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Cameron Byron Roberts
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Cameron Byron Roberts: For me painting is a meditative act, pure observation and experience, in which one attempts to be honest about what one is seeing, while recognizing that a painting also takes on a life of its own.
About eight years ago I started out as a “plein air” painter, throwing out most of my paintings and eventually discoved that a representational approach didn’t capture the mood or sensation I was looking for. So I moved back into the barn to try to work from the memory, and now spend half my time trying to whittle down the images to what remains in the mind when one returns from the field.
As part of the reduction process, I began to work with a collection of primitive tools; palette knives, squeegees, and the occasional large brush. My medium is oil, with either an alkyd or a cold wax medium added for translucency. Often I apply a luminous undertone, using an old master technique, of Indian Yellow or Cadmium Red, or Black with Quiachridone Red or Ultramarine Blue.
With these panels primed as above I head into the field with a strict palette of three colors, a single blue, red and yellow, along with white. This “tonalist” approach allows me to concentrate on the dramatic elements of a place, and in particular the interaction of the sky, sea and land. Applying a minimal palette over a deep, pre-painted structural undertone, I hope to capture both the lightness of nature’s atmosphere of nature as well deep mystery of its shadows.
For many years I fished and duck hunted on the Essex, Annisquam and Ipswich Rivers with my son, a far more enthusiastic outdoorsman. Now with easel in hand, I am able to leave rod and gun behind and enjoy the pleasures of freezing weather, mosquito infested afternoons, the unforseen woodchuck hole, and the occasional tranquil sunset.