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  • Writer's pictureJules

Artist Profile: Robert Tavener

I was given this print below as a gift from my parents. It was my first work I'd seen from the printmaker Robert Tavener. His gift for shape, pattern, texture and colour have been a huge source of inspiration for me, and I love pretty much all of his artworks.

oast house block print by robert tavener
"Oast Houses" by Robert Tavener

This one in particular reminds me of where we used to live in Kent, in England. There were many oast houses around (with their round roofs and white wind funnels), nearly all of which had been turned into rather expensive housing for the wealthy. I always dreamt of living in one when I was older. These artworks speak of a homeliness and comfort that I find appealing.

"Hedgerow and Downs" by Robert Tavener

When I moved to Queensland, I wanted to find a way to represent the lush shapes of the foliage around me (most of it in varying indistinct shades of green). Robert Tavener does this rather well with his artworks, suggesting the shapes of trees without being a slave to reality.

He uses his limited colour palette to great effect, separating foreground, mid-ground and background with minimal effort. Although his colours are not representational, they aren't fantastical either. There's no thought of stray wizards or other magical beings loitering in the background, even with the use of purple, pink and black. I have a lot to learn from him in this respect.

"Poppies, Cottage and Downs" by Robert Tavener

"Robert Tavener worked for over 50 years as an illustrator and printmaker. His linocuts and lithographs were inspired by the shape, pattern and colour of the English countryside and English architecture. Born in London in 1920 he later moved to Eastbourne, East Sussex and became Vice-Principal of Eastbourne College of Art. He was a Senior Fellow of the The Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers and his work is held in over 25 public collections."

If you want to know more about who he was and where he grew up, the website has a detailed biography on him which may be of interest.

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