John Diehl: Blurring the Lines of Oil Painting

By Lisa Orgler in Featured Artists > Oil Paintings

As you’ll soon see, John Diehl is a landscape painter whose style is completely his own. His paintings (which he markets as either “Blurscapes" or “Knifescapes") offer an intriguing twist to a rather traditional subject matter—not to mention that his focus on developing such a unique style full of music, movement, and vibrancy has led to national exhibits and many private collectors.

When I first saw John’s work, it instantly reminded me of the view from a moving car. As much as I wanted to take in the scene, it was speeding by too quickly to grasp.


This sense of speed and dynamic movement creates anticipation for the viewer. It feels as if you’re just about to grasp the crisp landscape—but of course, that can’t happen.

As John wrote on his website, “I use landscapes as a means to express feeling as opposed to capturing a scene”. The emphasis is mine, yet it’s very true.

If you look through his work, you’ll notice that most of John’s Blurscapes are compositionally divided into three horizontal lines: ground, trees, and sky. The sky is always the largest, but it’s the color arrangements that he creates which determine where your eyes will rest.

In the first painting shown above, the ground is a bright yellow, making it the initial focal point before your eye moves up and across. In the image below, the light blue sky above the trees acts at the starting focal point. It’s being crushed by the dark sky above and trees below as night starts to fall.


In addition to his Blurscapes, John also creates incredibly textured paintings with a palette knife, called Knifescapes.

Instead of speeding by this landscape, we’re able to stop and enjoy the subtle lighting and detail of the scene. John’s Knifescapes range from realistic landscapes, like the one below, to very abstract pieces.

Dunes at Midday

If you’d like to learn more about John Diehl and his dynamic paintings, please visit his beautiful website at


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