“In my latter years, I have travelled extensively, and have become fascinated by the predominant colours in different landscapes; for example, the red/brown vastness of the Nullarbor Plain in Central Australia, the black lava fields of Hawaii, and the haunting pale blues and greens of the Alaskan glaciers.”
Rob Upward’s words give the title to his exhibition: called “High and Low”, because his paintings show varied colours and landscapes from mountains to sea.
Rob was born on the Isle of Wight, but has lived in Saltdean for many years. His working life was in Special Education, for twenty years he was head teacher of a Brighton Special School. He admits that he had no formal art training beyond A-level, but spanning these working years painting was always a hobby, a form of relaxation; he describes himself then as a Sunday Painter. But with retirement, came more time to take his art work more seriously.
“I learnt new techniques, styles, used a range of media. Although I have worked in water colour and gouache, I have found the immediacy and vibrancy of acrylics best suited to my painting. More recently, I have attended a series of life-drawing classes to include, where appropriate, the human figure in my landscapes.”
This will be Rob’s fifth one-person show at the Grange Art Gallery. He has also had exhibitions at the Crypt Gallery in Seaford and in a Brighton coffee shop in the Laines. He says that he has been particularly influenced by the French impressionists, and the Canadian group of seven artists. But essentially, he now tries to paint the world, and more recently the people in it, as he sees it.
“I paint because I have to, it’s a compulsion – more than a hobby.”