Artist Laura DiNello, Living Well

I’m not just a fan of Laura DiNello’s art; I’m awed by her courage to be who she is and do what she does. Her life’s story is an inspiration for women, and for anyone who would dare to make a career out of a passionate interest and a creative mind. Do you know anyone who could single-parent four children on an artist’s income? To achieve that feat required a commitment to nonstop hard work and production. Her children are grown now, but she remains prolific, as if her own life depends on it. Hers is a story of defiance, determination, and grit. (Click here to read a 2013 article on Larua DiNello)

With little support, Ms. DiNello was determined to have a career as an artist. I have visited her gallery in Charleston, SC twice in the past year. Her daughter Caleigh runs the business and has generously shared stories with me about her mother. Her admiration and respect for her mom was evident the first time I met her. I have not yet had the opportunity to meet the artist, despite Caleigh’s effort to persuade her to come to the gallery during my recent visit. Ms. DiNello was hard at work on a commissioned piece and couldn’t stop.

Caleigh describes a mother who never stops. She showed me pictures last weekend of her mother’s outdoor grills and fire pit, three brick structures that her mother recently built with no prior experience laying brick. “My mom just decided to do it and did it.” That is what Laura DiNello has always done, according to her daughter.

Caleigh told me that her mother’s bedtime is when she is too tired to continue working. Her mom works at a manic pace, she said, and always has to be busy. The gallery is full of nothing but her creations. Many of them are quite large and a product of painting, clipping, and pasting. She sometimes creates one painting from two canvases, cutting one of them up into small pieces and creating a mosaic overlay on the other painting. If you get up close to some of her work, you may see clippings from maps, newspaper articles, sheet music, post cards and who knows what else. Stand back and you will see human figures with Caleigh’s eyes. Caleigh says they are also her mom’s eyes. “It is just how she sees eyes,” she told me. Even her male subjects have those eyes.

Many of Ms. DiNello’s pieces show individuals holding animals or objects, like a bird or a musical instrument. Some of the images are of herself. I own two small pieces: “The Writer” and “The Painter.” My thoughtful wife bought each on consecutive birthdays. 

This is not an ADHD story as far as I know. But Laura DiNello’s brain is obviously one that was made to create. She exemplifies living well. Leaving the DiNello gallery, having felt the artist’s energy and seen what she has created, I feel good about life.

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