Where We Live: Artist Diane Russell

Russell's painting of the Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival won her the top award from the Oregon Society of Artists

Artist Diane Russell in her SE Portland studio, Feb. 2016 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The sounds of jazz and blues come alive on Portland stages every night, especially now, the final week of the biamp PDX Jazz Festival. And many of those same musicians have been immortalized on canvas by one of Portland’s most talented artists.

In her tiny Southeast Portland studio, Diane Russell captures the essence of jazz and blues musicians through paintings and drawings.

“I see a lot of people, and I photograph a lot of musicians,” the former fashion illustrator says. “When you see something that you really want to bring to life — that’s how I make my choice.”

Diane Russell, Feb. 2016 (KOIN)
Diane Russell, Feb. 2016 (KOIN)

Russell has done some of the biggest names in the business. Willie Nelson, Stanley Jordan, B.B. King, Thara Memory, Darrell Grant, Mel Brown and saxophonist Devin Phillips, who came to Portland from New Orleans after hurricane Katrina.

“With Devin, I really feel I nailed that one.”

She’s also sketched Branford Marsalis, Esperanza Spalding, Paul Delay and many, many others. Her collection is extensive, but she says there’s more to come.

“I just don’t feel like I’ve got enough done yet. There’s so much more I want to do.”

Russell’s art is currently on display at Jimmy Mak’s and at Concourse E of the Portland International Airport.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Comments are closed.