Diane was born and raised in Mt. Lebanon, PA in 1959. She developed artistic skills at a young age and started to paint in acrylics. She also had an interest in classical music and learned to play the piano at an early age. Diane excelled in painting seascapes and landscapes from traveling with her parents and also from her imagination. Diane received many high school awards for her art projects. She graduated from Mt. Lebanon High School majoring in fine arts with high honors in 1977, then attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Beaver College in Philadelphia and received her associates degree in 1980 from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh.
Diane had an exciting career in graphic arts with various companies in the Pittsburgh area. She specialized in signage design for hospitals, airports, hotels, cruise ship lines and public transportation.
She had normal eyesight for most of her life. In 1990, Diane was experiencing vision issues and went to see a vision specialist. The eye exam diagnosed her problems to be Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).
Diane married in 1991 and put aside her time to paint and instead traveled with her husband in their RV across the US. Over the years, Diane’s eyesight worsened to a point of having to leave the work force forever. Through assistance from the Bureau of Blind and Vision Services (BBVS), a state funded organization, she was furnished special software, digital magnifiers, a CCTV, and special glasses which allowed her to continue working at her job through 2013. When it became too difficult to continue with the demands of her job, she had to make the decision to leave the workforce.
What was she going to do with the rest of her life since there is no cure for RP? She knew that one day she would become totally blind – but deep inside she had a drive to continue painting. Surprisingly, Diane was able to pick-up where she left off years earlier. Diane wanted to do something to help find a cure for blindness and decided to use her painting skills to create artwork that she would sell prints of. In 2015 she started BLT Art. Diane is an active member of The Pennsylvania Council of the Blind (PCB), The American Council of the Blind (ACB), The Pittsburgh chapter of The Foundation Fighting Blindness (FFB), The Greater Canonsburg (PA) Lions Club and Vision Services of Washington-Greene (formerly the Blind Association of Washington & Greene Counties). She is determined to raise public awareness about blindness and to raise funds to help blind and vision research. Diane donates a portion of every item sold to these organizations.
Each of her paintings feature a Bear, Lighthouse and Train (BLT) included in her artwork. Some may be obvious, some may be hidden but you have to find them!
Articles about Diane were featured in the Washington Observer (front page), Inspiring Lives magazine and the blog: Bold, Blind, Beauty. Diane was also invited to speak to the Creative Writing Students at Mellon Middle School in Mt. Lebanon, PA. The students viewed her artwork at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library, wrote poetry about the scenes in the paintings and presented her with a bound copy of their poetry.
Although her vision is diminishing, she is still able to paint with the assistance of the devices that she received from BBVS.