Diane Michelin was always an artist, but it wasn't until 1990 that she found her passion to paint fly fishing art. The Quebec native began as a teacher, painting was secondary, and although she was very active in water sports, including being a synchronized swimmer, she knew nothing about fly fishing. After returning from spending some time in France she approached a gallery about featuring her work and although her talent was recognized, she was told her portfolio was too diverse.
"I painted a little of everything" Diane says. "They wanted artists that were more focused on specific subjects".
She almost gave up on painting. It wasn't until her husband, Dennis Michelin, took her fly fishing for the first time that Diane found her niche. Although she was initially clueless, as soon as she was introduced to the sport she was both inspired and amazed. So began her fly fishing art career and her partnership with Dennis. At the time she was living in Ontario, so they packed up and moved west to Vancouver Island, British Columbia. There she could be much closer to the lifestyle, community, and passion she desired. For her it was a great decision.
"I made some mistakes starting out, I still had plenty to learn, but I was very inspired by everything on the water, all the sensations, the moon, the cold, the eagle, the mist, it's magical".
Diane draws her paintings from images of life and does her best to form a connection between the painting and the viewer.
"When you paint abstract you don't have to be perfect but to attain realism you have to be accurate and be able to represent all aspects of nature, the wind, the sun, or even the reflections on the water. Everyone perceives things differently."
Diane has been inspired by many other artists in all mediums, including Catherine Anderson and Carol Evans. She uses a multiple glazing technique and although it's time consuming it's what she wants to represent.
"There are so many ways to paint, everyone has their own style"
Multiple glazing is done on wet paper in coats and sometimes it takes her all day to achieve the desired detail and feel of a painting. Besides painting Diane also enjoys doing workshops with other artists.
"To be a good cook it's important to work beside a good chef, painting is no different".
Diane has been very successful and has had her work included in the American Museum of Fly Fishing and had her painting, "Relections", selected for Trout Unlimited Canada's best painting in 2009.
Although she does up to 50 paintings annually, only a few are selected to go to very limited edition prints.
Diane is a fair-weather fisher, her and Dennis do 2-3 months annually fishing the rivers and streams of British Columbia, generally between mid August and October fishing around Terrace and Smithers.
"I am a river person, I love to wade or drift, the river is exciting for me, you are always in anticipation of what's around the next bend, there is so much diversity on the river".
She enjoys the solitude and spending the time with Dennis. She is very grateful to him for opening her eyes to the world of fly fishing and never imagined it could be such a great hobby and passion for them to share.
Diane's greatest concern is with the lack of youth she sees on the water.
"The kids are the future of our sport, and I am often disappointed to see so few young people on the water. When I do see a young person fishing I make a point to talk to them and encourage them to continue fishing".