Franklin Countys First News

Kingfield artist finds place in the mountains

Claudia Diller at work in her studio.

KINGFIELD - Anyone who has sat down with a bagel at Java Joes, or bought a pound of Carrabassett Coffee beans has seen Claudia Diller's bright, moving interpretations of Maine landscapes. The experiences go hand in hand- cozied up in a corner of the often bustling coffee shop, surrounded by Diller's cheerful scenes. Perhaps without even knowing it, Java Joe-ers have felt the aftermath of gazing at a painted moonlit mountain.

To chat with Diller is a different experience all together. The motion that is so often found in her paintings is there, the vibrancy is there, but the zen moment of a framed piece takes a different, louder shape.

"As a kid I went to a Catholic school and a nun there looked at me one day and said 'you're gonna be an artist' and I just said no. No way. I was six! Later on an art teacher told me the same thing and I was just like 'nah. whatever.' It wasn't something I aspired to be," Diller said. "As it turns out it's the only thing I know how to do."

Which isn't entirely true. In the early days Diller made a living off of her graphic design work, and also acted as Editor at the Original Irregular for 15 years. It wasn't until about 15 years ago that Diller took the leap to becoming a full time artist.

"Like everybody in Maine I had five jobs. As romantic as it sounds, being an artist can be really scary," she said.

Diller said her own resourcefulness has amazed her at points. Piecing together the multiple avenues of income so that she could continue doing what she wanted to do astounded her, she said.

"You just keep putting one foot in front of the other. You have to have the perseverance to stick with it, and you can't be arrogant when times are good. Always being a little bit hungry keeps me going," she said.

It wasn't until recently that Diller actually labeled herself an 'artist'. But between her calendars and prints, and more recently her illustrations of children's books, Diller is able to be a full time painter. Though she was naturally talented as an artist, Diller said she had to teach herself how to paint. Following the advice of a neighbor who was a well known artist, Diller's mother never signed her up for a single art class growing up. The neighbor recommended she just give her daughter the freedom to explore her own art, and that's what she did. Eventually Diller did end up going to art school, but dropped out after a couple of years.

"I never really did have a plan. If I did have one, it went to the wayside really fast," she said.

A moonlit scene by Claudia Diller.

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