She relied on her photography as a visual reference when she returned to her studio to paint.
Philadelphia artist Diane Burko is internationally renowned for her large-scale landscape paintings. Like many landscape painters, Burko has used photography to create preliminary studies for her paintings and drawings. She has traveled all over the world to observe and experience spectacular sites like volcanoes, waterfalls, and glaciers. To capture the magnitude of such locations, Burko began to photograph her subject matter from an aerial perspective.
Gradually, Burko's aerial photographs developed into their own series of prints and further photographic experimentation. Eventually, Burko began taking photographs with the intention of creating singular works of art. For the past two years, she has moved from extreme heights to close-up views of wooded areas where she lives in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Burko's recent photographs have been described as a more personal, intimate, and abstracted view of her natural world. Her beautifully crafted images include detailed views of forsythia, hemlock, juniper, and magnolia trees in winter and in spring. Their meandering patterns of branches and leaves, and overall density, have many of the same abstract qualities seen in her aerial photography. Yet, the close-up views are much more visceral, powerful, and reflective of her painterly aesthetic.