Dina Gardner has always been fascinated by how artists, whether they are painters, musicians, writers or anyone who uses their gifts of creativity, work through their creative process. She is constantly intrigued that the process is so uniquely different for every artist, regardless of their medium.
Dina's process looks like this: It always starts with music, which serves to influence what happens on her canvas. At her easel, there is a lot of singing (slightly off key) and there are spontaneous dance parties (not bad for a white girl.) Her canvas is a gritty piece of paper, sometimes purchased, sometimes hand-made. With the music on, she uses a photo reference she has taken for inspiration and sketches her composition on her canvas. Sometimes, there isn't a photo reference at all but rather an idea in her head that she works from. She doesn't typically pre-select the colors or values of pastels that she uses, preferring to choose pastels that speak to her in the moment. She often starts with an underpainting, which is the first layer of a painting, using rubbing alcohol to set it permanently on her canvas. She has found that vodka, gin or tequila will work in a pinch when rubbing alcohol isn't available. At times, drinking said vodka, gin or tequila can help with the painting process as well. Sometimes there are happy accidents at the easel and sometimes tragic outcomes but regardless, being at her easel is her favorite place to be.
Dina's work represents the things she is most drawn to: oceans, water, skies, trees, marshes and meadows. She is an avid traveler and loves to paint a variety of subjects that catch her eye while traveling. These paintings can include anything from people at a cafe to an empty plate of oysters to a platter of lemons. She loves a big, bustling city and stunning architecture but she also loves being surrounded by anything that nature has to offer from a dilapidated barn, to the sun setting over the mountains or to any path that gets off the beaten path. As an artist, she is always chasing the light, finding the juxtaposition between light and shadow. She finds that she is constantly asking herself how she might paint a (fill in the blank) or what colors she would use in her underpainting. She often looks at things and wonders how she could create the best composition of whatever it is she is looking at, or how she would create color harmony or where she would place the hard and soft edges. These are the thoughts that run through her head constantly and often wake her up at night. Standing at her easel at 3:00 am happens more often than she cares to admit. When she is called to her easel, she's called to her easel and if it's 3:00 am. so be it. Sometimes that is when the magic really happens.
Dina splits her time between Southern California, where she was born and raised, and Boston, her adoptive city of almost 35 years. Before becoming a full-time artist, Dina founded several recruiting firms, starting her first company when she was 25 years old. What she loved most about being a headhunter was actually getting the businesses off the ground. She loved the 'launching' stage, the blank canvas she was able to work with and the vision she was able to create as she then executed and put her stamp on each one. Standing at her easel gives her the opportunity to put these same skills to use every single time she creates a painting.
In addition to her passion for her family, painting and traveling, her heart resides with the Pay It Forward Backpack Project, a grass-roots organization she founded in 2015. The Pay It Forward Backpack Project provides backpacks filled with winter essentials to Boston's homeless population. A percentage of proceeds from each sale of her art is donated to the Backpack Project in an effort to continue to pay it forward by helping the unhoused who often suffer from mental illness, drug and/or alcohol addiction. Dina's motto is 'Carpe Diem" and she does her best to make that happen each and every day.