Cafe painting – a new obsession

Cafe painting is my new obsession.

The summer temperatures have hit the (Celsius) 40s lately. Although that doesn’t favour outdoor painting, there is plenty to paint indoors. From September last year I was lucky enough to paint in a local restaurant once a week. Over ten weeks I created a number of small painted sketches of coffee drinkers.

weary cafe customer-cafe painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

When Jo Harris of Mrs Harris’s Shop offered me the chance to exhibit in the 2018 Fringe at Caffe L’Incontro in Gay’s Arcade I jumped at the chance. More cafe painting!

cafe painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-2017

The inhabitants of Gay’s Arcade are helpful and friendly. Upstairs on the balcony level there is a community of makers – jewellers, painters, a tailor, dressmakers and a printer among them.

Coffee is good downstairs and upstairs the view of the cafe and the customers is truly exciting. Small paintings are emerging and a large studio piece is on the way too.

balcony viewpoint-cafe painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-2018

The Opening date is February 23rd, 6-9pm at Caffe L’Incontro, Gay’s Arcade, Adelaide. The exhibition runs until the end of March.

In the meantime, I trust you have enjoyed little holiday break too and have found plenty to inspire and delight you as 2018 begins!


Tourists in Edinburgh, Scotland

tourists-2015-10-peopleatplay-EdinburghScotland-PhilippaRobert-On Calton Hill Edinburgh

Tourists are fascinating. When they pause to look, plan or re-orientate they make interesting subjects for paintings. This family is in Edinburgh Scotland on Calton Hill where they took a moment to examine the map and make some plans. Perhaps it was just the “mother” making plans. The body language of the younger people shows only a casual interest, if that. But it is interesting to ponder on what is really going on. In the meantime, what a colourful cluster they make on the canvas!

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Source: Tourists in Edinburgh, Scotland – Philippa Robert

Tourists in Edinburgh, Scotland

2015-10-peopleatplay-EdinburghScotland-PhilippaRobert-On Calton Hill Edinburgh

This is an image of a tourist family gathering around a map. They stand on Calton Hill, overlooking Edinburgh Scotland. People are fascinating and this little group was a good example.

The body language was something to behold, for anyone who has had a close association with teenagers. In my mind, I saw three children travelling with their mother. The daughter who I imagined to be the eldest shows almost complete disinterest. It feels as though she is only just managing to put up with the family trip. The middle child, wearing the blue beanie was reasonably attentive or at least looking the part while the youngest child (partly hidden) is turned towards his mother, waiting for her pearls of wisdom!

In the beginning I painted this work in tones of black, grey and white. It was part of a mutual challenge I had with a colleague in the Netherlands. Here is my first version of the work.

2015-people at play-Philippa Robert-Calton Hill, Edinburgh
On Calton Hill, Edinburgh (monochrome)

The subtle warmth in this monochrome arises from the wheaty colours of the linen ground showing through.

In the finished work I cut back the tonal interest around the head of the boy on the left. The compositional flow seemed to stop there unless I reduced it.

2015-10-peopleatplay-EdinburghScotland-PhilippaRobert-On Calton Hill Edinburgh
On Calton Hill, Edinburgh

The mother-figure had bright hair so I used the theme colour to warm up the figures. The cold white shirt of the daughter seems to emphasise her detachment. It was interesting too to see them perched high on the hill, with the Royal Mile and then distant suburbs beyond.

Family life! Do you know it?

PS:  This is one of my happy snaps that turned into a painting! The work is about 30x30cm, acrylic on linen and framed in black wood. As a special with this blog post, I am offering this painting to readers at a discount. Normally $410, now $380 for the first blog reader to claim the coupon at checkout: “2130blog”.

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