theory topics


catalog of artworks Richard roberts


Art experiences and influences




Everything comes from somewhere. We could go on for ever but at the bottom of this page is a small list of artists and art movements that have inspired Richard. It's not a hierarchical or even alphabetical list but just a box of spices he sprinkles onto his work. It is a pallete of passions. Without significant driving spirits all art would be bland and lifeless.


Click here for my list.


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2008 - current


From 2008 Richard moved back to Melbourne. 2008 - 2013 Bulleen. 2013 - current Fitzroy. During this period he resumed painting. As his daughter became engaged and my friends' daughters too, he painted pictures to commemorate their weddings.


Recently his quest for the depiction of landscape and form in the age of awareness of the digital space, has lead him to question the role of perception, recording, accuracy and the act of interpretation and reproduction by referring to the digital pixel as a unit.


2008 - current

For Megan and Tom. Digital print. 2016.
For Rachael and Tyson. Acrylic on canvas. 2014,5.
For Rebecca and Sam. Acrylic on canvas. 2014.
Camping Cobungra New Year's Eve 2012-13. Acrylic on canvas. 2013.


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1997 - 2007 warragul


In this period Richard was Head of Visual and Performing Arts in secondary schools in Warragul and Eltham, Victoria. He implimented much of the learning of perception of space through colour and shape and working in the immediate with sculpture.


1997 - 2007 warragul

Making Love, Wood, steel, plastic figures, cloth, surgical instruments, vinyl sheet. 2002.
Eugene Delacroix Liberty Leading the People1830, Wood, steel, plastic figures, cloth, vinyl sheet. 2002.
324 Stephensons Road Mount Waverley, Vic. Oil on canvas. 1999.


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1995 - 97 Ueda, Japan


Living in Western Japan Richard developed earlier ideas about the depiction of genders in the traditional and modern cultural contexts of Japan. He used a range of DIY techniques and materials to make assemblages combining Japanese and Western symbols.


1995-97 Japan

Sculpture. Acrylic, wire, champagne bottle, found tray. 1996.


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1992 - 1996 Warragul


Upon return to Australia after living in Japan for almost three years Richard developed ideas about culture with Australian symbols in several experimental sculptures.


1992 Warragul

Sculpture. Polychrome acrylic on galvanised steel. 1992.
Sculpture. Polychrome acrylic on galvanised steel. 1992.


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1988 - 1991 Owada, Japan


On Richard's first term in Japan he began to record daily scenes in and around his family's apartment in Kiesie Owada, suburban Tokyo. He then moved to pastels as an immediate way to create colour as an extension to the drawing process. Richard also began to incorporate metalic paints as a response to decorative Japanese interior screens he saw at museums. This becomes an ongoing theme, one that is also rooted in Medieval art, emphasising the push and pull between the illusion of space an artist seeks to create and the reality of the inherit flatness of the painter's plane upon which an illusion is placed.


1988-91 Japan

Richard's daughter Rebecca at 5 months old. Owada, Japan. Pen and ink. 1989.
The 'Empire', Owada, Japan. Pen and ink. 1989.
Miyajima, Japan. Pastel and metalic paint. 1991.
Evening sky, Japan. Pastel. 1991.
Ryoanji, stone garden Japan. Pastel and metalic paint. 1991.
Ryoanji, stone garden Japan. Pastel and metalic paint. 1991.


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1988 Melbourne


In this brief period Richard depicts domestic scenes.


1988 melbourne

Bernadette and Rebecca 2am Riversdale Road. Oil on Paper. 1988.


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1987 - 88 United Kingdom and Northern Ireland


Richard travelled through United Kingdom and Northern Ireland and finally onto Japan in 1987-8. Travelling light overseas he kept a sketchbook and painted simple scenes outdoors from life. At this time Richard and his wife were travelling through a range of denominational and non-denominational Retreat Centres.


1987 Europe

Corymealla. NI, Watercolour on paper. 1987.
Hut Southern Upland Way. Scotland. Watercolour on paper. 1987.
Southwold, UK. Watercolour on paper. 1987.
Hut Southern Upland Way. Scotland. Watercolour on paper. 1987.
Funchurch. Scotland. Pen and Ink. 1987.


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1985 - 87 Barunga aboriginal community, northern territory


Working in an Aboriginal community Northern Territory gave Richard time in the bush to see and contemplate the wonder of nature. He had an exhibition of large format bird studies in watercolour derrived from photographs he took whilst touring Northern Territory and Western Australia.



Chev Blitz on the side of the road. Pen and ink. 1985.
Sketch for Jabiru. Colour pencil, marker. 1987.
Jabiru. Watercolour on illustration board. 1987.
Crow. Watercolour on illustration board. 1987.
Wedge tailed eagle. Watercolour on illustration board. 1987.
Parrots. Watercolour on illustration board. 1987.


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secondary and art school years


Richard was educated at Caulfield Grammar School, Glen Eira Campus and then studied Fine Art at the Victorian College of The Arts, Melbourne. He graduated in 1981 with a Batchelor Degree.


1970 - 1881

Blowtorch. Oil on canvas. 1977.
1954 Series 1 Land Rover. Watercolour and pen on illustration board. 1976.
Cut away illustration of Stuka German WWII Dive Bomber. Watercolour on paper. 1976.


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List of influences


art experiences and influences
Art reference
How it influenced my progression

Technical illustration

Car, plane and tank illustrations by John Batchelor. Also the beautiful gouache illustrations that were done for the cover box art of plastic models.


Richard wanted to paint like that. Accurate, slick, professional. A push and pull (Yin and Yang) concept that he later rejected as hollow and commercial....yet continues to admire...

Got Richard going on 2 Point perspective.

Richard developed his theroy of resultant colour from illustrations. What colour is a road in the lights at night? certainly not black!

Ornothological illustraion

The stunning bird book illustrations of Peter Trusler, Robyn Hill.

Driven by the process of layering and developing form from tone and texture with watercolor.

Inspired by creating realism on paper.

Robert Anderson

Portraits and landscapes in watercolours and oils.

Richard's uncle Robert Anderson was a war time artist. He was inspired by the Social Realists like Max Meldrum. He taught him how to lay down a (watercolour) wash, often in yellow ochre before starting a painting, then how to work top to bottom, wet on wet hoping for the once in a lifetime fluid watercolour genius.

Australian Impressionism

Fred McCubbin, Tom Roberts

Where do we start with our fathers? Richard developed an understanding of his sense of place in Victoria and in Australian art from these artists.

Driven by the pioneer spirit to go out and paint - rain, hail and shine. To see and love the ordinary.

Later Richard found out that Federation painting like 'The Pioneer' was retro painting.

NT Northern bark painting

David Blanasi from Barunga NT

Inspired by the DIY nature of composition, colour and shape.

NT Central desert painting

Typical dot painting, Emily Kame Kngwarreye

Who couldn't be driven by the free pictorial space of a large indigenous canvas?

Is it drawing or painting or who cares anyway?

Inspired by the frequent fusion between Western pictorial space and Map space.

Japanese Shodo writing/ painting

Japanese caligraphy

Inspired by the mark of a brush. The rich texture and form of a stroke. It is quiet genius. Something all painters should think about everytime a brush touches canvas.

Inspired by the element of time in painting.

Pablo Picasso

Cubism, wartime painting

Here we find the dictionary of art elements in painting. I love the way the edges of his shapes look like he pushes the brush backwards!

Richard loves his use of line and colour. He describes a scene using correct and reverse atmospheric perspective.

Of course, Cubism's contribution to the depiction of pictorial space. Absolutely driven by Picasso's rejection of a pictorial moment for a pictorial journey. Picked up and developed by Hockney in Joiner Pictures then objects and landscapes.

Marcel Duchamp

Futurism and Readymade works

Duchamp was the artist's artist. Who could master, then add so much to the field of painting with the integration of movment into the already 3d space then denounce it as simply 'retinal art' that would only please?

Duchamp taught us everything: Originality, concept, material, authorship, perception and creation. Anyone who makes art from any art or non-art materials that they did not make entirely by themselves, from raw atoms, is working Duchampian.

Duchamp gave us confidence.

Minimal art 1960s

Donald Judd, Carl Andre

Richard heard Carl Andre speak in 1978 at the Pinacotheca in Richmond. He was dressed as a steam engine driver. He spoke in long sentences that went on for ever. No one understood what he said but it sounded important. They liked it.

Andre represented specificity. Minimal art is non referential, non representational abstraction. Richard doesn't believe this. He think it referrs to a range of deeply human structures; both literal and metaphoric. These structures control us. For example; timetables, buildings, filing cabinets and more specifically the CIA.

David Hockney

Joiner photos, Large landscape paintings

See Picasso above then add DIY, naive optimism and art as a consumer object.

Add then, a sincere exploration of the process rather than of the outcome. He furthered the process of depiction of space.

Pop Art

Warhol, Lichtenstein

Let's turn things on their head using things we love.

Jackson Pollock Studio

Springs, East Hampton USA.

There are several art churches in the world. One is Kata Tjuta (The Olgas NT), where one feels the absolute and spiritual connection with aesthetics and the power of nature. Pollock's studio is another. This is a place where story is real. Quiet and calm the walls withold their truths. Go there.

Louvre and history painting

Eugene Delacroix, Theodore Gericault

Drives the narrative in art. Narrative is a parallel force along with art elements and principles. Sometimes narrative is too strong for me. Richard hates brown paintings. He remembers them when he was growing up. Pictures about people we dont know and don't care about. However, history painting distills years, months, events and/or moments into single instances. It tells of the pain and joy of human life. We need story in art.


All of them

Take a Caravaggio pilgramage. Richard did. Then read 'M' by Peter Robb. Caravaggio was a painter of the real. A Hopper or a George Segal. And what real he did. His paintings are a fusion between story, people, the times and technique.

Richard marvels at his ability to create depth and drama without decorative self indulgence. Everything is structural. Everything is from life.

Artemisia Gentileschi

Self portrait 1638-9, Judith Slaying Holophernes 1614-20

Atemesia learnt to paint like (and from Caravaggio) then added meaning stemming from her existence as a female and an painter in 17th Century Italy.

Richard admires both Genteleschi's brute honesty in the face of severe opression and the finest technical competence with which she executes each work. Genteleschi's depiction of female becomes the springboard for analysis of any depiction of gender by subsequent female artists.

Piet Mondrian

Any of his works

If a painting exists in any rectangular format and on a single plane then it by definition, relies on some kind of pictorial system of abstraction to make it work. Behind any painting is a system of vertical and horizontal structures. Behind any painting is balance. Balance between these components, colour and shape. Mondrian's paintings are the architecture of painting.

Richard also loves the way Mondrian's paintings are paintings. Their brush strokes are evident and the edges to the lines and shapes are slightly wavy. They remind him that even Mondrian was human, and that they are not iconic graphic formulars made visual, but indeed paintings in the oldest tradition.

Damien Hirst

Dots, tanks and posters

Richard admires the grace with which Hirst assembles art. He loves the apparent marriage between Duchamp, graphic design and classical object.

Richard also loves Hirst's frankness. 'Death isn't part of life' he said.

Giuseppi Romeo

Any of his work

You won't know Romeo, but Richard shared a studio with him at art school. Giuseppe's influence on Richard was to remind him not to hold onto an idea, use it and to make art out of any material that is available, not to procrastinate. It's great advice for any artist.

Gordon Bennett

Any of his work

Richard values Bennett's honesty in telling his story. He defined the contemporary blend between white and black art styles. Bennett is a true post modern commentator.

Rosalie Gascoigne

Any of the sign assemblages

Are you kidding? Richard loves her very deliberate and contrived absolute natural haphazardness!! She too studied Ikebana.

Like Minimal Art (also above) Gascoigne references specificity of material and color in here work.

Driven by her apparent simplicity and DIY nature of her work. But it is really poetic beauty. It is a literal dipiction of the landscape.

Love her love of collecting just because.

Saw an exhibition of hers in a passage of the NGV in the late 70s, early 80s. She said on the video, "I had dollies so I wanted to say dollies". And that was it. She said "dollies".

Howard Arkley

Any of the house paintings

This list must really stop! Some people think Arkely's brighly patterned and papered walls are abstract. Richard believes he painted from his expience of drug use. The contradictory messages of depth and flatness created by the juxtaposition of line, shape and colour are a literal explanation of the metaphysical journey from Oakleigh, to success and beyond. How we love Arkley's everyday.


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