- First off, she draws wonderfully well - with a very sensitive line.
- Next she's a big user of pastels but uses them with very few strokes and a light touch...
- ...she produces stunning pastel drawings in a sketchy sort of way - which of course is another reason I like her work
|Lambing Time, North Wales by Diana Armfield|
- She's the inspiration behind my sketches of interiors with people - often in the middle of a nice meal!
- She's not wedded to one media. I love her painting as well in oils, watercolour and gouache. I like her dabs and dashes and beautiful modulations of colour.
- She draws and paints the bits of Venice that nobody else seems to paint
- I always find her people very believable and love her drawings of women talking. They speak of quiet observation of real people.
In my art, I’m always trying to express something which I’m admiring. The last thing I’m thinking about is expressing myself.Diana Armfield
After that you can find a summary of how she likes to work followed by a synopis of her career to date - she's now in her ninety second year - plus where you can see her work.
Diana Armfield on her way of working
She primary paints landscapes (including sheep), townscapes and interiors (with people) as well as flowers. Her format is invariably quite small and never exceeds 50X 60 cms.
I work from observation and experience; draw and paint what I can admire, enjoy or love; to share with others what I discover and reflect on. I hope to reveal and confirm that the things and experiences I paint are of lasting importance and enormously worth cherishing. To translate into paint is always a challenge and something of a mystery.
Diana Armfield RA (RA website)The following is adapted from her profile for the Mall Galleries
Media and supports: I use oils, pastel, watercolour, gouache, lithography, etching, drawing, both sketchbook and for showing. I create work on canvas, hardboard, mounting board with homemade egg primer - subsequently toned. All kinds of watercolour and drawing paper, canson for pastels, plus smooth paper and hardback sketchbooks.
Brushes and tools: In terms of specific materials, I use hog brushes for oils, a palette knife, rag, fingers, sable brushes (for watercolour) and soft pastels.
Work in progress: I usually have more than one work on the go, usually of a different medium. However, I go through flowers hour after hour for a few hours or days, hoping to establish them before too much altering or wilting. A big bunch of wild flowers can take weeks with replenishing, over painting, adding to, removing and shifting.
Observation from life vs photography: I paint from life or sketchbooks as the visual experience is rather more intense and memorable than from a photograph. I do take photos sometimes, and may refer to them - very seldom for flowers. In themselves photographs are interesting, offering their own qualities, but they aren’t the same as my own experience and are no substitute for drawing and looking.
Sketches to paintings: I work both on the spot in landscape , townscape, from sketchbook drawings for interiors, cafes etc. I sometimes paint larger versions from smaller sketches. Sometimes a drawing will set off both an oil and a pastel, watercolour or etching.
|a double page spread of sketches of people on the Riva in Venice|
She was born in June 1920 and was educated at Bedales, Bournemouth, Slade School of Fine Art and Central School of Arts and Crafts
She met her husband Bernard Dunstan at art school during the second World War. They live in Kew and have three children.
- prior to becoming a full time artist age 45, she worked until 1965 as a textile and wallpaper designer. Her designs are in a permanent collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum
- she taught at the Byam Shaw School of Art from 1959 until 1990
- 1970 - elected member of the New English Art Club (now an Honorary Member)
- 1975 - elected member of the Royal West of England Academy (now a Homorary Retired Academician)
- 1980 - elected to the Royal Watercolour Society
- 1989 - elected to the Royal Academy of Arts and became a full member in 1991
- Honorary member of the Pastel Society and the New English Art Club
|Showing the way, Santanzelo, Venice - by Diana Armfield|
gouache and pastel
- The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition where she has been a regular exhibitor since 1966
- Exhibitions by the
|The feature wall for work by Diana Armfield at RWS Spring Exhibition 2011|
The featured artist is Diana Armfield RA RWS Hon. NEAC Rt. RCA Hin. PSRA RWS PS who is now in her nineties and still exhibiting on a regular basis at the RA and other leading art societies of which she is a member. I think I'll probably do a separate post about Diana Armfield as she's one of the artists I really like and I can't do her work justice in this post. If you like works which are amazingly well drawn and which mix media with many fewer marks than you initially think are there you should pay a visit to this exhibition. The exhibition includes access to her sketchbooks via a display cabinet and as you can imagine I was riveted by this aspect!Review: Royal Watercolour Society - Spring Exhibition 2011Links:
- Royal Academy - Painters/Royal Academicians - Diana Armfield RA
- Royal Academy - Out to lunch - Bernard Dunstan and Diana Armfield
- Royal Watercolour Society - Diana Armfield RA RWS
- Royal West of England Academy - Diana Armfield
- New English Art Club - Diana Armfield
- Debretts - Miss Diana Armfield RA
- BBC Your Paintings - Diana Armfield
- Christies - Diana Armfield
- ArtNet - Diana Armfield
- Artists against Wind Farms - Diana Armfield