It was during my time at King’s in London that I was inspired by art from the Middle Ages to the Modern period. From then on my art education primarily came from visiting the Courtauld Institute and the National Gallery where I would stare at the paintings on the walls until I had some inkling as to how it was done, then go home read books and experiment! The greatest influences on my style would be those artists that paint using the traditional oil paint layering techniques such as Van Dyck, Rembrandt and GF Watts. I have also been greatly influenced by artists of today such as Odd Nurdrum and Pam Hawkes – the latter of which inspired me to work with metal leaf.
I am strongly influenced by spiritual and religious paintings, which is why I use gold and silver leaf. It was used extensively throughout the Middle Ages in early Christian iconography where it lends a brilliance and spiritual dimension to a painting that is not possible any other way. The mirror-like reflection on the paint surface changes as the viewer walks round the painting, adding an extra element of interaction with the viewer. The paintings come alive particularly at night in a candlelit room throwing back the viewers presence with wonderful flickering highlights.
In a search to find a genre that best describes my work, I have chosen the term 'Magical Realism' which concerns itself with broken boundaries between the mythical and the real.
Diana Armstrong 2014
At work in my studio