Darlene Dihel, a native Washingtonian, had a great career in education. After receiving a degree in Education and Art, she married and had two children. Her teaching included self contained classes 2-6 as well as Art K-12, plus a college design class.
The highlight of those teaching years was living on Guam and Kwajalein in the South Pacific for almost 20 years. She also taught in Oregon, Washington, and Florida. Darlene came full circle and returned to the Pacific Northwest upon retirement and spends most of her time painting and writing.
Early in her career the family made a trip to Japan where Darlene discovered SUMI-E, Japanese ink-brush painting. She studied this art on her own for many years. Upon returning to Washington State, she joined the prestigious group, Puget Sound Sumi Artists, and is an active member, taking classes from the group’s masters as well as participating in group shows.
The sumi artists refer to her as the organization’s Ambassador. Darlene also has solo shows, teaches sumi to people of all ages, and is a vendor at many festivals.
While teaching Darlene created units of interest in economics and art, a book of lists, and poetry. She is now studying Japanese poetry called Haiku as well as Haiga, an illustrated Haiku.
One day a story idea popped into Darlene’s head. She had studied the Asian Horoscope of the Lunar Calendar which honors 12 animals, each one having a year of its own every 12 years.
She wondered, “Why isn’t the panda one of the 12 animals of the horoscope? They are China’s treasures!” And she knew immediately the story she wanted to tell as well as how to illustrate it. Thus a book called Pandamonium was written and illustrated.
Being blessed with a great family, teaching career, being an artist and writer, has brought great happiness to Darlene on her life’s journey. She is passionate about her art and writing and anticipating the day she will be sharing Pandamonium with children everywhere.