Evocative Landscapes in Oil
Oil paintings by Robert Watkins are featured along with works by members of the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers during August 2008 at Gallery 2, above Vermont Artisan Designs, at 106 Main St., Brattleboro. An opening reception is scheduled from 5:30 to 8:30 on Friday, August 1.
Watkins has painted with The Putney Painters group headed by Richard Schmid and has studied with tonalist Dennis Sheehan. The following is excerpted from an interview with Watkins by Harryet Candee writing in The Artful Mind.
Where do you do your painting? -- "I rarely paint on location. When I do, it's usually to make color studies, which are then taken back to my studio to be used as reference for future paintings. I think we all have an internal sense of the landscape. Many of my paintings come from memories of things I have seen and thought to be interesting. I seem to be fascinated by low-light conditions at the beginning and end of the day, when the landscape dissolves into misty, half-seen forms. The reflection of the sky and water at these times is an inspiration to me....
"Most days I try to spend seven hours painting in my studio. On any given day, I could be painting from my imagination, photo reference, a study, or any combination. Sometimes I look at many photographs. Then I go to my easel and start to paint. After my initial inspiration, I rarely refer to the photographs again. Something internal just takes over, and the painting becomes a force which directs me."
What is your method of work? -- "My paintings begin with a monochromatic underpainting. At this stage, my main concerns are getting the drawing and tonal relationships correct. By tonal relationships, I mean the orchestration of light and dark passages to clarify the composition and intensify its dramatic and emotional impact. When this stage is dry, I paint the local colors. I work from dark to light, always keeping in mind the original concept of the painting."
Please describe your color palette. -- "My still-life palette is fairly basic. It consists of ... one warm yellow, one cool yellow, one cool red, one warm red, one warm blue, one cool blue, one green, and black. Using these colors, it is possible for me to mix most other colors that are available in tubes. My landscape palette is a little more extensive. I add one more green, one more blue, an orange, and a warm gray. Having these extra colors reduces my mixing time and makes painting out of doors easier."
Copyright 2008, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont