you might call it honesty.

Anything else you’d like to add?

I guess, really, thank you to all of the nice folks who have bought my book, taken my classes, visited my Etsy Shop (currently empty) and read my blog. I’ve received just so many kind comments. It feels so great to have had an impact on journalers. I feel really lucky!

You've been cleaned out! Let me take this opportunity to say how much I appreciate all the wonderful tutorials you share on your blog. You are both talented AND generous! Thanks for stopping by.


  1. Very nice interview. I enjoyed reading about her artistic journey and her future goals. Look forward to visiting her blog next.
    Thanks for sharing with us.

  2. Kimberly Young7/30/2010

    Your truths spoke to my brain and to my heart. Stay true! As an aside, your imagery/art world might inspire an author to write a book to accompany it...you know like the Harry Potter world or the Lord of the Rings world. Might be a lucrative opportunity. I love your work. I would have never found this site if J.LaFazio hadn't posted it on facebook.

    Kim Young

  3. Diana's book is next to my bed and I have read it so many times. Each time I come away with something new. Diana and Melanie are the reason I convinced myself to stretch and put away my fears of working with paint and paper. I am so happy I did! Thanks for a wonderful interview. Have a great weekend.

  4. Wonderful interview, thank you for sharing.