July feature: landscapes (and a seascape for variety)

The Landscape feature this month has been an unusual one for me. It has been a chance to air some paintings that are held in private collections as well as some new ones.

This time I will show two paintings that will be on display in my open studio event during SALA in August. This time I can show you the Before and After versions, which I hope you find interesting. These ‘secrets’ are an inside view of the artist’s decision making. I am curious about this process whenever other artists reveal it. Are you?

The first is a seascape which has worried me since late last year. Eight or nine months “in progress”.

Yes, that’s s l o w progress all right, but sometimes work needs to be put aside, and for the artist to truly detach from it. I was full of energy and vision last week when I found it in a stack ready for framing.

I had seen the thumbnail a few times during those nine months and thought it resembled a ‘Picasso’ portrait. That would be fine if it happened to be a really good one, but not so fine this time. The two eyes at the top needed to be lost definitely. The colour was too uniform. And there was too much whitish paint.

2015-seascapes-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia- A slice of ocean v1
A slice of ocean v1


2016-seascapes-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia- A slice of ocean v2
A slice of ocean v2; 20x25cm, acrylic on linen panel

The final version is much more pleasing to my eye. To yours too?

The other painting is my most recent McLaren Vale outdoor landscape which I am holding in this photograph.

at Kay's winery

2016-outdoor painting-landscape-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-Looking south east, Kay Brothers Winery

It had been a lovely afternoon at Kay Brothers’ Winery with an artist friend. At about 4 pm the air turned suddenly chilly. When we packed up I still had a bit to do. That can happen. Perhaps I chatted a little too much to the visitors. I admit I also did a tiny bit of wine-tasting half way through. Kays make beautiful reds, but this is not actually an advertisement for them.

The luxury of studio time last week allowed me to complete the foreground grasses and that was it.

How different the colour looks in the second photograph. I will take more time to set the white balance next time I line this painting up.

Next month there will be a different feature. I will be celebrating having the Open Studio on weekend afternoons. There will be both pressures and pleasures in that. I predict that there will be some more stories emerging from the dust. I will post some installation views too. As I said earlier, both these paintings will be on display, final versions only of course!

And….don’t forget my special subscriber offer on the Landscapes book in August. Become a subscriber and I will send you the special link to the discount.



Southern Vales

Southern Vales-Philippa Robert, Kay Brothers winery, Southern Vales

The Southern Vales is a favourite spot of mine. I once lived so near the area that it was the automatic choice for day trips with interstate visitors. There is so much to enjoy – scenery, greenery, wineries, eateries. With friends it is a delight, even for a drive.

In past years I have been to Kay Brothers Winery as a maker-marketer of bow ties, ready made and t.y.o. (tie-yer-own). The winery is now 125 years old and has been in the same family for all that time. The hilltop location provides almost 360 degree views and a large picnic area is a magnet for visitors who choose to linger.

The family and staff at Kays’ have always been welcoming and friendly so it was easy to phone up and ask whether I could spend some time there painting with a friend this month.

Philippa Robert, Kay Brothers winery, Southern Vales

Weather and other arrangements had prevented such an outing until yesterday. By 4pm the chill was drawing in. That is about when this picture was taken.

There was quite a bit of coming and going around us. Two visitors from Norfolk were picnicking nearby and enjoying glasses of red with their lunch. They took a photograph of us (after asking permission) as we painted. Funny feeling, being part of the scene. As an artist I find it necessary to lift myself mentally out of the scene to objectify it, pull it apart somehow.

Another group of young Chinese tourists hovered. One young woman practised some English on me and an another came back later to take a photograph. The manager came down to introduce himself in person. He talked a little about the history of the family and their three artists. A very understanding gardener with a ride-on mower kept his distance while we worked. All in all not too busy, but during the afternoon I realised that we were in a tourist destination. You think of all people I would have known that after my earlier experiences as a Southern Vales tourist myself!

But it was quite a delightful session.

As with a lot of sessions lately it wasn’t quite long enough, just under two hours. Here is a rough smart-phone image of the painting at that stage. It was taken at night under a lamp so there is some flare as well as blur.

May 2016 Philippa Robert, Southern Vales, outdoor painting

My intention is just to show you where it is now, before I have contemplated it and refined the work. Plans are to return to the same spot next week if weather and arrangements permit. That would be ideal!

I will post the news of the progress next time.

Best wishes,