The woman stands in shadowy silhouette and gazes heavenward. Is she worried about a turbulent storm on its way, or is she relieved to see rain? The grass is blowing wildly around her, and even her dress and her hair are being affected by the blustery weather. What is going to happen next? Will she calmly embrace the opportunity for much-needed rain, or will she run somewhere else and take shelter from an ominous cloud?
These are some of the thoughts I had when viewing this work by artist Robert Foster. In this particular series of paintings, mentioned below, I think for me part of the attraction is the mysterious quality in the image. There is this sense that time is fleeting, and what can be observed at this time cannot be observed for very long. It appears to me that soon what can be seen will be obscured by darkness. There is something about the sky in the evening as well, that has a color all of its own and an intensity lacking in other hours of day or night.
Many of Robert Foster's works evoke a feeling of tranquility and quiet repose. For me, viewing them is in some way like a beautiful antidote for the stress of living in our fast-paced modern world.
Much of your work tends to be very serene.
My main theme in my work is one of serene moment. I love to capture the perfect moment when the light and the form and subject come together to make a serene impression. I also love to paint humor with animals which can also be found here and there in the body of my work. A serene appreciation is something that I think can be found in most people. I love to play music when I paint as it helps me to set the mood and concentration that I need.
I did paint a series I titled Ladies in solitude. They are mostly done in a black and white rendition as there is no color to distract from the message of the work. It began with a mental impression of a young lady paused and focused on the natural beauty of the moment and this vision produced the series. As is most of my work, the series is very simple with no hidden message other than what speaks to the viewer.
Some of your work also ventures into the abstract. Is abstract art more about form or meaning? Is it the line and color that should be appreciated over the interpreted meaning, or the other way around? How do you think a person viewing abstract art should best approach the work in terms of appreciating it?
I have done abstract work and I've always felt that the abstraction of natural shape and color is also simple and shouldn't be given hidden meaning. Each person viewing the art can interpret the feelings they receive from it.
|Tree Shaft Lane|
My scenes and ideas are mostly spontaneous with a few driven by commercial need as I am making a modest living with my art for the past 40 years.
How important is beauty to an image?
Beauty is literally everywhere. It is around us in the trees and grass and blue sky, and with people and animals. All it takes is a discerning eye to bring it out and another eye of appreciation to soak it in.
Can an image ever be too perfect?
I believe it can. The natural world is full of imperfections and the imperfections are what make it appear perfect.
Of course, the beauty of flowers is evident to all of us. The colors and folding of petals is marvelous and has a strong appeal for artists everywhere. I love to do the floral work that you can find in my work, mainly with a closeup of the natural shape of the blossom rather than an arrangement sitting in a vase or pot.
On your website, I noticed the colorful lion image that you associate with your name. Would you mind talking about that image and the inspiration behind it?
The Golden King lion that is associated with my website is a work that I've had a fondness for from the beginning of its creation. I love the muted fierceness of the lion into the almost angelic final interpretation. The king is wrapped in a golden light with his mane softly spread around his head.
Technology is prevalent in our modern world; it seems to be part of our everyday lives in so many ways. Arguably, technology can both complicate and simplify our lives. How do you believe technology has affected the creation of art?
When I attended the Academy of Art in San Francisco the mediums were gouache watercolors and oil, acrylic charcoal and pencil. Gouache was the medium of the illustrator in the early 1960's and I studied using this medium for my illustration class. I learned to love it and still use it in my work to this day. I also have used oil charcoal pencil and now work in some format with digital art. I have found that by combining digital art with gouache I can achieve some very pleasing results. I also have some pure digital works including many of my ladies in solitude series.
|Flight to Paradise|
Within the category of fantasy, you have created a range of subject matter in your works. What do you find intriguing about fantasy as subject matter for your work?
My fantasy art is a joy for me to create. We all have an imagination and with all the possibilities of color and shapes defined by fantasy there is no limit on artistic possibilities.
Thank you, Bob! It was a pleasure learning more about you and your work!
To see more of Robert Foster's work, visit his website at RobertLFoster.com
All images in this interview are used by permission, are property of Robert Foster, and are copyright protected.