“… I see the Vincent influence, but your art evokes the brushwork of Soutine (Click here) and I see a distinct passionate style influenced by nature… This man's art is going to find a huge public appreciation in the future.” – W. Matthews, a Vancouver collector Canadian landscape painting has been strongly influenced by the Group of Seven during the last century. The Canadian West Coast, with its unique climate and wild character, lends itself to artists seeking to express the forces of nature in their artwork. Trees and rocks have been scoured by wind and water in ways that provide a metaphor for the way in which people have been shaped by equivalent influences. The paths people take in their lives reflect their ability to understand and relate to patterns in their environment. Art should reflect these designs and it is with this metaphorical knowledge that I approach my artwork. My travels to different countries and, in particular, Afghanistan has given me perspective on what various cultures choose to value in life. The interrelationship between land, sea and sky along the West Coast of BC involves patterns which when exaggerated allow for striking artistic images of these metaphors. These are accomplished by the careful design of my artwork before I start painting. I admire the work of Van Gogh for its ability to convey powerful emotions and it is this ability that I try to emulate with my heavy impasto brushwork. These techniques allow me to work toward my goal of relating nature to people. “This world is maintained by imagination. You call it “reality”, since it can be seen and perceived, and those meanings of which the world is an offshoot you call “imagination”. The true situation is the reverse. The imagination is this world itself, for that meaning brings into existence a hundred worlds like this, and they rot and disintegrate and become naught. Then it produces a new world and better…” Rumi translated by W. C. Chittick (The Sufi Path of Love, State University of New York Press, Albany, 1983).
Biography: Rob Elphinstone grew up in Calgary, Canada, and spent his youth travelling about the world. He went to Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation of the country acting as a photographer with "Doctors without Borders" (MSF). For months he wandered through the Hindu Kush mountains with the mujahedin experiencing first hand what it feels like to be under attack in a war. He worked in space physics for many years, researching the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) both from the ground and from satellites in space. He has authored more than 50 publications on the northern lights including review articles and has lectured extensively throughout the world. The beauty of the northern lights allowed some artistic interpretation to overlap into his scientific work. Rob lives with his wife and two children in Nanaimo on Canada's west coast where they cherish the beautiful climate and scenery that inspire his paintings. He divides his time between being a stay-at-home dad and an artist. His main influences come from the Canadian Group of Seven, Van Gogh and Soutine which are easily evident in his work. Rob Elphinstone specializes in capturing the beauty of the Canadian west coast through his textured wild flowing landscapes. His art reflects the belief that our senses reveal only a shadow of what we truly experience. He feels that the beauty of a place is seldom captured by a photo or a video. Our senses take in a fraction of what we perceive about the world. This tiny fraction is the shadow of what is really there. Good art should not have to be about what the inner psyche experiences or displaying perfectly what is optically there but should be about the unseen reality that everyone feels. Each painting reflects a striving towards that goal.
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