Dramatic cafe paintings, quick and lively sketches.

cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-2018-in the spotlight

Dramatic cafe paintings this time. This might be the last batch for a while.

My selection today is driven by DRAMA!

So, what creates (painted) drama?

There are lots of  ways with composition and techniques. We can work with strong lines or shapes (and their combination), clear colour and vibrating colour contrasts or large differences in tonal value.

In my recent work on small landscapes and café paintings, I have been conscious of using tonal contrasts for dramatic effect.

“The Reader”

even more cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-2018-the reader

10x10cm; acrylic on linen panel. $90, framed

This fellow looks a bit different from the original “sitter”. He sat and read a newspaper for almost an hour. As it happens, I was working on another group when he arrived so I was glad he stayed. It was around Valentine’s Day and there were heart-shaped decorations suspended from the ceiling. From the mezzanine, our reader had a large “heart” above him. It made a strange image, but somehow unfair to my reader. About a month later, he re-appeared to sit and read the newspaper. A regular! He liked the painting but perhaps his wife thought I had lopped off too many years, or inches because she said the boys would not see it as a good likeness.

“In the spotlight”

even more cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-in the spotlight-2018

10x10cm; acrylic on canvas panel. $90, framed.

Their body language suggested that these three were involved in a job interview. The person in black seemed to be the interviewee, looking fairly relaxed under pressure. The figures are lightly brushed in and there is just a hint of the tiled floor on the left.

Drama

Both of these paintings are dramatic because of their contrasts between the background and the figures.

The first one on a deep blue ground shows highlights of a related paler blue which contrasts with the rusty brown.
The second draws its drama from the black background and the lighter figures of the two women. Again there are colour contrasts which add life to the composition.

“In tune”

Here’s one with a different sort of drama. Pale background and darker figures against the light.

10x10cm, acrylic on linen panel. $90 framed.

There are many ways to achieve drama in painting. I believe it is important not to overdo any one technique. The by-word is variety!

 

 

More cafe paintings, available now!

cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-A rare notion-2018

More cafe paintings for you to see this time. Here are three of my favourites! I hope you like them too.

Let’s see….

more cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

“Above it all” – acrylic on linen panel, 20x20cm. (SOLD)

 

more cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

“A Rare Notion” – acrylic on linen panel, 20x20cm. $220 framed in charcoal-coloured wood.

cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-Working with circles-2018

“Working with circles” – acrylic on Belgian linen, 66x61cm. $680 unframed.

So why are these my favourites?

For me, the answer to that is most often in the composition. Occasionally it is the curiosity factor.

“Above it all”

cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-Above it all-2018

After spending a few weeks painting the café from the mezzanine floor, I came downstairs for a change of perspective. In this case, it was also a simpler prospect because my subject was inert and stationary! Bliss after painting busy café patrons. These are the beautiful women who support the central (waterless) fountain. I was attracted by the rough symmetry and the gorgeous dull brass patina of the sculpture. Turquoise seemed to be the perfect colour to offset that. Simplicity and elegance. And sold.

“A Rare Notion”

cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-A rare notion-2018

This beautiful model, at least her top half, was sitting in a glass case between the entrance to Gay’s Arcade and the tables of Caffe l’Incontro.  While I was painting I had seen her from the mezzanine floor and included her in my “Café sketch”. But it was a week or two before I actually ventured down for a closer look. My subject was advertising “A Rare Notion”, the curio shop upstairs in Adelaide Arcade. Another week later she was settled back in her shop-home, so I was glad I painted her when I did. An eerie stillness about her, yes, but also a stylised beauty which harked back to the 1940s. She was draped with scarves and adorned with buttons, all of which added colour to her pale form. This painting is here for you ! Available now for $220, framed plus postage.

“Working with circles”

cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-Working with circles-2018

The mezzanine view of Caffe l’Incontro’s work-hub inspired this large studio painting. Against a backdrop of square tiles and angular shop-fronts, the circular forms of the work space makes a dramatic contrast. For an artist, working with circles has its particular challenges. I imagine that for staff, working in circles also has its difficulties. I enjoyed my work with this one and can still sense the bustle within that work-place.  In the painting the tight energy of the central circle has its echo in the dish of the overhead fountain and it softens and spreads out of the centre through the lively tiled squares. Despite the comparative size in the photographs, “Working with circles” is three times the height and width of the first two pictured. This painting is for sale and available here.

More cafe paintings

So, would you like to hear about more cafe paintings?

 

Cafe painting update

cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-2018-patience

A cafe painting update for you today.
It has been a while and you might be scratching your head. But here I am, ready for another start.
So much has happened. Lots to catch up on.

Caffe e chiacchierata

Philippa Robert-cafe painting-Adelaide South Australia 2018

January, February and some of March were taken up with painting in a lively Adelaide cafe, Caffe l’Incontro.
The Fringe exhibition “caffe e chiacchierata” at the same cafe was the culmination of some delightful times painting and meeting the locals, workers and visitors.

The café paintings

Here are some images of my recent works. The first two are approximately 17x12cms and both have been sold.
The first one is Cafe Sketch, shown also on the easel in the picture above. As you can see, I had an interested bystander for a few minutes that morning. Imagine how lovely that was!

cafe sketch-cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-2018

The second painting is “Smile!”. Also 17x12cms It captures the manager at work amidst the bustle and colour.

cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-Smile!-2018.

And this little painting is 10x10cms. It is difficult to establish in these photographs but it is smaller than it appears.
Entitled “Patience”, it is available now – just $90.

cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-2018-patience

I have another cafe painting update in the pipeline.
Because I continued to produce more paintings while the show was running, there are more for sale in the online shop or (by appointment) at the studio.
Take a look HERE and let me know what you think!

Cafe painting. Is it outdoor painting indoors?

Outdoor painting indoors-cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

Cafe painting is good fun. It is a bit like outdoor painting done indoors. Is that feasible? Many people would say no. I would say a qualified “yes”.

Recent experience at a local cafe convinces me that there are some elements in common.

Differences: outdoor-indoor

There are two main differences which are controlled indoors – variations in the light and protection from the weather. They are pretty big differences from the real thing. How can I possibly claim any similarities?

cafe painting-outdoor painting indoors-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

cafe painting-outdoor painting indoors-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

Similarities: outdoor-indoor

As you can see, the kit is the same. My subject matter is cafe customers. That makes the time tight, even tighter than painting outdoors. They move their limbs a lot and some move their heads in very expressive ways. More fun.
It is also another version of painting in public, under the eyes of curious people. Curious people are fine by the way, but in this case they do wonder why I am staring at them!

Painting people living their everyday lives at such close quarters feels as if I am teetering on the performer’s tightrope. There is a blurry border between the artist and their subject in this very social setting. The border is firmer outdoors where people are not my main focus.

Outdoor painting indoors-cafe paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

I am enjoying the tightrope and the chance to take risks in public. Artistic risks of course! Any painting exercise in the studio or elsewhere has them. The way I find best is to accept what I produce and learn as I go. There is some evidence for learning in the series so far. They are not in order of execution. It might be fun to arrange them in order….but that would give away too many secrets.

And yes, I still think cafe painting is a bit like outdoor painting, indoors. Do you agree?