Born in Penge, London, she studied at the Slade School from 1912 to 1914, also in Karlsruhe, Germany. Her move to Cornwall in 1921 was to start working (briefly) with Stanhope FORBES. She was influenced by Algernon Mayow TALMAGE to paint in oil because he thought she was so bad at watercolours. She went on to develop an individual style of still life in the 1930s, and still later, under the influence of Ben NICHOLSON, this developed into an abstract style.
She married Henry Armstrong, a civil servant, and moved to Carbis Bay in 1921 whilst maintaining studio initially at 1 Piazza Studios, then at 9 Porthmeor Studios, St Ives. In their early days there, she and Henry acquired Rose Cottage, the former home of writers Edith and Havelock Ellis, which was to become their permanent residence.
At the March Show Day in St Ives (1924) she exhibited posters, book illustrations and a flower and fruit study. As Shearer Armstrong she exhibited regularly at the RA and also at the Royal Scottish Academy. Through her friendship with Mary PEARCE and her interest in the paintings of Bryan PEARCE she was to be the conduit for Pearce's first major show of work in 1959 (25 paintings) at the Scottish Gallery in Edinburgh, where he shared a three-person show with Armstrong and the St Ives artist Guy WORSDELL.
From 1926 she also exhibited at Newlyn, and in later years she gave art classes to the residents at St Teresa's Cheshire Home, Marazion. At this later stage she returned to a more traditional style of floral painting, of which there is an example in the permanent collection of the HYPATIA TRUST.
Painter, printmaker, illuminator and teacher
works and access
Works include: Cornish Landscape; White Harbour; All Saints Church, Carbis Bay; Sleeping cat; The Shepherd - This year of Grace (1938); Conversation Piece (col pl in Hardie 2009); White Harbour (1964)
Access to work: Hypatia Trust (floral study); White Harbour: Duke of Edinburgh; Cornwall County; Scottish Educational Committee; NAG (col)
RA; RSA; PSA; STISA; Taurus Artists
Solo show, Scottish Gallery, Edinburgh
NAG Solo show 1925, Dec 1926 Summer (group), December 1926;
Elsewhere in the provinces and widely abroad
Penlee House, Penzance Women Artists Exhibition 2002
Penwith Society of Arts in Cornwall
Taurus Artists Group, London (Founder member)
STISA 1927-49 (Founder member)
misc further info
Cornishman 7 Jul 1926, 8 Dec 1926;
Axten (2004) Bryan Pearce and his artist friends
Buckman (2006) Dictionary of Artists in Britain since 1945
Hardie (1995) 100 Years in Newlyn: Diary of a Gallery
Hardie (2009) Artists in Newlyn and West Cornwall (col pl p145)
Johnson & Greutzner (1975) Dictionary of British Artists
Penlee House (2002) Women Artists in Cornwall
Public Catalogue Foundation (2007) Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly: Oil Paintings in Public Ownership p80
Tate St Ives 1939-64: Twenty Five Years of Painting, Sculpture and Pottery
Tovey (2000) George Fagan Bradshaw - Submariner & Marine Artist, etc (STISA Principal members list p228)
Tovey (2003) Creating a Splash (listed under Shearer)
Tovey (2009) St Ives: Artists and Community (incl likeness p151);
Whybrow (2013) St Ives: The Story of Porthmeor Studios;