Artist of the Month gallery returns to Vigo library featuring RCAA artist Dian Der Ohanian Phillips

Lyford Barn acrylic by Dian Der Ohanian Phillips

Artwork by River City Art Association’s president Dian Der Ohanian Phillips will be featured throughout October in the Artist of the Month gallery at the Vigo County Public Library in Terre Haute.

Gallery space was put on hold in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dian explains her longtime love of Hoosier barns in her artist’s statement:
“I’ve been drawing and painting barns for more than fifty years. The earliest example is
an etching created July 1965. Having grown up in Southern Indiana, I was very familiar
with rural farmland scenes.

“So, for this first attempt at making an etching, I recall drawing this scene from memory … a gambrel-roofed barn with silo and overgrown
field. It is an iconic image and one that obviously resonated in my young mind.
“Barns evoke a sense of tradition and community, and they also reflect local architectural
styles. Some recognizable regional styles include Dutch, bank, crib and round barns.
“The exterior color and decoration of barns also has historical and practical roots. New
England settlers didn’t have enough money to paint their farms, so they needed a cheap
way to protect the barns’ wood. They mixed skimmed milk, lime and red iron oxide to
make a red, plastic-like coating. The coating protected the wood and kept barns warmer
in the winter. The color red soon became the most famous among farmers because it
was the cheapest. The tradition continues today. However, barns in Kentucky are
mostly painted black because black barns raise the heat inside, aiding the curing of
tobacco. Many got their color from creosote, which repelled termites. Sign painters also
took advantage of the size and visibility of barns in an age before billboards. “Chew Mail
Pouch Tobacco” signs were numerous in the first quarter of the 20th century.

Barn Again acrylic by Dian Der Ohanian Phillips

Dian Der Ohanian Phillips studied at Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, and received a B.F.A. in visual communications. She completed a Masters program at Indiana
University, and did additional post-graduate work at Boston University. Dian was a graphic designer/art director for the majority of her professional life, however, she continued her fine art pursuits during those years by taking drawing and painting classes. After retiring, she began painting again full-time and has participated in several group and solo exhibitions in the Midwest. She works primarily in watercolor, acrylic and oils. Her paintings and her black & white photos are strongly influenced by nature and rural scenes. Her art is in private collections throughout the United States.

Photo courtesy of RCAA photographer Debra Butler

For more works by Dian Der Ohanian Phillips go to



About RiverCityArt

A non-profit organization based in Terre Haute, Indiana, that promotes, supports and enhances an appreciation of the visual arts in the Wabash Valley through art exhibits, demonstrations, seminars, workshops, and any and all other appropriate means. Membership open to artists age 18 and older.
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