I am an impatient artist. Throughout my life, art has been an outlet for me, a way to express myself when words would not suffice – and when I get an idea in my head, I just want to see it come to life as quickly as possible.
Being an artist forces me to look carefully, paying attention to light and shade and movement and colour. It demands that I see things from different perspectives. It makes me search for the beauty in the world, whilst permitting my imagination free rein. It challenges me.
I'm a scientist as well as an artist – I earned a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College London for work on experiments searching for the mysterious dark matter that may make up a large fraction of our Universe, and was awarded a Zeldovich Medal for my work on space missions aimed at detecting gravitational waves, the ripples in space-time predicted by Einstein's theory of General Relativity. For me, art and science are a natural pair. At heart, they are both about observation and maths. Drawing and painting are about breaking down what you see into light and shade, and setting that down on paper, informed by an acute awareness of what you may leave out: those things that your own visual system, a creature of calculation and approximation and gestalt, will fill in on its own. When you get it right, the laws of physics and biology work for you in perfect synchrony, and you end up creating something greater than the sum of its parts.
This website bears my name and showcases my fine art, but there are two people behind it. Alongside every painting and drawing on this website, there is a story, and my sister, Samantha, is the storyteller of our team. And I think at this point, I'll hand you over to her.
For as long as I can remember, I've used language to make sense of things. We live in a crazy, beautiful world. Ideas can be chaotic. Concepts can be nebulous. My imagination takes me on some wild and wonderful journeys. But I've found that if I can put something into words, I'm one step closer to understanding it. I think that's why my head has always been so full of stories.
As far as my background is concerned, I attended University College London, where I earned a degree in psychology. I went on to do various jobs, and ended up learning a lot about administration (I'd like to think I can organise pretty much anything!) and finding out that I seriously love being around other people. It makes perfect sense that I now find myself the one who usually greets customers at our Covent Garden stall and tells them a story – or five!
It's my privilege to pen the stories that accompany Diana's beautiful pictures – and to work alongside my sister.
Customers at our stall often ask us which comes first, the picture or the story. The answer is that it's neither: the idea comes first. Sometimes one of us will have a point she wants to make, an emotion she needs to express, a joke she must share, and that will be the starting point. But frequently we'll just be chattting about everything and nothing, and ideas will spring from that. The very best ideas have us talking over each other, racing to finish each other's sentences. Often we start off in one place and end up in another. The process is annoying and exciting and prosaic, all at once. Sometimes the picture is created before the story is written; sometimes it's the other way round. We don't think it matters.
Before we go, we'd like to invite you to visit
If you've enjoyed your time here, please do come back. We are aiming to upload new work regularly, so there should be something fresh to see fairly soon. (Diana did mention that she's an impatient artist, didn't she?)
Thanks for visiting,
Diana and Samantha
Note: Our full names are Diana Naomi April Shaul and Jacquie Samantha Shaul. Diana Shaul Fine Art is the trading name of our partnership, Diana N A Shaul & J Samantha Shaul.
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