Duane Albert Armstrong was born in Fresno on Christmas Day in 1938. He was raised in the countryside near San Luis Obispo until 1950 when his family moved to the Santa Clara Valley.
In more than five decades since his first art award at the age of twelve, Duane’s inquisitive nature and energy has resulted in over 7,000 works of fine art. In addition to these investment grade originals, the wide acceptance of his work catapulted him into the top five ranking in print sales nationwide. His work ethic and constant exploration in search of new levels in creativity and discovery is responsible for this prolific body of work.
Mr. Armstrong has been honored with two retrospective fine art shows. The first was at Les Cuisins Gallery, Concord, California in 1980. The second at Stanford University, Palo Alto, California in 2003 lasted three months and spanned four decades of his work. His paintings are owned and cherished by people from all walks of life. Some of the largest corporations in America have originals in their permanent collections.
The vast tranquility conveyed in his field paintings prompted one writer to say
Perhaps the most persuasive bond that united urban dwellers of every nation is the longing to escape the crowded, fast-paced, high decibel, tension-filled city. The thought of fresh, smokeless air, a view uncluttered by man-made structures and the quest of open spaces strikes a wistful nostalgia in all of us.
Duane Armstrong captures this longing in his paintings. His canvases are broad and vast and evoke a feeling of peaceful contemplation. A few children who appear in his works are far away, just within sight, almost within auditory range. Even they are a reminder that the presence of people can be a form of nostalgia.
Armstrong’s very technique is an extension of the mood he creates. Smooth pastel tones that shimmer and blend, broad areas of intense light, skies that stretch cloudless and open, all impart a sense of timelessness and harmony. Perhaps there never existed such a perfect place of refuge, or perhaps it exists everywhere. Perhaps Armstrong’s world is only in the mind of its creator, but
his vision is a remarkable one. More remarkable because we all know well the places he depicts, although we cannot recall exactly when we were last there.
Although many think of Mr. Armstrong as a painter of enchanted fields, he has a large following of collectors who are captivated by his other series such as: Abstract Studies, Abstracts with Glyphs, Floating Rings, Americana, Black Holes and the very popular Ponds series to name just a few of his diverse explorations in style, medium and content.
After reviewing the retrospective show at Stanford University, art historian Dina Scoppettone had this to say about Armstrong’s work:
With brilliant shocks of color boldly presented on giant canvases in an abstract manner of visual messaging, clues to the nature of Armstrong’s whimsy are not only found in the oil paint on canvas, but also in the title of each work. “Vladimir’s Black Hole Compressor” is one example that every viewer will confront with childish curiosity, as if it were a puzzle to be solved Armstrong’s paintings beckon the viewer to look deeply at the details that program each work, large scale or
otherwise. It is an excellent show of vitality, announcing the re-emergence of Duane Armstrong as one to watch and collect with new interest.