Breaking point

large-seascapes-Philippa Robert-Breaking point-seascapes-wave paintings-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia

Does everything have a breaking point?

I think materials do – think plastic fatigue or snapping brush handles.

And people…but that’s way off today’s topic. Or is it?

In business there is a “tipping point” at which things are about to go gang-busters. And that’s a positive.

Breaking waves

With waves there is a point of tipping and breaking. The hydro-dynamics of it is outside my realm but it seems that the wall of water crashes when it reaches a critical point. The profile of the seabed has something to do with the shape of the waves near the shore too and that alters when and how they break. (I have been up close and personal with a surfer in times gone by).

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“Winter wave” 25x30cm, acrylic on linen panel

Looking at my paintings I can see that this breaking point has fascinated me for a while.

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“Building swell” 45x60cm, acrylic on canvas

In its evolution, this next painting almost broke me! For a start it is unusually large for me – 100x100cm – and was difficult to carry up or down stairs and all but impossible to fit in the car.

Secondly, “Breaking point” has been on and off the easel for about 5 years. It has had at least two titles. And lots of unofficial unprintable ones.

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“April Surge” in 2016

This painting has had many hours of work poured into it and it has almost been finished a few times. Between those intervals this painting has literally hung around the house and reminded me of my struggle.

It began as a brutish storm painting. Its subject matter was stirred and sandy water with ochres and early on, some seaweed purples.

Those colours changed and then returned again. They were heightened or muted, but somehow I just didn’t like it! Simple as that.

Benefits of travel

After our return this week from a long trip I had a clear vision for this painting. The adrenaline of returning home triumphed over the fatigue and bingo! Off the wall, onto the easel…

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phone camera blues

…and 5 years’ work was over in a day (and 5 years). “April surge” became “Breaking point”.

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“Breaking point” 100x100cm, acrylic on canvas

Beauty overtook brutalism much to my relief and I emerged Unbroken!

“Breaking point” will be hanging at Cafe Lune as part of my show of wave paintings for SALA 2017.

We open on August 23rd at 81 Jetty Road Brighton, South Australia. Come along and celebrate with me.

PS: I will be “In session” on 23rd, 24th, 26th and 30th August from 2-4pm.

Planning exhibitions: August and November

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Hey, let’s have a planning meeting! What? Too much like work?

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A happy worker

Fear not, this will be painless for you.

Last year I worked backwards from December with plans for an Open Studio in November and SALA in August – also an Open Studio. This year will be different.

SALA Festival (South Australian Living Artists’ Festival) is on for young and old every year. It is not always possible for me to participate, depending upon what else is going on, but this year I will take part again. This time I will show in two venues, both outside the studio.

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A neat arrangement of things that make the place untidy.

A bonus for me is that there will be less tidying up of my own workspace. I actually wonder whether it is possible to over-achieve the tidying for an Open Studio. My difficulty is that it is such a small space that I need to prepare floor space and seating and make it safe for you to visit. But that’s for another time.

Back to planning for SALA. The first venue is the Rising Sun Hotel, Maylands where the RSASA is sponsoring a Women Portraitists’ Show. I have done many portraits in my years of painting but don’t feature it often as they are usually for commissions and gifts. For this invitational show, it is expected that we will exhibit an older piece of work (a favourite, not for sale) and one other of any content. My plan is to exhibit (for sale) a portrait of David Dallwitz, jazz composer and pianist as well as artist and teacher. David taught me to paint and these two portraits are in his style.

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David Dallwitz, 1988-2017; acrylic on board


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Full frontal Dave, 1988; 30x30cm; acrylic on canvas

I will exhibit either one of these two but hoping for the first, the larger of the two paintings. As well as the portrait, my other choice is a painting of figures, to maintain the theme.

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November is dedicated to another exhibition, this time for Mrs Harris’s Shop. Not at her shop in Torrensville this time but at her secondary venue. Cafe l’Incontro is in the very hip Gays Arcade in Adelaide city centre, just near T’Arts Collective.

The work shown there is still in progress. I am developing a series of outdoor landscapes. They will be either cafe scenes or Postcards from….

It is nice to have a plan that will evolve rather than be stamped out now! More fun that way. I hope you like surprises too!


SALA – South Australian Living Artists’ Festival

South Australian Living Artists' Festival-SALA logo 2016

South Australian Living Artists’ (SALA) Festival. Strange, isn’t it, that title?

After a bit more pondering the title seems to be a nice tribute. So many artists who are celebrated are not living. I suppose that’s what is strange about the title, its opposite.

August in Adelaide

That aside, August in Adelaide and in other areas around the state, is the month of SALA!

That means there are more than five hundred exhibitions on in unusual venues around the state. There is a specified Open Studio Day and even a local Maker’s Market.

Featured Artist

The featured artist for SALA 2016 is Catherine Truman. A monograph about her and her work has been printed and her ” Red Laboratory Shells” are on the cover of this year’s Guide.

SALA program-Philippa Robert-Adelaide South Australia
ALA Guide 2016

Open Studio

For SALA this year I have chosen to open the studio door every Saturday and Sunday in August. That will be 8 sessions of 3 hours each!

That sounds like a lot of time, but within those hours I plan to do some outdoor painting demonstrations in the front driveway if weather permits. Or set up a small still life in the studio if weather doesn’t!

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This is me, a few years ago at my SALA Open Studio.

It is always interesting to talk with the visitors. Some will be accidental visitors – locals walking past and seeing the signs or the activity. Other people will come deliberately as part of their own tour. Either way, I am looking forward to meeting them.

The kettle will be on. If you can drop in, please do. Check the SALA Guide, entry 432.