Seasoned artist plays, paints, lives in Sierra | SierraSun.com

Seasoned artist plays, paints, lives in Sierra

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun
Emma Garrard/Sierra SunDiane Hub works on a painting of Sunnyside Monday morning at her home in Tahoe City. Hub has an art exhibit, "Images of a Sierra Lifetime," opening Friday at North Tahoe Arts Center.
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Diane Hub’s work room is just as you might imagine ” littered with paint brushes and palettes, stacks of framed work and even a large splotch of “Burnt Sienna” on the ceiling above her easel after a battle lost to the paint tube.

Hub’s bookshelf almost caves under the weight of art books “Monet,” “Gauguin” and “Breaking the Rules of Watercolor” ” titles that shed a little light on the type of artist, and person, she is.

At 72 years of age, “plein air” painter Hub has stories to tell, many that include breaking the rules ” of painting Paris streetscapes, windsurfing Maui, skiing Sierra backcountry and painting at a friend’s home in Sonoma with the Grateful Dead practicing in the background.

Beginning Friday, Hub will share a few of her stories at the North Tahoe Art Center in her oil painting exhibit, Images of a Sierra Lifetime.

Hub has lived in North Tahoe since 1964 and says she’s been painting “forever.”

She’s as intimate with the peaks and valleys of the Sierra range as any longtime local, and continues to get outside daily even in her 70s.

She cycles, mountain bikes, skis and paints, despite a hip replacement and knee surgery that corrected two of many injuries she has suffered over the years.

“Diane has such a fresh, lively way of interpreting the places many of us treasure,” said Laura Read, North Tahoe Art chair, in a written statement. “In her excursions, she finds surprising viewpoints that we may never notice.”

Hub taught skiing for 30 years at Alpine Meadows, but prefers the openness of the backcountry, where she often finds inspiration for her work.

“I haven’t skied a on a groomed trail since I left Alpine,” she said.

She’s also been a windsurfer, whitewater kayaker and tried her hand at golf, but says it’s too slow and time-consuming.

“I need something with more thrills,” she said.

And a thrilling life is what she’s after. She travels. She paints. She plays in the outdoors. Her life is like an adventure novel.

Pablo Karls, who owns Pablo’s Gallery and Frame Shop in Tahoe City, has worked with Hub for seven years. He describes her as “superwoman,” both in her work and her play.

“You see her biking up Ward Canyon, twice a day even … she just goes and goes and goes,” Karls said.

“Every painting is different. Some just paint themselves … and some you really have to struggle with,” Hub said.

In her studio Monday, Hub slowly added blue to a painting of Sunnyside Restaurant from a lakeside view.

She brushed color onto the canvas and stepped back after every few strokes. She paints thoughtfully and with precision, but doesn’t call herself a perfectionist.

Hub says she doesn’t make much money off her work, but can support her art-travel-outdoor habit with the sale of her paintings.

“I wouldn’t still be alive if I was trying to make a living as an artist,” she joked.

Discipline and practice are even more important than talent, Hub believes, and she paints every day for at least a few hours.

“An artist has to keep studying,” she said.

Based on inspiration from her many journeys, Hub’s exhibit will feature paintings from Tahoe, Hawaii, Carmel, France and the Bishop and Bridgeport areas in the Eastern Sierra.