In the words of Frank Sinatra; Robert, “I did it my way”. The examples of Robert’s paintings and drawings demonstrate his wide ranging skills in all media.The artists he admires most are Van Gogh, Millet and for traditional painting Caravaggio. Variety is definitely the key word for this evening.
When painting plein air Robert would use a view finder to scan the landscape until he settled upon an inspirational view. He would even place the view finder on a cane and refer to it for the first 30 minutes. Once the view was found he would take a photograph, before the light and weather changed. Next comes the sketch, followed by the painting. As a rule he would only work outside for about an hour and a half. The painting would then be completed in the studio.
For this evening a pencil sketch of farm buildings in a landscape was transfered in plum coloured acrylic on an indigo coloured canvas board. As the painting progressed he used his visual memory to develop the painting. He recommended novices to use the cheapest paints although he did admit you can tell the difference in finish between student and artist quality paints. Most of the brushes used were long synthetic flats. He didn’t use a flow improver, and built up layers with thin paint. An old plate was his palette. Using a hog pro art one and half inch brush, he painted the sky in cobalt blue. The order of work was background, middle ground and foreground: working dark to light. The details left to the last. Darks placed next to lights, warm colours were contrasted with cool colours, fingers and thumbs were used to create smooth passages of paint, dry brush technique applied to allow the under colours to glow through. Twisting the paint provided some interesting shapes and textures. A tissue smoothed gently over the surface created some soft edges. Impressionists do not use black, but on this occasion Robert used black mixed with blue to get an indigo colour. It was a surprise to see him use ‘flesh colour’ in a landscape.Robert chose to work in an impressionist style because it is quick, and he certainly worked quick, a complete painting from start to finish in one and a hours!