Diana Armfield says that she paints subjects that enhance life and need cherishing... protecting. She searches out a harmony from the chosen scene to share with others. Painting seems to make the subject permanently special for her.
“Of course life receives powerful negative forces as well as positive, but unless a harmony is achieved in the work, it can’t be art, only just a reflection of life. Great artists can reconcile in their work both the positive and negative.” For Diana, it stretches her talent enough to learn from her subject and attempt to order it into something meaningful that enriches life.
Diana works in several media; each can influence the method. Working outside, response to the subject is paramount. Once the choice of toned support and boundaries is acknowledged, the scene itself will seem to dictate what follows. Back in the studio, the outcome will get a long appraisal. If then developed in the studio, her emphasis shifts to thoughts of geometry, memory, imagination, possibly a drawing will come into play.
Flowers are seldom static. At first she will attempt to establish dominant blooms against precise indications of the more stable elements; exhilarating, sometimes despairing, rarely abandoned!
Pastels, usually based on sketchbook drawings; they seem to her, appropriate for town or café scenes. Figures, dogs get added from memory, imagination, or the sketchbook. They become alive to her, developing personalities and situations, rather in the way that characters in novels do for authors. Observed drawing underpins all her work.
1920 Born on June 11
Educated, Bedales, Bounmouth Art, Slade School, Central School
1942 to 46 Cultural Activities Organiser, Ministry of Supply
1946 to 52 Armfield Passano partnership for designing and printing fabrics and wall papers
1949 Married Bernard Dunstan
1949 to 50 Tutor in the Textile Department at Central School of Arts and Crafts
1959 to 90 Taught at Byam Shaw Art School
1959 to 91 Visiting Tutor at various art schools
1970 Elected a Member of the New English Art Club
1975 Elected a Member of the Royal West of England Academy
1980 Elected a Member of the Royal Watercolour Society
1991 to 92 Elected a Member of the Central Royal Academy
Royal West of England Academy, Hon. Ret.
Royal Watercolor Society, Hon. Ret.
Royal Cambrianan Academy, Hon. Ret.
Royal Academy, 1991, Assn. 1989
1970 Browse & Darby (Solo Exhibition)
2002 Albany Gallery
1966 Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
2008 Curwen & New Academy 50th Anniversary
2001 Royal Cambrian Academy
Royal Academy Friend’s Room 90th Birthday Show.
2012 Royal Academy “Now”
2015 & 2016 Belle Shenkman Room, Royal Academy (Joint Exhibition)
Pocket Guide: Painting in Oils, Mitchell Beazley, Series Consultant
Drawing, A practical step by step guide, A Mitchell Beazley Handbook, Series Consultant
The Art of Diana Armfield by Julian Halsby, David & Charles Publishers