Drawing and painting have been a life long passion for Robyn Jackson, Robyn’s unique style is showcased in her exhibition at Gallery 126.
>What brings you to exhibit in Armidale?
I have had a long connection with Armidale. As many as six generations of my family have lived happily in this area. Our five children have all attended Armidale schools, and three still live here with their families. I have had a wonderful childhood living on a Soldiers Settlers block at ‘Harwood’ on the Gwyder River, Yarrowyck, with my parents and two brothers. I still remember the wild bush flowers, moss on the rocks, tadpoles and coming across endless wildlife as I rode my bike to catch the bus each day.
Drawing and painting have been a lifelong passion, but it was only in my mid fifties that I finally had the opportunity to study full time the Fine Arts Diploma in Armidale and Tamworth. This time gave me an exciting mental leap into the art world, for which I will be forever grateful. Having the ‘tools’ gave me the confidence to develop my own ground and style. The greatest thing that I have learnt with my art is respect and acceptance. To develop growth in your artwork is a gradual process, and it takes a lot of hard work. The art of a great master in any field is to make the job look easy. We rarely look at how much time and effort it takes, only the end product.
I have been working for Stuart and Anne Boggs in the framing business on a casual basis for the past four years; for an artist even the most menial job is a pleasure when you’re surrounded by wonderful art works and the latest art supplies every day.
Exhibiting at Gallery 126 is exciting. Stuart and Anne have gained great respect for their quality and professionalism in the way each exhibition is represented. I have exhibited on several occasions and have been very happy with the outcome.
> What type of art do you specialise in?
I draw and paint. Most of my work is figurative, with some landscape.
Each Sunday afternoon I organise a life drawing group for local artists at the Armidale Gallery. This is not only a regular discipline for me; it is also an opportunity to work with other artists. It is easy to look, but learning to see is more gradual and needs perseverance and practice. Drawing from life also gives me a ‘springboard’ to develop further works.
I am not as concerned with representing the external or the apparent, but am more concerned with capturing that fleeting moment from what I see within. I feel most people look lazily at the world, only as far as practical needs demand. Maybe this is due to the pace we now live with. My work can sometimes be confronting, but always with respect for the subject.
Most of my work revolves around female issues and the environment we live in, as I see the world through the eyes of a female, mother, and grandmother.
> What should people expect to see at your exhibition at Gallery 126?
“Unwrapped” is a satirical look at society as I see it today in the Western World. It is a series of works completed over the past three and half months. The use of large canvasses and distorted portraits are deliberate, giving the viewer a feeling of stepping within the mind of the subject. Acrylic paint, charcoal, some mediums have been applied using palette knives, trowels, and large brushes in sweeping, scratching, cracking and dripping methods.
If I have encouraged the visitor to consider the value of time, look within, and what is really important for the future generations in our world today, I will be happy. Love it or hate it is OK, but to have no effect means I have failed.
Visitors will also see a small series of Conti pastels on paper depicting musicians and the relationship with the instrument they play.
> What is involved with your work; how long does it take to get the perfect picture?
For me, painting is a ‘love / hate’ relationship. I have the need to draw for my wellbeing.
I spend some time most days doing some drawing; other times it is only mark making. Even though the intent in the latter is not the work, the marks to me are just as satisfying. I often have a huge urge to draw over a freshly painted gyprock wall (maybe I will save that one for when I go into the Nursing Home).
Because I am an emotive painter, my application and colour can be different from day to day. I have learnt to accept this and go with the flow. Age may give you this patience.
I think I am very difficult to live with coming up to an exhibition, as my focus is completely on my work with great highs and lows to match and lots of self doubt. I live the part, and for me that is surprisingly physical. There is such a fine line between pushing the boundary and overworking.
Overworking is my greatest enemy. I may work over a painting up to three times before I am happy. Some paintings develop straight up, while I may have to labour on others for weeks. If this happens, I start another and go back later. I may be happy with a painting, but if or when I think my painting is perfect that is the day I will take up knitting.
> Do you think your style and subject matter will change as you continue?
To grow with your art you need to immerse yourself in your surroundings and let life, concerns for health and the world around you mature as you do. Art is a medium that can live with you forever. The beauty of drawing is it is so transportable, clean and tactile, and the emotive aspect of the produced work can be handed down from generation to generation.
>Thank you Robyn.