Local artist Diana Libby was well known for her shop The Broad Board, next to the North Windham Fire Station, which she ran and painted at for over 20 years. Now retired, she paints for her own enjoyment, drawing inspiration from the world around her and from her family history and that of her late husband Charlie Libby.
“I’m inspired by art around me. I’m a sponge for ideas from everybody. Some inspiration comes from literature. It’s my interpretation of the poem or the song,” Libby said. “I do not sell my art. It’s just to have pure joy. I give away a lot,” she added.
Libby started painting in 1976 and in 1995 she stopped painting for 10 years before starting again on canvas. She has accumulated over 50 paintings and is sharing a selection of them with the Windham community at the Windham Public Library.
“The painting is only one-quarter of it,” Libby said about getting ready for the display. Putting the paintings in frames, writing down descriptions of the paintings, all go into preparing for the presentation. This will be the second time she has shown her work at the library.
“I strive more for the absolute best I can do even if it means doing something 10 times over,” Libby said.
Many of her paintings are of Windham sights like Boody’s Corner and Ben Miner’s Chevron Garage. The garage is one of her major pieces. “It depicts my brothers ‘56 Ford and Charlie’s 1954 Mercury,” she said. Other favorite subjects are interpretations of Longfellow poems that were recited to her by her mother when she was young. She will show her painting of “The Wreck of the Hesperus” and “The Village Blacksmith”.
“A lot has a reference to my life, of how I got to this point. It’s telling the history of my life and my husband’s life,” Libby said. “The more I paint, the more personal the paintings are.”
One of her favorite paintings is from a picture taken at Wolf’s Neck Farm in Freeport. The story of the picture is almost as important to her as the painting itself. She and her husband were on their way to a cookout with their son and his family. She calls the painting “Blue”.
She works with acrylic paints on canvas and her work can be seen at the Windham Public Library, 217 Windham Center Road, all month.