Art from our Community | Nick Roblin

It's been a minute since we shared some art from our community and today we're thrilled to bring this back! Nick Roblin shares two of his pieces with us in this post. We encourage you to take a minute to enjoy Nick's creativity, along with his eloquent and thorough notes on each piece.

“David Street” (telephone pole) completed approx. March 2000

Artist Statement: I did this painting as my first real attempt at painting a full fledge scene; driving to work I kept noticing a telephone pole that look visually cool. I thought to myself that would be a neat image to try to paint. I also had an interest in approaching a professional artist (David Kitler: www.davidkitler.com) to get some guidance on how to paint this subject matter. So I registered for art lessons (for about 9-10 months) and then proceeded to flesh out an image that would include a telephone pole as the central theme. I added a background brick wall and added some graffiti, added dandelions weeds, foreground debris, and a common sparrow that are endemic to Calgary. There’s also a “Stampede” ticket hidden on the left next to the dandelion as a added touch. The whole painting was done for fun and I had no real driving force to do it; just an experiment to see what I could do. I hope anyone who sees this painting can be inspired by the pleasure of the image and what God has blessed each of us with; namely whatever talent you have do it for the Lord with all your heart.

Technical Statement: This painting was executed using several photos to paint from; I imagined the wall and graffiti, painted the bird/weeds/grass/pole from photos. I also use a toilet paper tube (I know this sounds funny) to model the pole and get the light values right. The grass was interesting to paint as I first lined the stems in titanium white and then applied thin color glazes to build up the textures. The foreground debris is mix of photographic reference plus general scumbling acrylic color to achieve a bumpy textured surface. The entire painting is approx. 24” x 36” in size done on stretched canvas and gessoed with several coats and sanded between coats. Visually my favorite part of this painting is the sharp contrasts achieved between the oil/creosote streaks on the pole. I really enjoy sharp contrast as its adds drama to the image and makes the image pop forward. I was really pleased on the how the pole perspective (roundness of pole) naturally fell into place just by following the simple artistic rules of “whiteness” pushes forward and “blackness” pushes back. I use this powerful rule in any art I do as it reinforces perspective. The foreground was enjoyable to do and I really like the delicate pastel colors that create the weather worn cement and plant debris. The entire painting is done with tiny shard-like strokes using acrylic paint applied thinly; glazes on top of glazes.

“One Moment in Time” (window scene) completed approx. August 2000

Artist Statement: I did this painting with the intention of capturing a pensive moment where one can realize that our lives are temporal and like King David lamented in Psalms; man’s life is like grass or a flower that blooms in the morning and withers away by evening. My goal was not to make a dreary, depressing image but to explore this aspect of life; the consequences of sin (grave site) but salvation and eternal life through Christ; signified by the tiny chain and gold cross hanging off the window sill in the upper mid left background. I got my inspiration from visits to Heritage park, taking photos of vintage homes, etc. I always wanted to paint a reflective scene in a window as there’s a lot of visual possibilities with glass and how light gets reflected and bent optically. I hope this painting causes people to think about eternity and our mortality and what God seeks in every person…

Technical Statement: I’m pleased with the overall composition of this painting; the painting is somewhat monochromatic, meaning I’m only using about 3 colors. Lamp black, titanium white, burnt sienna, all shifted back and forth through the tonal value ranges. I also added tiny amounts of yellow ochre, sap green, and navy blue to created some of the shadows and foreground peeling paint. The hardest part of this painting was to get the window sill to lie flat and be proper “one point perspective.” I learned an amazing lesson using my digital camera to take pictures of the window. Optically most cameras twist and distort perspective; something I never realized until attempting to paint strictly from the photo. I had to revise the sill by applying a stretched string to ensure accurate perspective across the image. Sometimes the simplest perspectives are the trickiest to execute. The scene was painted as follows; window from photo, cobwebs in dark corner my imagination, the hanging cross and chain my imagination and photo, the fore ground branches photos and sketches, the grave was added in using imagination. The whole painting was painted on a 24”x20” sheet of maple plywood gessoed and “tone ground” with a pastel light earth tone to create mood; painted using acrylic in thin shard glazes. I see this painting as a step up from the first painting, in terms of composition and the visual effects I achieved especially with the foreground painted planks. I was really pleased with the peeling paint (flakes were lifting off and shiny) and the flakiness created by using subtle tone shifts plus edge highlights…it was a “eureka” moment for me. I really like how the foreground branches pop out over the dark planks and the wispy cobwebs wafting in the breeze. Unfortunately you can’t see the background lace curtains in the upper left corner area of the window or the cobwebs in the upper left corner of the window due to detail loss/resolution loss from copying a photo. I also loved the challenge of painting curtain lace, trying to get it to be semitransparent and floating next to the window edge. After completing the painting I sealed the entire image under a coat of clear acrylic to make the colors more luminous…

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