During his working life, Rob didn’t have much time for his beloved painting. Now he has the time to process impressions and express them through the artistic production of drawings and paintings.

But pure production is not his main motive for picking up a piece of charcoal or doing a bit of water colouring. Painting is primarily an important way of raising his photography to a higher level. Because drawing forces us to look very closely, and it’s important to develop these observation skills from the outset.

“My personal artist’s eye sees poetry, decline and rejuvenation in the everyday world around me,” explains Rob. “That is the theme I want to express with my work and convey to the viewer. My work is the personal expression of the individual impressions I have. But I also consider the authenticity of the image I create vitally important. Painting and drawing nature helps me tremendously. It forces you to get skilled at looking, selecting and reproducing. The artist is free to omit or add, but for me that must be a conscious choice to create an impactful representation of reality.”

Commercial work is always a touched-up representation of reality. Just as lipstick can give an anatomically flawless mouth an accent, so the pose, light or surroundings can hugely affect a subject’s appearance. The same mouth can look pouty, tender, avaricious or lustful. But in his non-commercial work, Rob sticks closer to day-to-day reality and looks for crops and perspectives that enable us to see things through his eyes. And that’s the point at which painting can help him.

Through drawing and painting, he accentuates objects by abstracting their shape, colour and line. They are a minimalist means to triggering the maximum fantasy in a viewer, just as a composition for violin can seize you. If Rob needs a string quartet, he uses watercolours. If he wants a symphony orchestra, he employs oil painting as his medium. The difference lies in the choice between delicate transparency and strong lines on the one hand or the entire colour palette, full of structures and layers, on the other.

Reproducing nature can only be achieved by looking closely, choosing wisely, and being honest about what you omit and add. The combination of painting and photography has proved invaluable in helping Rob stay original, and remain authentic in how he registers and presents his themes. Both disciplines are dear to him and he can enjoy them independently of one another.

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