"The subjects I choose to paint are predominately horizontal. Like lying down for a moment they are intended to invoke a quiet, interior mood. Although they are all extroverted subjects, taken from nature, they are inspired by landscape of the Impressionists and the Romanticists - geography and weather all being expressions of human states. Some are quiet platforms to gaze skyward from. I try to make them simpler each time I paint. A body of water without a foreground or figure removes any narrative. They are often devoid of figures to encourage a gaze".
Rob's most recent exhibition was in May - June 2013 at the Landship Gallery, Headland Park, Mosman in Sydney.
View a selection of the artist's current work.
Rob has always felt at home in the Australian bush or in the water. His home is close to the ocean and harbour in Sydney's northern beaches. Some of the subjects he paints are Plein Air from a box easel and some are studio works from photos he takes from a kayak, at water level or from trips to the bush. For him trying to paint water can be a path to madness.
"It is translucent and reflects. But it always draws me closer, and to paint it with a lucid hand is a returning ambition."
He spent extensive time travelling throughout Australia in his late twenties, working on fettling gangs and living out of a kombi van in remote parts. He taught Visual Arts in high schools and to adults. He still gets out to the bush in winter and weekends. He kayaks and swims regularly and finds contact with water replenishing. Occasional 3 day kayaking expeditions with friends, camping on beaches, provides source of material for painting.
The most seductive aspects to landscape for him is the fugitive light. For this he uses the French Impressionists technique, which translates to "Be very quick and you might be lucky. Let the detail take care of itself." He says this can work for him with enough practice. Many works miss the target entirely and are discarded. With many different painting languages in circulation, the chosen style is direct and needs no interpretation - it is a vernacular which is accessible to everyone.
Rob's work has been exhibited in group and solo exhibitions and he also paints for corporate and private commissions.
"The urgency of the painted gesture is an exciting way to paint. Rather than paint one subject slowly, I impatiently joust the same subject many times. Inevitably, the one that is chosen to keep, is the painting I was almost indifferent about whilst it was being painted."
Paintings in acrylic or oils are stapled to stretchers or ply wood. Where ply wood has been used as a backing it has been sealed with acrylic. Occasionally, some paintings are on primed paper and are attached to rice paper at the periphery and laid over sealed ply. The rice paper is adhered to the painting and ply using reversible glue. Western Red or Canadian Cedar frames are milled down by the artist from new or recycled timber, and sealed with water based polyurethane.