Gwen Roberts: Photorealism Painter & Drawer
British born Gwen Roberts is a full time artist now living and working in Australia. Gwen started her working life in the financial industry and has now fulfilled her ambition to dedicate her career to art.
She had a talent for drawing at a young age and a passion for visual arts. Gwen is self-taught and educated herself in the techniques used by the old masters. Gwen says that “art cannot be taught; it has to be discovered”.
In 2013 Gwen studied fine art at Winchester School of Art in the United Kingdom before moving to Spain and finally Australia. She has exhibited internationally and has sold her work to private collectors around the globe.
Gwen enjoys sharing her skills and has written a book; ‘How to Draw Photorealistic Portraits’. In addition she has produced demonstration videos on YouTube for her followers on social media and given live demonstrations and artist talks.
Gwen implements an uncommon technique known as ‘sanding' in the preparation and rendering of a drawing. It is time consuming and labour intensive. The medium is applied in thin layers and laboriously manipulated with fine sandpaper into meticulous detail.
Her art references the psychological repercussions to the stimuli contemporary women are subjected to on a daily basis. Women are beset by idealised images in the media. Gwen’s work is a sincere narrative of honest responses to modern social issues from a female perspective. Her heartfelt openness facilitates an intellectual and spiritual connection between artist and viewer.
How long have you been practicing?
I have been a practicing artist for 7 years, however, I have always considered myself an artist from an early age because of my instincts for the craft. Even throughout episodes of non-productivity because for me it is part of my being.
How would you describe your creative process and where do you get your inspiration?
I draw with charcoal, pastel and graphite using a little known technique using sandpaper. The ‘sanding' technique was refined by artist and ‘Ibex Master' Annie Murphy Robinson. Under her guidance I became adept at the craft and cultivated the process to suit my own hand.
I use a robust printing paper and cover it with a charcoal ground. I proceed to burnish it with fine grade sandpaper to form a smooth surface. The drawing is rendered with smaller pieces of sandpaper to peel back or push the medium into the paper. It is labour intensive and demands expertise but enables a flawless rendering, which is the ultimate objective in representational art.
I have recently diversified into working in colour. I prefer oil paint or pastels as these allow multiple applications of delicate glazes to achieve tangible and credible flesh tones. The palette is limited and the background is neutral to produce a harmonised and cohesive aesthetic.
I am devoted to developing my artistic practice and achieving the highest level of expertise. The old masters were my teachers and the contemporary masters are my motivation.
What do you love the most about the Greater Port Macquarie Region?
When my (Australian) husband and I moved from the UK we had the choice of living anywhere in Australia. Port Macquarie is a jewel! The nature lover in me is always astonished by Australia's wildlife and diverse landscape, and this region has natural beauty in abundance.
The artist in me loves the vibrant yet relaxed atmosphere I am accustomed to. You’re likely to find me sipping a latte in one of the many lovely cafes, bars and restaurants and enjoying the perfect climate. Of course, that is when I manage to wrench myself out from my studio.
Where can people find your work or contact you?
Email: [email protected]