Rob Adams a Painter's Blog painter's progress

April 27, 2012

A Personal Style

Filed under: Life Drawing,Watercolour — Rob Adams @ 5:41 pm

Everybody is influenced by the work of others, I have lost count of the number of wonderful artists I have been inspired by. My love of the made image is pretty eclectic, I find admirable things in almost any genre. To me they represent different ways of seeing each as valid as the other. It is current to look down on the very detailed and for sure there is a very naive form of detail that is pretty dull… photorealism springs to mind. If I was to abhor detail I would have to dislike Pieter Breugel and many other artists I admire. True I myself am moving more and more towards suggesting detail rather than defining it, but about the relative value of each approach I am agnostic. I think in simple terms if something is “well” done in my terms I tend to like it, if I think it is unwittingly careless or clumsy then I tend not to.

A good way of assessing value of worth in works of art is sorely needed. Time was that fashion dictated it in the short term and continual historical reassessment in the longer, but both of these are somewhat lacking. With our current fragmentation of style due to every image from the year dot being available as an influence, there is no one defining fashion that can be drawn on. Historical assessment is weakened by its need to identify changes or the arrival of new things and allow time to see if they have any lasting influence on later artists. As it is the artists who get ascribed as the movers and shakers are promoted into a sort of stardom that doesn’t have a simple relationship with their work. Indeed in the case of an artist such as Picasso where all his works are lifted to the heights what ever their quality, I think it would be fairer to say he produced many brilliant, much capable and vast amounts of workaday art rather than lifting his entire oeuvre to the stratosphere.

I was struck recently by the furore about the “new” Leonardo of Christ. There was much eulogising of “the hand of the master” type, but nobody seemed to notice it was a terrible painting! If it was by Leonardo, which I very much doubt, he was having a particularly bad day. If you look at any so called “master” the work is far from all masterful, it is as you might expect a mix of high points and lower ones. Maybe we need to forget about the artist and his historical context and just concentrate on the actual physical works. Even some cave paintings look better than others to my eye, and I would bet that there was a pecking order amongst cave painters as there is amongst current artists. I realise no definitive ranking of worth can be achieved but that shouldn’t prevent some sort of judgement being made. Much art produced today is shockingly poor and ranked not by the quality of the work but by the fame and status of the artist.

That’s today’s rant over, I’ve not the energy for more! Paintings can be clicked for larger views.



Stratford Tony, Salisbury, watercolour, painting, Rob Adams

A view nor very far from the wonderfully named Stratford Tony which is in turn near Salisbury. I was attracted by the abstract simplicity, though maybe the final result is a little dull. 11in by 9in Arches CP.


Childe Okeford, Dorset, watercolour, painting, rob adams

There were so many lovely sights on my visit to Dorset I am rather spoilt for choice in subjects for studio paintings. This is Childe Okeford, the morning light was just natural watercolour material, I had to be very careful to keep it all fresh. 11in by 9in Arches HP.


Hambledon hill, dorset, Childe okeford, watercolour, rob adams

Here is one that would have been impossible plein air, though I did make careful note of how I felt the colours were as I know that any photographs will be disappointing when viewed later. I actually had a choice here as moments later Hambledon Hill, seen here brightly lit, was a black shape against the sky! I may indeed do one with that arrangement to see which works best. The mown field in the foreground was a gift composition wise. 11in by 9in.


Salisbury, Britford, avon, wiltshire, watercolour, robadams

This is a disused canal near Britford close to Salisbury… dull and wet but very English! 11in by 9in Arches CP.


Church, graveyard, Hartley Wintney, watercolour, painting, rob adams

When I did first saw this scene I though it would make a good watercolour, but due to the weather I had to paint it in oils. So here is the watercolour version. The oil can be seen here. 1/4 sheet Arches Rough. Now a few life drawings to finish off.


Nude, figure, drawing, life drawing, robadams


life drawing, nude, rob adams


Life drawing, nude, rob adams


Nude, life drawing, figure, rob adams


Life drawing, nude, rob adams

That’s it, good to have life drawing back on the go!


  1. I heartily endorse your little rant as it reflects my own view of the art world but there is an allied issue that exercises me as well. That is my inability to view the work of so many wonderful artists without it influencing the work that I do to the point that I have no discernible identity of my own. As yet I’m not well developed enough as a self critical practitioner to cut through to something more personal. As usual I really enjoy the works you show us, I just hope I don’t go off and try to replicate their style.

    Comment by Mick Carney — April 29, 2012 @ 9:55 am

  2. Yes, I have the same problem. Whatever manner you paint in there is always someone else doing it better. I used to admire illustrator friends that had a very quirky and personal styles. Later I realised that they often had a pretty rough professional ride where they became popular or even famous, but once they had their day in the sun clients lost interest and went looking for the next new thing. Whereas I, who could turn my hand to most styles, garnered no fame at all but remained in demand my whole career of 30 years or more. It is only now I have the time to try and absorb all these influences and weld them together. What I have been trying to avoid is when I see a subject I often tend to think, “Oh that would make a good painting in this or that style…” but now I attempt to just do the subject on its own merits. The strand I can’t at the moment weave in is painting from imagination, which I used to do a great deal but somehow can’t find a place for now. That might I think be the subject for a future post!

    Comment by admin — April 29, 2012 @ 11:49 am

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