Diane Sherman is a journalist of sorts, but not in the traditional sense of covering news stories; rather she shares her stories and helps others do the same.
"I am a journalist of the inner world," says Sherman, whose forms of expression include visual art, writing and dance.
Past projects include making and giving away several thousand postcards with words like "create" or "we the people," simply to share love, kindness and beauty, she says. Walkabout, a 2011 poetry book, offers "glimpses into the places we stumble, pick ourselves up, take another step along the path and hopefully enjoy some of the journey," she writes.
Currently she's working on a memoir of 108 stories, corresponding to the number of mala beads on a prayer necklace used in meditation and prayer for many eastern religions.
"I think art saved me in many ways," says Sherman, whose father died when she was 7 — he was a journalist in the traditional sense, whose extraordinary career included winning a Pulitzer Prize. Her mother's remarriage meant frequent moves for the family, so Sherman turned to art and writing to entertain herself and express her inner world, she says.
Sherman lives near Corbin Park in a 1914 home full of period-furniture, eclectic artwork, reminders of travel to India, Mexico, Nepal, Tibet, and Europe, and beds for two her two canine companions. She converted the backyard into a pollinator's paradise, replacing grass with pathways, colorful perennials and a hardscaped "river" of gravel.
Her studio is a vibrant, multifunctional space inside and out. Formerly the garage, the exterior facing the house is turquoise with chartreuse trim. It's covered in a free-flowing mural of various flowers.
Inside are beige and teal walls and a tangerine floor, and French doors and large windows usher in plenty of natural light. A corner shelf holds treasured objects: a jar of sacred feathers, a Nataraja sculpture of the many-armed Hindu god Shiva as the divine dancer, and Sherman's "smudge" stick, which she burns to prepare the space for whatever happens next.
Sometimes she transforms the space into a classroom.
"As a teacher I'm most interested in supporting people to find their authentic voice whether it be through writing, visual art or movement," says Sherman, who has led yoga workshops and retreats for 25 years.
Sherman, who holds a bachelor's in art history from UCLA and a master's in consciousness and transformative studies from JFK University, is also interested in the "meta" impact of creativity. "I am fascinated with how the creative process shifts our consciousness — as artists, but also how artists speak for the collective and the era they are living through," says Sherman, whose artistic influences include Gustav Klimt, Frida Kahlo (especially her journals), Picasso, the Impressionists, Van Gogh, Chagall, Miro and Salvador Dali.
In her practice, she tries to remove barriers to creativity so that it simply flows through her, something she also shares with those who take her classes.
"I believe in knowing ourselves deeply," she adds. "We become our own best friends and find contentment and joy from within. In this way we are not disappointed by outer circumstances so much."
She emphasizes, "We are creative beings, and when we activate our creativity we step into the magic of the present moment."