Diane McLean received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rhodes University in 1984, with distinction in painting, followed in 1987 by a Master of Fine Arts. She works mainly in oils. Her finely-detailed, realistic subject matter ranges from portrait commissions and figure studies to landscapes, architectural studies, and still life. Her work is to be found in private, public and corporate collections in South Africa and abroad. She is currently painting full time from her studio in De Rust in the Klein Karoo, where she has her own exhibition space, the Portal Gallery. She also exhibits regularly in Johannesburg and Cape Town.
The primary motivation in my work is the exploration of light. It could be light from the side describing the forms and textures of a still life; diffused light from a skylight caressing the flesh of a nude in a studio; or a landscape illuminated by the light unique to our part of the world. After all, it is with light that our surroundings become visible and are given form.