Mulambin to the world: A marriage of art and technology

LYN Diefenbach feels very fortunate that after 40 years of marriage, coronavirus has finally shown her and husband Ken a way to combine their different skill sets.

A largely self-taught artist who works in pastels and oils, Ms Diefenbach isn’t digitally inclined but said that Ken, a former University IT worker, “has the nous to do that part of the business.”

The Yeppoon couple are recording her art teaching sessions, which have been forced online since COVID-19 restrictions, and making them available via the Vimeo hosting platform.

Lyn Diefenbach
Lyn Diefenbach

“Ken checks the microphone and camera angles, and spends a lot of time after the live sessions editing out the extraneous stuff to put them up online,” Ms Deifenbach said.

The opportunity to both host online art teaching, and offer the sessions for sale, provides some relief for the artist who lost thousands of dollars worth of teaching gigs which were booked around Australia and overseas.

Ms Deifenbach was regularly invited to teach in countries as far-flung as France, New Zealand, Greece, China and Alaska from where she returned in February this year.

“People always asked me when I was going to do videos but I didn’t have the time,” she said.

“Ironically, coronavirus has given us the time and the impetus to work out how to conduct classes over Zoom.”

Though she remains a painter “first and foremost”, Ms Diefenbach said she’s not distracted by explaining her process as she works live to camera, and answering questions from participants.

“Not every artist can operate in multiple modes at once; I’m not only talking about what I’m doing on the canvas but also about life’s journey – spiritually, physically, emotionally – at the same time,” she said.

“I think teaching helps you confirm your own process and I’ve been doing this for a long time now.

“And a lot of people tell me they can actually see what’s happening better on the Zoom session than in real time so that’s an unexpected bonus.”

Lyn Diefenbach during one of her online classes
Lyn Diefenbach during one of her online classes

Her first overseas workshop, in France, was as a guest of the International Pastellists Society of which she has now reached its highest level. She was subsequently invited to China’s celebration of 100 years working with pastels.

“I remember, during a Q&A session, one of the Chinese guests asked me why all the Western artists were so old,” she said.

“In China, children from a very young age are trained in the correct methods of various arts and are really appreciative of their cultural heritage.

“Here the attitude tends to be, “Don’t do art, it’s not going to earn you a living”, so people neglect that artistic side until they’re retired and they take it again.

“It’s incredibly sad because all the studies prove that a half-hour of creativity a day can make an enormous difference in terms of mental health.”

Ms Diefenbach was raised in a Yeppoon household dedicated to all kinds of arts and crafts, entering competitions in primary school and selling her first piece at 12.

“Going away to other places makes you very aware how beautiful and inspiring is our own neck of the woods,” she said.

“It’s a pity the councils don’t invest more in acquiring local artists’ works but I do love sitting out on the foreshore among the mosaics watching people doing interesting things.”

Ms Diefenbach began working in oils, “painstakingly painting every leaf and blade of grass” in works which could take as long as a year to complete. She switched to pastels to speed up the process.

She’s a stickler for learning the fundamental, technical skill of painting before “jumping off the rails and doing whatever you feel like”.

Among the Diefenbach’s Vimeo sessions on offer is her “What Every Artist Needs to Know” title which retails for $25.

For more information on classes or videos, see Lyn’s website or search on Vimeo.