by Tony Bellows
DIANA Bowen was born in Llanelly, South Wales. Her family moved to Cambridge when she was 6 years old, where she discovered art was her favourite school subject. After leaving school, in 1949, she joined the drawing office of the Austin Motor Co. as a tracer.
Shortly afterwards she married, and had children and started painting, later joining the Dudley Art Circle (1976) where she exhibited. Diane moved to Jersey in 1978 with family and found herself greatly inspired by the Jersey land and seascape, and joined the Jersey Arts Group and the Art Exhibitors Guild.
Her early work is mostly pastel, mainly depicting landscapes. She told La Baguette that Jersey was a 'painter’s paradise' and many of the coastal areas she enjoyed painting are still mostly unspoilt. Although she might take photographs to do extra work on a painting back at her studio, she generally painted on site.
In 1980 Diana with the help of Gerald Palmer launched the 'Portelet Exhibition' which has become an annual event. She also had her work shown in the Pastel Society Exhibition at the Mall Galleries in London. With Palmer's help, postcards of her prints were also on sale to tourists.
Diane attended an evening class at Les Quennevais to learn techniques for painting portraits, and says that this can be difficult finding models to sit still for the time required.
As well as pastels, she has also painted in different media, including watercolour, oil paintings, painting on silk, and has produced lampshades and silk cushions. She likes to listen to Mozart as she paints at her Noirmont home.
Diane says modern technology has also made it simpler to produce prints for sale, and these are produced in-house, by her husband Tom using digital software and colour printers.
Unfortunately, in recent years, her eyesight has been deteriorating, and she can no longer depict fine detail. However, this has not prevented her painting, and her recent work is more abstract and impressionistic, full of vibrant colours.
Eyecan, formerly known as the Jersey Blind Society, has recently set up an arts and crafts room at their Westlea Centre, and have asked her to help tutor those who are also visually impaired to paint and says she 'is very pleased that she can help support others in this way'.