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.



More landscapes from Europe

2013-landscapes-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Village church, Alsace
2013-landscapes-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia-Village rooftops, Alsace
Village rooftops, Alsace; 20x25cm, (private collection)


2013-landscapes-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Village church, Alsace
Village church, Alsace; (25x20cm) was $300, now $270


2013-landscapes-outdoor painting-Philippa Robert-Alsace hillside

Alsace hillside; 25x20cm (private collection)

More landscapes from Europe

Landscapes are tantalising subjects. For the artist, locality really has little to do with it, except when there is an exotic element. I am playing on that here!

I painted these three landscapes in the Alsace during a sunny holiday week with friends. How lovely does that sound? Even more so on such a wild wintry day as this. The memories are great to have and some of the recording was in paint!

The Alsace is an interesting area with a history of flexible borders between Germany and France. In some parts it can be either French or German. We had just come from Paris and were in the habit of polite greetings before any transaction. A local villager responded to my “bon jour” with a blank look…hmm perhaps not French.

The village we stayed in was tiny and rambling. High mountainsides surrounded us and the views were very picturesque. The roads around and towards the edges of the town were mostly un-surfaced and steep. These three paintings show a bit of the layout and the special charm. I am only sorry you can’t hear the lead cow bell as we did during the evenings when the cows wandered through the village orchards nears us. Someone purchased two of these landscapes from Europe as a wedding present – one remains available. And two of them will be featured in my new book of landscapes – not the same two. That is for you to guess or wait to find out!

And, more about the “tantalising” nature of landscapes another time. Now that’s tantalising…





A painter’s tales

A painter’s tales – where are they now? Over the past decade collectors and studio visitors have enjoyed the stories that used to accompany every painting I sold. My writing eased off when I had a big show of mostly outdoor paintings a few years ago. Pressure was on painting and framing rather than writing in the lead-up to the exhibition. There were 35 works in all and 25 of them were small outdoor works.


Since the revamp of this website and its launch on April 1st there have been a few versions of my slogan and logo. I think the latest one says it all.

saved for facebook thumbnail

The need for an artist to be a writer was my theme a few weeks ago when I introduced my book of South Australian Seascapes. I have decided to bring back the writing!

There is a train of thought that a painting should be sufficient in itself to convey a message. Some artists say they shouldn’t need to discuss their work. I disagree. I am a great believer in filling in the gaps. Ironic perhaps when my paintings are mostly realistic. There are always interesting stories about the creation, the circumstances or choices, the people or animals involved as extras.

Here’s a quick snippet from the book.


Wait for ME!
This little painting tells a family story, a common one I suspect. The big sister gets tired of being big sister and forges ahead, driven by her excitement about being at the beach. The cry of the little brother was imagined of course as I painted the duo. The reds lead into the picture. It is easy to imagine the trek across the warm sand with little brother lagging even further behind.

How about you? Do you believe it is important to tell a story with words as well as paint? Let me know what you think.


South Australian Seascapes

South Australian Seascapes. Seascapes = sea and view, right? Not always!

Let me tell you another story from my new book.

“At sea level”

This image of shallow water and the flick of a heel is full of freshness and optimism. The water is clear, the heel is young and healthy. The look is summery. The movement is forward.
However, the story of this painting has two chapters.

Firstly, the water. The image of the water alone was pleasing to me. Somehow the colour harmonies were lively and interesting. I even used a snippet of it for my business card. But as a painting it seemed to be a plain statement of beauty. Which is ok, but not enough. It is too easy to fall into the ‘sweet and cloying’ trap with seascapes. Too much beauty sometimes.

I had taken many photographs of the shallows at our local beach but one morning I was lying on my stomach taking a series when a perfect leg approached. I acted nonchalantly as if I was avoiding the walker but CLICK – got him! It was actually a dull grey morning and the suntan was not as deep. But who says that can’t be fixed with paint?

Impossible to resist. Just what the painting needed. These ripples could be waves but the leg suggests the scale. I didn’t see his face so don’t know him. I am not sure whether he knows he has been immortalised in paint. One day he might recognise a freckle perhaps?

The crispness speaks of our bright Australian light. If I could bottle it I would. “At sea level” is one of my favourite paintings.