Show Preview | Cecilia Robertson

Santa Fe, NM
7Arts Gallery, September 1-29

Cecilia Robertson, Grace in the Desert, oil, 8 x 16.

Cecilia Robertson, Grace in the Desert, oil, 8 x 16.

This story was featured in the September 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

Cecilia Robertson is perhaps best known for her oil paintings of the deserts, mountains, and canyons around her home in northern New Mexico. A solo show this month at 7Arts Gallery in Santa Fe, NM, invites viewers along on the artist’s journeys not only in the Land of Enchantment but in other luminous parts of the American West, as well. On Saturday, September 1, the gallery unveils as many as 30 oil paintings completed both en plein air and in the studio. An artist’s reception is held on Friday, September 7, at 4 p.m.

Many of the paintings in Robertson’s show—entitled The Way West: Explorations—were inspired by her excursions into captivating areas of Texas, Colorado, and California. Among them is Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, about 80 miles northeast of San Diego, CA. The artist recalls stepping foot into the arid, rugged park for the first time last year, expecting to find a “drab and colorless” landscape. Instead, she says, “I was really surprised by the beauty of the color because of the way the light behaves there, particularly in the early morning and late afternoon. It’s extremely magical.” Adding to the area’s beauty was “a veil of glittering dust” in the air, churned up from the parched desert ground, that immediately sparked the artist’s interest. “When working en plein air, it’s helpful to try to articulate to yourself why a scene moves you,” says Robertson. “What stopped me and made me look?”

The artist is also charting new territory in her studio, where she typically paints wet-into-wet to maintain the spontaneity and freshness of her plein-air studies. Lately, however, she has been exploring larger-scale works that require multiple painting sessions. For such pieces, Robertson’s alla prima style isn’t optimal. “If I’m going to let a painting dry and then come back to it in a second and third session, I can’t have a ton of goopy, textured brush strokes,” she explains. “So, I either paint more thinly or scrape some areas off before my next session so the surface is smooth.”

The artist hopes that “going bigger” opens new doors for her creatively. As for her journeys around the West, all roads will always lead back home, says Robertson. “I do feel like I get to live in heaven. New Mexico is home. It’s my point of reference for sure.” —Kim Agricola

contact information
505.437.1107
www.7arts.gallery

This story was featured in the September 2018 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art September 2018 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story.

MORE RESOURCES FOR ART COLLECTORS & ENTHUSIASTS
• Subscribe to Southwest Art magazine
• Learn how to paint & how to draw with downloads, books, videos & more from North Light Shop
• Sign up for your Southwest Art email newsletter & download a FREE ebook

COMMENT