the upside of deadlines

Deadlines are killers aren’t they? It’s all in the name. The idea is that if you don’t make it you fall dead on the line. Perhaps in a desk job, on Friday at 4.59pm when you are working for someone else. But for an artist it can be different.

The pressure of time is the essence of the best plein air paintings. In the studio as well, a deadline definitely helps. Not to say that the hours of following the muse, battling and learning are wasted, just that a due date aids focus! A commission, an art fair, exhibition or open studio is sometimes just what I need. And so it is now…

I was very honoured to be invited by two Melbourne artists, Steffie Wallace and Neil Wallace to join them in a small show in Sydney in April-May this year. Working towards that has been interesting. Notice I am not using “journey” – I have had enough of that metaphor. Reference: dark day in Rome.

With a general theme of Sydney waterways, who could not think of the harbour and its surrounds? I sifted through my collection of Sydney photographs for inspiration and found a nice little selection taken on the Paramatta ferry a year or so ago. The images included the Harbour, Paramatta River and lots of fellow travellers, tourists and locals sharing the journey and reacting (or not) to the passing scenery. Masses of raw material.

Here are the results of that exploration.
Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia
The tourist and the commuter; acrylic on linen panel, 6×6″

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia
True blue; acrylic on linen panel. 6×8″

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia
Snapped shot (work in progress); acrylic on linen panel, 6×6″

Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia
sketch for “Perhaps one day” 8×6″

So, people and water, potentially an interesting combination. But in this small format it was a struggle. As interesting as the original photos were, the excitement petered out a bit and I couldn’t imagine drawing the series out to 8 or 10 works.

Back to the drawing board for a change of direction, while there is still time!
Philippa Robert, Adelaide South Australia

Even more pressure, but somehow more joy! Know the feeling?

4 thoughts on “the upside of deadlines

  1. Philippa, you sneaky bee! I had no idea that all of these wonderful little gems you’ve been working on lately are for an upcoming show! That is beyond fabulous. I’m enjoying seeing your process and really love your titles – esp. the sketched-out landscape w/ what seems like a mysterious female figure on right. Interesting how working small can leave you feeling that same way I feel when starting out on a large-scale piece. Please, I insist on seeing at least one more stage of your lovely paintings before the opening day is here. I know from my own experience that’s easier said than done as that last-rush arrives. 🙂

    1. Yes you will Patricia. But they will be a little different. Although these seemed to hit the mark with you, I don’t feel I can stretch to a series of 10. So, we’ll see where it leads! Thank you for your enthusiasm. It is good hearing from you. Philippa

    1. Thanks Richard. These may yet be left by the wayside but it’s good to hear you like them. People in their environment is the heart of your art so a special thanks for your appreciation! Cheers, Philippa

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