Artist of Note | Devin Roberts

Evoking emotion

Devin Roberts, Expanse, oil, 12 x 24.

Devin Roberts, Expanse, oil, 12 x 24.

This story was featured in the August 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  August 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

For Devin Roberts, each painting is a puzzle. After spending countless hours outdoors making sketches and painting nature studies en plein air, Roberts returns to his studio, where he pulls a tree, a mountain, and a stream from the different places he has visited. Piecing them together, he creates a unique landscape that reaches into the souls of its viewers. This is his goal. “There are so many options for expressing human emotions in a landscape, and I want to make those specific emotions come out for the viewer,” Roberts says.

Painter and TV personality Bob Ross inspired Roberts as a child. But he didn’t begin painting seriously until he was laid off from his job five years ago. Recently he worked as a traveling piano player to supplement his art career. But with recent successful sales of his work, he plans to move back to his home in the Pacific Northwest to paint full time.

While the artist’s work is often described as contemporary realism, he himself describes his style as “emotionalism,” where a river shrouded in fog can be sorrowful and a rolling meadow can be joyful. “I’m not concerned with representing things literally—there is a lot of idealization in my work,” he says. “I’m trying to put a modernist twist on classical painting.” But his primary goal is creating landscapes based on his emotions from day to day. “I don’t ever focus on geography,” he says. “I’m simply sculpting and creating a piece that has real emotion behind it.” —Mackenzie McCreary

Roberts is represented by Reuben Saunders Gallery, Wichita, KS; Strecker Nelson West Gallery, Manhattan, KS; and Cole Gallery, Edmonds, WA.

This story was featured in the August 2017 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art  August 2017 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

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