Weekends with SALA

planning-SALA-Open Studio-Philippa Robert--Adelaide South Australia
SALA Update-Open Studio-Philippa Robert--Adelaide South Australia
SALA Open Studio 2016 – and unveiling a new apron!

Weekends with SALA? It makes for a change. The Festival is up and running, so it is time for an update from this corner.

The first two Open Studio weekends were a great success and the weather during three of the four sessions was bright and sunny.

A lot of visitors looked in. Some were old friends and some were new. Many stopped to talk and the afternoons were interesting. A few people were painters (one even had some house painting waiting at home). All were art lovers, enjoying the weather and the small art shows in Adelaide’s suburbs.

SALA Update-Open studio 2016-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia
The essential refreshments

A family group arrived while I was painting outside. They had seen my flyer in Copenhagen, the local ice cream shop. I should have guessed! There was quite a bit of evidence on the jumper of young Miss A.

Many people had come via the SALA Guide (Thanks SALA)! And one had come on recommendation from her sister in France. How exciting is that? I am stretching the story a bit there as the sister in France is a school friend and her visiting sister is also a friend. It was a wonderful reunion.

The second weekend wasn’t as sunny, but there were almost as many visitors.

Painting demonstrations

weekends with SALA-still life-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-SALA tulips in progress

It was difficult to continue painting when visitors arrived, so the notion of demonstrations was perhaps a bit ambitious. However, there was work going on. With such an unusually tidy studio I felt the need to paint to show my authenticity. Does that sound a bit odd?

Because of the small size of this space it has to be cleared to fit a few people in. Things are against the walls and masses of clobber is hidden in the adjoining room! I dread bringing it all back in, but that will be my chance for a spring clear-out.

weekends with SALA 2016-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia
SALA tulips (draft)

With a grey day on the second Saturday I started an indoor painting (some tulips in bud) and on Sunday when skies were brighter I took the easel outside again to put the finishing touches to the previous weekend’s beach scene. Although the large gates were open I chose to paint the outlook over the small gate as it made a strong frame for the composition.

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SALA gateway (draft)

Weekends with SALA continue!

There are two more weekends with SALA. The weather bureau has forecast showers for this one, so I am not sure what lies ahead for my painting. Perhaps another still life or at least completion of the tulips, buds or not.


Sunny spots, River Torrens


Today I will share with you another exerpt from my new book “Landscapes – Paintings by Philippa Robert”

I am presenting you with a special offer related to the book in this blog post. If you read all the way to the end you will find it!

Sunny spots, River Torrens

Sunny spots, River Torrens was painted just on the city side of the Seaview Road bridge over the Torrens at Henley Beach. The day was dull but there were occasional glimpses of bright sunlight through the clouds and it was these elusive moments I set out to capture.

My underpainting was done in a rich reddish purple which was an exciting start and gave the greens extra life. As the painting proceeded however, most of this purple was covered and the most exciting colour element became the glowing red earth against the green and the lime-yellow grass in the sunlight. The grey colour of the river under such a grey sky made another pale purplish contrast to the greens.

I couldn’t paint this scene without adding the horses. They are quite characteristic of this part of the Torrens and add a reference point for the scale of the river and trees.

The painting was started outdoors at Henley Beach but as I had only one session there, it was finished in the studio. The work came a long way from its wild purple beginning, but I feel it managed to maintain the freshness and immediacy of its outdoor origin.

The new book is available through this LINK.

But listen up! Here’s an insider’s tip. In August I am offering a special price to newsletter subscribers.
You can easily become a subscriber if you are not already. Just use one of the sign-up forms on my website.
Do that and be in the know for future offers as well!




2012-landscapes-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-Urrbrae House
Urrbrae House; 20x20cm
Bed of Roses, Mitcham. (30x30cm)

2014-landscapes-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-Cypresses Mitcham

Cypresses, Mitcham; 20x25cm (private collection)

Places for contemplation can feel like havens in this busy world. They are places where we can be alone with our thoughts and sometimes our particular memories.

We need them, but are often too busy to seek them out. For me any natural surroundings like the beach or bushland can put me into a contemplative mood. Even while I am painting there is a level of my mind which is switched off. I suppose that is more meditative. I certainly don’t solve any life problems but I can leave them behind for a bit.

Cemeteries are strange places, and while they don’t always feel welcoming perhaps it is in the mind of the visitor. Unless it is a painting excursion, my reason for being there is usually a funeral. That is a time for contemplation of course and if there is time to wander around known spots afterwards, all the better.

Gardens and cemeteries often go together, thank goodness. As you can see in two of these paintings at Mitcham Cemetery in Adelaide, two different sections can lie within the boundaries. One work is an exercise in rhythms, while the other has a gentler feel with greenery and sunlight.

Two of these paintings and their stories are in my new book – Landscapes. Recent work by Philippa Robert.

I am convinced that art books can put people in a contemplative mood. Give it a try!


Book of Landscapes

2012-landscapes-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-Recovery Kangaroo Island
Book-Landscapes-Recent works by Philippa Robert
New book – Landscapes

This book of landscapes has just been released.

The book has been a few months in the planning, writing and setting up so it has been only a virtual reality for me until now. What joy when it arrived on Monday in its concrete form! It reminded me of meeting the train on Saturday mornings once a month in Waikerie to see what books the public lending library in Adelaide had sent. In those days it was probably Milly Molly Mandy or The Secret Seven. Times have changed since then. This week the delivery was “Landscapes. Recent paintings by Philippa Robert”!

The beauty and importance of books

I really believe that the day of the book is NOT over. The sensuality of paper, the freshness that comes with turning pages are just two of the good things about books. Another advantage of actual over virtual books is to be able to curl up in a chair in a sunny spot to read. In any posture you choose, and with no back-lit text or images it is doubly restful – on eyes as well as body. Truly pleasurable. Art books are nice to have around too. As well as being a bit decorative on a table top, they are the sort of thing you can pick up and browse in for a while and go on with something else. Not too demanding but full of surprises.

Landscapes. Recent paintings by Philippa Robert

In this second book I have included longer passages of text for each painting. No more than one page as was the case with “South Australian Seascapes“, but more detail and more entertainment value! There are also more images in this book. I have chosen thirty landscape paintings to feature and write about. Some of them have been featured in my blog posts this month so might be familiar to you.

Here is an extract from the book.

2012-landscapes-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-Recovery Kangaroo Island
Recovery, Kangaroo Island (25x30cm); in private collection

Recovery, Kangaroo Island was a painting marking a February visit to my brother’s farm near Western River Cove. January had seen a major bushfire roar through the property with
twelve fire trucks in attendance. Luckily the farmhouse and sheds were saved but much bush
land was burned. 

Within a month the new growth had started to appear and this painting records the repair around the little billabong downhill from the farmhouse. It was a beautiful quiet spot to paint,
but the smell of charcoal was strong and the ants were big and busy.

Although the beauty of the scene grew from a near disaster, it was delightful to paint. I loved the blackness of the charred tree trunks and the contrasting sharp green of the new growth on the branches. It is as if Nature over-compensates for the damage and allows every possible node to sprout some greenery to allow the trees to respire and recover. I have almost a book’s worth of photographs of this phase of recovery but this is the only painting I have made – so far!

I am very excited to introduce you to this new book. It is available here!