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an established co-op of artists and artisans working together

to build a strong art community

Marilyn Diller

oil pastels + watercolor + origami

Click here to view a gallery of my work.

Click here to view my work for sale.

Artist Statement 

Guess it's the middle school art teacher in me. The bell rang every 50 minutes bringing to my room a very different group of students each glass period. Perhaps, as a result of that conditioning, my mind changes focus frequently. So, here are your multiple choice selections.

Floral Oil Pastels

Santa brought a HDTV for Christmas. Wow! I love the shows of extreme skiers flying off snowy cliffs and jet fighter pilots zooming low over mountain tops to dive bomb their poor little targets. It never occurred to me to view my big floral oil pastels in that way, but that's the exact effect I've been going for all along. Building layer on layer of oil pastel, I study the 3-D structure of the flower, as well as the lighting effects on translucent pastels. The resulting piece is often an insect's view, perched on an outer petal ready to take the plunge.

Japanese Origami

As a teenager, I received an origami book from my aunt at our very boring Christmas party. I enlisted everyone's help to figure out the paper folding instructions with next to no success. A month later, when I needed a study break, I pulled the book back out. I couldn't put it down 'til I finished all the models in that short beginner's book. I was hooked. I taught my middle school Art students origami. They donated origami tree ornaments to Christmas charities and always had cool things to hang from their lesson on balance - a mobile. Now I aim at the original or a variation on a traditional model. Sometimes I'll combine models into something new. "Dancing with the Stars" on TV got mixed up in my head with a visit to the Field Museum's updated exhibit of dinosaurs that resulted in a series of origami sculptures "Dancin' with the Dinos."

Scuba Views

I couldn't do it, just couldn't. I passed the technical tests, got certified and jumped overboard even with shark fins in site. I could just not figure out how to transfer those dive images into art. Forget underwater photography - too much cost and technical difficulty for me.

Since joining Chicago's Shedd Aquarium as a volunteer Caribbean reef diver, I get fish to pose for me every Wednesday afternoon. I observe my sea creature buddies both inside and outside the exhibit. It's given me time to think and plan. I've completed several SCUBA views in oils, oil pastels, pastels and watercolor. It's a challenge to convey the constantly changing sparkle, color and movement of this very different world of water. After joining the Shedd Aquarium's collection trip in the fall of 2008 in the Bahamas, I've been doing a lot of tropical fish subjects. After chasing fish under water all day, I relaxed just watching the clouds go by. Funny thing- they started looking like fish. Other people see sheep, bunnies and funny faces in clouds, I saw fish, so that's what I've started painting . . . fishy clouds?


1973, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN - M.S. in Art Education

1971, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL - B.F.A. in Art Education


3/2005     Studied watercolor painting with artist Mel Satbin associated with"Flying Colors" watercolor group of Acapulco, MXW

8/1997      Studied at " Watercolor Weeks" at Woebley, Hereforeshire, England

Art Teaching Experience

2003 - 1976     Kahler Middle School, Lake Central School, New Market, IN

1976 - 1974      Southmont Jr./Sr. High School, New Market, IN

1973 - 1971       Linden School (grades K-8) N. Montgomery School Corp., Linden, IN  

Solo Exhibition

2007 April 14 - May 15, "April Showers", Crown Point Art Center 1973 - 1971 in conjunction with South Shore Arts, Munster, In an exhibit of 18 floral oil pastels

1990     Solo Exhibit of Oil pastels, Buckin' "A" Cafe, Chicago, IL    


2017    Chicago Alliance for the Visual Arts Members Show, Old Town Triangle Association, Leslie Wolfe Gallery, Award of Excellence - 2nd place

2016    "Celebrating Indiana, 200 Years", Jasper County Art League, Lilian Fendig Gallery, Rensselaer, IN

2015    "The Sky's the Limit", Vogt Visual Arts Center, Tinley Park, IL

2014    "Reflections", Moon Tree Studios & Gallery, Donaldson, IN

2009    Nov 13 "Art Sharks" Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL, Benefit

2009    Sept. 25 - Oct.13 " Fusion of the Arts", Indiana University Northwest, Gary, IN

2009    Sept. 13 - Nov.1 "Salon Show" South Shore Arts", Munster, IN

2008    "Fusion of the Arts" - a juried exhibition in conjunction with the 3rd annual Regional Arts Summit Gallery Northwest, Tamarack Hall,

           Indiana University Northwest, Gary, IN

2007    Group Show "Fascinating Animals" 6th Annual Juried Wildlife Art Show, Friends of the Columbia Zoo, Lafayette, IN

2007    Group Show " 14th Annual Juried Exhibit" , Art Barn, Valparaiso, IN

2006    Group Show" Art Barn, Valparaiso IN " 13th Annual Juried Exhibit".

2005    Group Show " Salon Show" at South Shore Arts

2005    Group Show " Shedd Expressions", John G. Shedd Aquarium Volunteers Exhibit

2005    "12th Annual Juried Art Exhibit" , Art Barn, Valparaiso, IN

1985      Group Exhibit "42nd Annual Salon Show" South Shore Arts, Munster, IN


John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago,IL

           "Pacific Reef" (oil) is on display in the volunteer office

           "Home Reef" (oil) is displayed outside the Caribbean reef dive locker room


2008     John G. Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, IL, for "Art Sharks" Benefit, donated a soft pastel painting titled "Aquarium Diver's View"

2007     South Shore Arts, Munster, IN, for "Beau Arts" Ball, donated an oil pastel painting titled "Deep in the Heart of Summer".


1996 I received a "Lily Teacher Creativity Grant" from the Lily Corporation, Indianapolis, IN, to create oil pastels and watercolors of subjects in the Indiana State Parks and to share my work and experiences with my students the following school year.


John Shedd Aquarium Volunteers

Indiana State Retired Teacher's Association

Prairie Arts Council, Rensselaer, IN