“My paintings are uncomplicated. The world is already complicated enough”.
Arte Algarve came into being precisely because of people like Stuart Robson. Gallery founder Rolf Osang was aware of how much talent we have here, either resident or passing through, and he saw the need for a gallery that could actively promote art in the Algarve. Right from the start his feeling was “we won’t have to do much in the way of advertising. Wait and see: artists will just come… “.
“His paintings are the kind that give me goosebumps” recalls Rolf. “They are just absolutely wonderful”…
And so today’s story introduces a new artist who “walked through the door” with magical paintings. An artist who will be exhibiting in the Algarve for the first time at our upcoming Open VIII on June 15th.
In many ways, Stuart Robson’s life sounds as touched by magic as his paintings. Many sunshine-successful years co-running an advertising, design, PR and media buying group with impressive portfolios saw him selling out handsomely “six months before the recession” and having the wherewithal to pursue a whole new existence as an artist.
“I am a painter now,” he says simply – not even wanting to elaborate on his former life. “It is much more fun (sometimes), less rewarding financially but a lot more fulfilling – and I don’t have to worry about ‘what the clients will think’.
“Oh how I longed for this day!”
Influences range from Turner to Rothko, Jackson Pollock, Willem De Kooning, Howard Hodgkin and the Glasgow School (“in particular Joan Eardley and John Houston”) and his inspiration very often centres on the sea.
“For 40 years I have lived by the sea, either the windswept beaches of Northumberland or the sunny sands of the Algarve”, Stuart explains. “The ever-changing nature of the sea will always fascinate. No matter what your imagination can create, the reality, power and drama of the sea will still surprise, excite and inspire.
“My work is always based on an impression, memory or the ‘sense’ of a place rather than the specific view or location. Whether it is an imaginary seascape, landscape or cityscape it always pleases me when people say that they can recognise or identify the view, or even that they have actually been there”.
A lot of artists can find it disparaging to hear their paintings “described as pretty, or happy” he adds, but Stuart is not one of them.
“If I can create something that is pleasing and enjoyable and has a ‘feel-good’ factor, then I consider that as a job well done”.
Travelling these days between homes in Northumberland and the Algarve, he also finds inspiration in the clarity of light in southern Europe, revelling in ” the spring landscapes of wild flowers, orange groves and almond blossoms” in both the Alentejo and Umbria, in Italy.
Stuart already has paintings in private collections in the UK, France, Spain, Majorca and the Netherlands.
After next month’s exhibition we’re quite sure he will be updating that list to include Portugal and beyond./Written by Natasha Donn