Local Artist Series // Bob Smith
Who are you and what do you create?
My name is Bob Smith and I’m a retired art instructor from Melbourne. I taught figure drawing, drawing, colour theory, and painting, at different times at Preston College and Boxhill College. I was a highly successful water-colourist, with works all over the world.
What materials and techniques do you use?
When I retired from teaching I moved, first to Port Macquarie, and then to the Sunshine Coast, where I took up soft pastel painting — a medium I liked because in enabled me to draw/paint directly. I’m an expressionist rather than a realist, so pastels enable me to directly capture my responses to the pose. Colour plays an important aspect through its powerful emotional effect.
Most of my work is done on pastel paper (750cm x 550cm), but occasionally on larger, or smaller, surfaces.
What is the main theme of your work?
My main theme has been the human psyche, achieved through figure drawing/painting. I draw directly with colours from a model at SCAG (Sunshine Coast Art Group). I am able to respond to energy projected by the model, the pose, and the lighting, effecting my creative approach. I don’t aim to create a pictorial reproduction, but rather to distort the figure to express the emotional energy of the pose — sometimes just a head or the lighting on the face.
Tell us about your studio space?
I share my studio with a car, so large works are not easy.
What has been your favourite or most important work to date?
When I first started to experiment with pastels, I created four works: the four queens in a card deck — each from different models. I regard these four works as the basis to all my works that followed, and my most important works.