Hispanic Arts Scotland

Exhibition of Paintings – Landscapes from Chelva, Spain


Michael Robson -Exhibition of Paintings - Landscapes from Chelva, Spain


The quality of light particular to the South has attracted artists throughout the History of Art. As a landscape painter, light is what inspires Michael's work, and working directly from the motif is central to his practice. The consistency of the Spanish climate allows an intensive period of painting, and is an ideal setting in which to explore his interests in the effects of sunlight, where sharp contrasts of light and shade can be observed against a vivid blue sky. The white-walled architecture projects light from one surface to the next, and even in areas of shadow there is reflected light.
In a formal sense, sunshine lends significance to shapes and form, and the painter can see the world not in terms of objects, but as areas of colour and light.
Michael observes these qualities in the Spanish village of Chelva, where the vernacular architecture is set against a spectacular landscape of mountains and valleys. Located in the mountains inland from the east coast of Spain, Chelva has Muslim origins dating back to the 11th Century, but in the ensuing two hundred years, was subject to the Spanish Crusades before finally falling to Christian rule in 1390.


Michael is interested in colour, and therefore he looks for subjects made up of large shapes, so that he can be bold in his application of paint. His initial drawing is intended to separate different areas or shapes within the painting, and by having these guidelines he can focus on colour as opposed to form when painting. The drawing will reflect the particular light effect, where in sunlight for instance, he will outline the area of shade, trying to link as many forms together as one shape. This again prevents an object by object perception of the scene.
In watercolour, he firstly decides whether the painting will be carried out wet-in-wet, or built up with successive layers of colour. It important to devise from the outset the intended course the painting will take, and identify clearly what the painting will be about. Factors that determine his approach to his subjects include the anticipated time in which to paint; when the light is changing rapidly such as at sunset, time will be limited, and therefore an alla prima technique will be adopted. Likewise, the location will be a consideration and whether it will be possible to return to the subject should the painting require completion after the initial working. Michael often envisages a subject as being made up with transparent layers of colour, in which case drying time between washes would be required, or perhaps a surface texture may suggest a more organic merging of paint
Michael's paintings explore the effects created by applying successive glazes of paint, wet into wet, allowing the pigment to blend naturally on the surface of the paper. He might charge colour after colour in fluid glazes until reaching a desired effect, or apply a predetermined sequence of prepared washes and leave the paint to settle of its own accord. Working in this manner can have unexpected results and produce colours more resembling the natural world. Thus each painting is a discovery and can inform his approach to the next work.


In observing his chosen subject, Michael firstly attempts to identify a colour scheme, and this enables him to select a palette. The use of bright colours such as Viridian and Cobalt Blue make turquoises and violets when mixed with Quinacridone Magenta or Permanent Rose. These mixes can be swayed towards red, blue or green by adjusting the proportions of the constituent paints, and are therefore very flexible. The palette is composed of modern synthetic pigments and the traditional earth colours are generally preferred not to be used. This keeps the paintings bright and the shadow colours clean and full of reflected light.
Michael might apply the paint as pure washes or let it mingle on a palette beforehand, perhaps sweeping his brush through numerous colours and creating iridescent effects. His paintings are largely composed of complementary colour schemes, where the pairings are combined to make the necessary neutrals, and he is continually pursuing new combinations, seeking out the subtle greys found in nature. This suits the effects of sunlight that he looks to represent, where there are distinct contrasts of light and shade.
It is often his practice to intensify a colour wash with its complement when seeking out a desired hue. This strengthens and solidifies the final colour. On a horizontal plane such as a road for instance, there may be a significant bluish cast from the sky above, and therefore he may apply a blue followed by a succession of further colours to obtain the required effect. Likewise, there is more strength in a blue sky that has been reinforced with a warm under-painting. When painting wet into wet, it is necessary to have a sufficient quantity of pre-mixed colour with which to carry out the required glazes. The activity of working from the landscape helps Michael to resolve and gain control over his technique, and it is these considerations that occupy his practical concerns as a painter.


The artist does not labour over a painting, and considers a work completed once his sensations of the effect have been realised. He delights in a sensitivity to the visual world, and by painting can advance his interests in the light and colour around him. Spain in particular has provided endless scope with which to pursue his relationship with the landscape.


Michael's work has been exhibited widely and he is represented in numerous private collections in the UK and abroad. In 2005, he represented the Arts for Scotland during the Open Golf Tournament in St.Andrews, and has since exhibited in galleries across North East Scotland. He has a broad experience of travel, having worked extensively in both Holland and Spain, and has a studio in Newburgh, Fife. A continuing ambition to advance an artistic career has resulted in recognition from both the RSA and SSA in Scotland and the GAvA and ROI in London, where in 2009, he was awarded the Phyllis Roberts Award for the most promising young painter at the Mall Galleries.
His work can be viewed online on his website: www.michaelnormanrobson.co.uk



Category Hispanic Festival 2010
Dates 05/11/2010 - 30/11/2010
Time 19:00:00 - 22:00:00
Price £0.00
Tags N/A
Phone N/A
Venue The Music Library
Venue Address The Music Library

George IV Bridge

Venue Postcode EH1 1EG