Sit Down With Our September '21 Featured Artist
Robert is a professional artist and lives in North Yorkshire. A move he made with confidence from Leeds in March to be closer to his ever popular painting and expressive drawing subject matter - the North York Moors, Yorkshire Dales, East Yorkshire Coast, and The Lake District.
Having qualified with a Bachelor of Arts Degree (with Honours), Robert worked as a professional Graphic Designer and illustrator for over 30 years in the commercial sector to include in-house positions with financial clients KPMG and PwC.Following successive shows in London with his work and sell out shows in the North of England, in 2013 Robert took the decision to become a full time artist when his expressive style of painting became popular and in demand.
Since then his unique style has grown with increasing respect and he has won numerous and continual awards in leading national galleries and open art competitions. His work has been exhibited at ‘The Mall Galleries’ in London with the prestigious ‘Pastel Society’ and the Society of Graphic Fine Art with whom he is an Associate Artist.Robert also teaches popular residential art holidays in the Lake District at independent adult education colleges and with HF Holidays.
He is a regular demonstrator nationally for art groups and is a popular online art tutor and a regular contributor to ‘The Artist’ magazine.In March 2021 ‘Search Press’ published Robert’s latest book ‘Drawing Dramatic Landscapes’ (the first in their ‘Innovative Artist Series’) and this first edition has received much public acclaim and is a top selling book. The 166 page exciting publication highlights Roberts’ unique style expressive style and connection to his dramatic landscape subjects. A must have for any art enthusiast and collector!
What do you like most about working with the charcoal medium?
I really enjoy working with charcoal. It is the immediacy of the medium that I find most compelling. The way charcoal works with you to help express my ideas as a totally flexible media means I can work quickly with it in so many different ways to create wonderful dramatic and sensuous works of art quickly. From sketching outdoors en plein air, to working drawings in the studio or major drawings large scale - charcoal has the lot!
Is there anything that you find particularly challenging when working with charcoal?
Realistically there is nothing particularly challenging when using charcoal. Drawings comes naturally to me as an artist so charcoal is my number one medium to use in the studio. Rich deep blacks are created with multiple layering, spraying with fixative or using compressed charcoal firmly, whilst delicate sensuous tints and tones are created with rubbing, blending, delicate mark making and indeed subtractive drawing with an eraser.
What is the most useful tool in your art supply collection?
I cannot really say that one drawing tool is more important that another when drawing - all have their uses when in full flow creativity mode. I use several ‘unconventional’ tools to paint and draw with which include screw drivers, very long haired brushes, quills to make all sorts of surface and indented marks as well as shaped rubber and acrylic artists‘ squeegees’ to manipulate passages of paint - all exciting and all important to assist idea expression.
Do you have a favourite subject that you like to draw and why?
Fundamentally I am a landscape artist. It is the overwhelming desire to express the sublime landscape that I am in awe of that keeps me returning to the landscape - to be immersed in it, feeling it and reacting to all the beautiful shifting nuances of nature that gives my work its edge.
If you had to describe your art style with 3 words, what would they be?
A tough one! I’ve just written a 166 page book that is filled with words describing my expressive style of art (and lots of different drawing media) which has been published by Search Press in May this year, but I think the title of the book sums up the answer to the question ‘Drawing Dramatic Landscapes’.
What do you enjoy doing when not creating?
Downtime for me is wildlife photography. It is quite a challenge but I enjoy it. Earning a wild animals trust after a great deal of patience is a magical experience. The opportunity to sit, wait, be patience and relax is altogether different from the way I work as an artist which has many a frenetic moment - especially when quickly reacting instinctively to mixed media techniques which keeps you on your toes!
Where do you look to for inspiration?
More often than not it is the wilder more secluded places I find so compelling to paint. There are no distractions - nature in the raw as it were with shape and form that flow one into the other in an almost poetic way. Having said that, I’m drawn to old ruins and abandoned buildings that sit in the landscape and have an ancient character all of their own that form fascinating subjects to engage with.
How do you think your art has developed over the years?
Without doubt I have become a lot more confident in style and expressive, creative vision. I initially trained as a Graphic Designer and commercial illustrator after a 30 year career of tight precision and very exacting work it was great to be unleashed and be a lot freer with the way I now paint and draw in an altogether brand new way.
If you had to choose a song to represent yourself what would it be and why?
I’m a big Jazz fan - always have been always will be. It is the multiple layering within so many ’songs’ I just engage with. I’m drawn to the harmonious complexity of it all - it just sits so right. So, from within a huge collection I have I’ll pick a ’So What’ for it’s depth and rich tapestry of layering. Miles Davis changed the course of music many times in his lifetime, reinvented himself and came back stronger. I admire that - a lot.
What is the best thing about being an artist?
Sharing my expressive work which celebrates nature with collectors, art lovers and students -which has the ability to surprise, engage and excite them, can only be described as fulfilling. That is the best thing about being an artist.
What has been the most challenging thing you’ve overcome in your artistic career?
The career of a creative artist takes many twists and turns, walls to clime, hurdles and hoops of fire to jump over and through and lots of pressure. There have been many exciting different types of challenges I have had to overcome to get me to where i am now to list in one answer, but needless to say I’m now in the right place, confident about the future, have a great supportive team behind me and the future is bright and I’m creating work that sells regularly, I’m thrilled to create and engage with an ever increasing receptive audience. The future is bright and I am excited by it.
What is the best piece of advice you could give an aspiring artist?
Never give up. Rise to the challenges you face and meet them head on. If you don’t know - find out! Don’t expect things to be given to you on a plate - they never are. No matter how many times you are knocked down, get up, dodge and weave and win the game - your very own. Remember, life is there for the taking, so take it. Be proud of your achievements and build upon them. take one step at a time and before long you will be surprised at how far you have advanced.