Emerging Artists | Cecilia Robertson

Cecilia Robertson, Late Light, oil, 12 x 16.

Cecilia Robertson, Late Light, oil, 12 x 16.

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

Landscape and still-life painter Cecilia Robertson delights in contrasts—shiny red grapes next to a soft chartreuse pear, for example, or dark-green junipers against pale winter grasses. “I try to amp up the sense of rich color, particularly since living in New Mexico,” says the Santa Fe artist. “There’s a background of neutrality with jewels of color that just sparkle.”

In one work, for example, Robertson captured arroyos in Santa Fe on a misty, backlit morning after an unusually wet spring, and it required a richer palette to depict the vibrant greens, she says. The piece won Best of Show at the Plein Air Painters of New Mexico members exhibition last year.

Robertson, who demonstrated artistic talents even as a child, heeded an inner call to paint in 1992, while juggling a career as a clinical psychologist in Texas. Since embarking on her creative path, Robertson has taken notes from mentors such as Bob Rohm, Jill Carver, Skip Whitcomb, and Bill Gallen, and along the way, she fell in love with painting en plein air.

Today, the artist says she rarely paints a landscape from a photograph without first having experienced it from life. “It starts with the real-life experience—a moment in a place, the conditions in that place—and wanting to convey that to viewers,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be a grand view, just some play of nature that’s captivating and engaging.”

For the artist, it doesn’t have to be grand weather, either. Sometimes, laughs Robertson, painting in inclement conditions not only makes for good stories but also makes for the most interesting paintings, too. See Robertson’s work at Canyon at Palace Fine Art, Santa Fe, NM; and www.ceciliarobertson.com. —Kim Agricola

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

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