20 May 2011


watercolour on Bockingford CP 150gsm, 17cm x 18cm, (c) 2011

26 April 2011


watercolour on Bockingford CP, 10cm x 10cm, 4/2011

21 April 2011

Cellular membrane - colour modulations

A visual poem Animated GIF digital composition (detail) full size 564px x 376px 
© 1998-2011 Wayne Roberts.

This animated GIF computer image i made around '98. It's a slightly larger version of the same image as on my www.wroberts.com.au website's poetry page. I decided to post it here because it relates to the Equinox collage painting's compositional rationale (see below), and gives a feel for the polygonal dynamics alluded to in the commentary to Equinox (but here the colours rather than the shapes of the polygons are modulating). 

26 March 2011


Equinox, paper collage on hardboard, 91cm x 130cm
© 2010-2011 w roberts

In 2003 I painted two separate 'VP's (see below post, Varignon Parallelograms) on unframed irregularly-shaped quadrilateral canvases. More recently I had the idea of composing a picture consisting of many interconnected and interrelated Varignon Parallelograms. That's what you see here. There was infinite scope to intuitively feel my way through this composition, it's just that I stuck to this particular theorem in this piece as an underlying unifying principle. It's really no different in essence than painting a picture and restricting yourself to (say) just three colours. It's simply a principle that adds another form of coherence or unity to a work. And it's kind of interesting when you paint something like this (Equinox above) and you're actually conscious of this 'qualifying principle' or 'syntactical rule' that helps strike a different kind of balance or interchange between regularity and irregularity.

The main additional qualifying geometric syntactical rule I set for myself was that each side of an irregular quadrilateral in the work would be exactly the same length as, and gaplessly adjacent to, its neighbouring irregular quadrilateral on that edge. This means that the work became, by definition, a form of 'tessellation of the plane' (i.e. 'tiling pattern') but one that's quite unusual in that it's both 'demiregular' and aperiodic. That is, half its area is 'half-regular' (contains interconnecting unique parallelograms that are joined at their vertices), and it is aperiodic because there are no repeating (i.e. periodic) sequences or patterns that recur at identical or cyclically spaced intervals. It is equally regular and irregular.

Other secondary principles include: the four triangles that surround any given Varignon parallelogram (and so defining its encompassing irregular quadrilateral) were to be of free intuitive colour choice, yet once chosen, had to be the same (which you can see). The total number of colours was restricted to mainly 8 (relating to the number of notes in an octave or scale, with 1 or 2 additional very closely related 'enharmonic' colours (near not only in chroma but close also in value or tone). In this way I tried to bring a music scale or 'key signature' concept to the work. Brighter colours and/or those of stronger tone or value I generally restricted to the smaller shapes.

This work was virtually complete approx 6 months ago but for various reasons couldn't get it posted til now.
 [I've been offline for quite a while due to extenuating circumstances. Am hoping to now get around to answer emails, blog rounds of friends, asap. So please bear with me, there's some catching up to do here! If you've had any bounced emails, i changed my ISP last year so that's likely to be the reason why, and so I may never have actually seen those. Apologies in advance if that's been so.]

The beginning was fully free. And even once started, many of the quadrilateral corners could be placed anywhere, fully intuitively. But others were necessarily shared, and therefore fixed into position by a previously placed corner/vertex.

A simple visual poem or metaphor of Universal instantaneous non-local interconnectedness?? Imagine moving a node-point or vertex 'locally' within the composition. Then think about how other node points and quadrilaterals would have to change in order to accommodate that single change remembering that all shapes, and at all times, must follow the same syntax rules governing their interdependency. The effect would be a simultaneous reconfiguration (movement to new positions) of all node-points, and therefore of necessity all quadrilaterals, in short, of everything else at any distance, even for all forms which follow the same syntax, and which may extend outside the painting's boundary, to infinity. In other words the configurations could be interpreted as a 'captured instant' of a dynamic and infinite interconnectedness. You can imagine any node (vertex) in this 'interconnected form-field', that if it moves at all, then the whole field is of necessity instantaneously reconfigured and must also therefore move. In this respect the painting points to an interdependency and interconnectedness of form and motion.

(c) copyright 2006 w roberts

This idea of dynamically interconnected forms, and of their ubiquity in Nature, clearly resounds within this small photo (above), looking down towards my feet, of a thin wave that was rippling up the mirror-perfect reflective beach sands, where land meets sea.

Varignon Parallelograms

Here's a small vector diagram I made to illustrate Varignon parallelograms (paler blue central quadrilateral in image). [I posted this because it relates to the Equinox comp above.] It demonstrates a fascinating connection between regular and irregular 4-sided shapes (proved by Varignon in 1731, and known as Varignon parallelograms). Essentially his theorem states that you can draw up any irregular quadrilateral you like (i.e. side-lengths can be random, you simply connect any 4 dots with straight lines to make a random quadrilateral). Then, (and here's the surprise), you halve each side and then join each of those mid-points to make another quadrilateral inside that. It turns out remarkably that the inner quadrilateral is always a parallelogram! The 'regular' within the 'irregular'. 'Symmetry' within asymmetry: perfectly apt as a syntactical rationale for a visual composition, a geometric collage-composition (Equinox post above).

30 May 2010

Photo and graphic, 2010

Nature knows nothing about compromise, it accepts all difficulties not as difficulties as such but rather as new factors that configure a totality.

~Jørn Utzon, architect of the Sydney Opera House

14 November 2009

Beethoven painting + link to larger images

Here's a link to my art website www.wroberts.com.au showing the recent LVB9 painting/installation.
The images are larger and sharper.
It's kind of a curious synchronicity, that the painting (LVB9) and the movie In Search of Beethoven were composed/released within months of each other. The artwork LVB9 was completed approx 4-6 months beforehand, and i had no idea a major film about Beethoven was about to be released at any stage during the time i was working on this piece.
The movie In Search of Beethoven has received rave pre-release reviews in the media (one paper awarding it a 10/10 within the past week or so. Almost all reviews i've seen have been positive.

27 October 2009

LVB9 - installation artwork, music-inpired: now on main website

© 2009 Wayne Roberts. All rights reserved. (detail view above)
This work is now on my main art website. Text consists mainly of extracts from my blog, here. Shown above is a close-up view of part of the CD-collage section of the painting.

23 October 2009

The Pacific

Photograph © copyright Wayne Roberts, Canberra Australia

Mid-south coast, NSW, Australia.

20 October 2009

Indian motif, Hamilton NZ

photo © copyright 2008 Wayne Roberts.

13 October 2009

The Lifeboat

56cm x 76cm, 300gsm Lanaquarelle cold-pressed paper
Winner of the 1996 Paul Schwartz Memorial Award,
American Watercolor Society, New York

I decided to show this transparent full-sheet watercolor here on my blog for several reasons.
1) It seemed to resonate with the spirit of LVB9 (see artwork several posts below)
2) Every so often artists produce works they almost "recognise", like a kind of déjà vu, but not exactly so. This happened for me in the above watercolor.
3) Imo there seems to have entered into the blogosphere a notion that 'new is better' and that we must be seen to be constantly updating and 'moving forward'. This can conceivably create all sorts of anxieties be they large or small.

In this watercolor, painted directly and interactively to wet paper without preliminary drawing, I imagined the storm as somehow providing the very rescue needed, the emblematic lifeboat, in a palmar upward thrust of sea amongst the surrounding turbulence. [Figures in this painting would have been superfluous and would have detracted from the symbolism of the lifeboat. The rescued figures are emblematically inferred.]

The Lifeboat, to me, resounds with Beethoven's 9th. But here I've decided to relate the Lifeboat painting to an entirely different kind of music (see YouTube vid immediately below): a song by the Australian band The Black Sorrows, "Hold on to Me". The lyric connects all: The rescued, ..rescuing.
No room on the lifeboat, you can hold on to me.

12 October 2009

Cantaloupe Island

See/hear a classic of Jazz Fusion (on YouTube) Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Dave Holland , Jack DeJohnette. Crank it up, and click HQ button lower right-hand corner for better sound qual.

09 October 2009

For artwork LVB9, please refer to posts below "Waterlilies, Centuries"

LVB9 is a large multimedia installation artwork (see LVB9 posts below) inspired by Beethoven's 9th symphony. [More commentary is below each image (please scroll downwards). Further new work should be posted soon..

25 September 2009

Waterlilies, centuries

LVB9 - 9th >< 10th Symphony

LVB9 (inspired by Beethoven's 9th symphony, Op 125)
Mixed media on two doors and black stretched woollen textile
with internal lighting, sound-responsive LEDs, & CD-collage

See several posts below for view of entire work

This post briefly discusses CD collage arrangement

Beethoven's Ninth symphony was so influential upon many later composers that some even feared nearing their own ninth symphonies. The ninth was, after all, Beethoven's final symphony and final major work. Moreover, several other composers had also only reached nine symphonies. This led to an apprehension amongst some composers when their own symphony tally drew near to nine. Some even purposely stopped before getting there.

The concept of the (allegedly) "square number" 9 relates directly to my theory work in PON (Principles of Nature). In this painting (and in consideration of the above-mentioned fear of some composers) I had the idea of jumping the hurdle and visually showing an 'equivalence' between 9 and 10. It sounds crazy, right? Like the idea that the Earth goes around the Sun. Not everything that seems illogical (at first sight) is necessarily so. 'Counting' is not restricted to one method. I show a simple example here in this painting of two consistent ways of counting using the same symmetrical form: an equilateral triangle of side length 3x3.

The upper diagrams shows that if you count the internal self-similar spaces you get 9. The lower diagram shows that by counting the node-points you get 10. (In the painting i positioned the CDs at the node points creating a triangular grid of 10 CDs) Yet there remains the (now more covert) grid of in-between spaces (3X3 or 9 equilateral triangles). This creates a 910 resonance or a '910 equivalence principle' that i wanted to embed prominently within, and communicate via, the painting. [Why I chose CDs here is not hard to guess. But what their spectral diffraction-gratings hold sonically may be harder.. ]

[See posts below for further info and/or for full view of art.]

LVB9 - CDs in equilateral triangular arrangement (WIP)

LVB9 (see several posts below for full view of final artwork)
Inspired by the 9th symphony of Ludwig van Beethoven
The CDs (shown here in WIP-view 1) show a 3x3 (spatial) grid/tessellation of CDs formed by a total of 10 CDs.
This I decided to position in the top R-hand corner of the R-panel.

The blog post above presents some interesting history surrounding the number "9".

[These CDs were later 'distressed' and modulated. Ref other images in posts below]

23 September 2009

LVB9 (CD collage, detail, region 2)

LVB9 - CD collage (detail) from top right corner of right-hand door panel
(see 2 posts below for view of entire installation)
Inspired by the 9th symphony of Beethoven

"LVB9" (close-ups of CD collage area)

LVB9 (close-ups of CD collage area) R-upper, R-door panel.
See Post below for entire LVB9 work & commentary.
Inspired by Beethoven's 9th symphony


LVB9 © 2009 Wayne Roberts, 242 cm (w) x 204 cm (h) x 172 cm (d)
3-D work on two doors and black woollen stretched textile.
Two Doors: Mixed media: CD-collage, oxides, detritus, mixed aqueous paints, acrylic media, water, inks, applied with aged implements. Intaglio lineation. Black woollen textile on stretcher frame with titanium, internal lighting.
10 CDs in triangular formation (top right). This area has embedded stereo-sound-responsive Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs).
Inspired by:
Ludwig van Beethoven's final symphony, The Ninth.

The 9th symphony of Beethoven is arguably one of the greatest symphonies ever written.
Most will know Beethoven was completely deaf when he composed this monumental work.
That he was a genius is unquestionable, and it could almost be said, he virtually 'owned' the genre of the symphony (at least in the Classical and embryonic Romantic Periods). It's remarkable that four, maybe five, of his nine symphonies are among the most loved symphonies even to this day.

The 9th was without doubt a pivotal work. A landmark piece in the history of music. Many composers who followed were inspired or influenced by it. It was even influential in determining the diameter of CDs at 12cm in the early 1980s. (At that time, it was decided that a CD should be able to fit an entire performance of Beethoven's 9th on a single CD. The longest recording of Beethoven's 9th was found (an old mono, approx 78mins), and that became the benchmark, hence 12cm. [The story has some interesting twists and turns, but that's the gist of it.]

The earlier movements, often with passages of agitation, seem to reflect his battle against the deafness that had gradually and relentlessly overtaken him. The last movement is in stark contrast to the earlier ones. In the final movement, he ever so serenely introduces the main theme of the final movement, via an unornamented beautiful melody, on strings and subdued orchestra. This theme builds rather steeply (and dramatically) to usher in the finale, including parts for four vocal soloists, and large choir. (It is the first symphony to employ the human voice as a virtual instrument.)

Beethoven couldn't conduct the premiere of his Symphony No 9 (May 7, 1824) due to his profound deafness. Yet he was by the conductor's side following the score, and reportedly quite animated. Story has it that he was a couple of bars behind when the work ended to rapturous applause and ovations. The deaf Beethoven had to be physically turned around by one of the vocal soloists so that he could "see" the applause. He received fully five standing ovations (which was considered disrespectful of the royals, because only royalty were deemed worthy enough of receiving up to a maximum of three ovations.) Beethoven eventually left the hall after the tumultuous reception, and was reportedly deeply overcome with emotion.

Ludwig van Beethoven died during a thunderstorm on 26 March 1827. "His friend Anselm Hüttenbrenner, who was present at the time, claimed that there was a peal of thunder at the moment of death" (Wikipedia).

22 September 2009

09 March 2009

Alps at Kaikoura, NZ

watercolour on Arches 850 gsm rough,
47cm x 75.5cm

Kaikoura is a magnificent place on the east coast of the South Island of New Zealand. Here, high mountains 'loom over' the sea, and eco-tourists flock to the Kaikoura peninsula for whale watching. In this place, i found two of my favourite landscape subjects: mountains and sea. This is the first watercolour, just completed, based very loosely on a photo i took of the mountains of Kaikoura. The painting is direct transparent watercolour to paper without preliminary drawing. i generally do not draw with pencil first as i once used to, unless i want the drawing to be integral to the finished artwork. But this is not a 'rule' i have set myself, rather just a way to help me interact with the emerging shadows and shapes that watercolour assumes on the wet paper.

08 March 2009


acrylic on canvas, 60.8cm x 30cm, 3-2009

These sea-birds have the largest wingspan of any bird on Earth.

I clearly remember, as a kid, watching them following our ship across the entire Indian Ocean (en route from Australia to Italy, via the Cape of Good Hope). [Albatrosses soar mainly in the Southern Ocean, and also North Pacific.] These amazing birds just seem to 'lean on the air', effortlessly. I distinctly remember the downward-pointing outer-sections of their wings when soaring/gliding. They spend incredible time-spans gliding with minimal expenditure of energy, every so often diving down to catch a fish, then returning very quickly to low-soaring mode (tending to soar close to the ocean). These birds regularly circumnavigate the globe (in the Great Southern Ocean).

19 of the 21 species of albatross known to exist are now threatened with extinction. The albatross nests usually on small remote oceanic islands. Introduced species have attacked eggs, chicks and nesting adults. Reductions in fish stocks largely due to over fishing and, also long-line fishing, have had devastating effects on the albatross.

16 February 2009



seagulls squawk in the near distance,
wind gusts blow bursts of static in my ears

pelicans catch my eyes..

such big-billed birds
beautiful. i wait for their song too..

but there was no song ,
and the wind in my ears
now suddenly seemed like music,
accompanying theirs.

how the pelicans fly, glide!
outstretched, divide invisible air
now reunited behind their flighted paths
wings like double boomerangs conjoined,
arc of sky, pelicans,
how perfectly,
they fly.

huge airfoils of flight lift: white,
edged with beautiful dark feathers,
ailerons adjust..

..touch down touchlessly, flare,
skim glassy water,
wings folding,
now folded,

they watch,

as ships
go by.

photo © 2006 W Roberts
words © 2009 W Roberts

Link to
RSPCA (Animal preservation/primary care)

11 February 2009

Earth Circle, 2

Charcoal on two overlapping sheets, HP paper
58 x 63cm, © February 2009, Wayne Roberts
.. an imperfect rendering of an *ideal*

Link to Red Cross .

03 January 2009

Earth Circle

A music-art comp i just completed (3rd movt of a brief 4-movt orchestral suite).. plus a few paintings included from over the years...

30 October 2008

Blues Brothers in Chicago

Oxides, acrylic paint, with intaglio lineation on canvas on board, 60cm x 120cm, unframed. © circa 2002-3 W Roberts. Inspired by the original eighties Blues Brothers movie.

24 October 2008

Painting - The World of Ray Charles

Inspired by Ray Charles : the music and the man. Acrylic (titanium, black and gold) painted with the hands and scumbled brush on gauze-collage on loosely stretched unframed canvas. 102cm x 76cm. © 2008 W Roberts

Reg Roberts - artist - my father

Here's an oil study of Gippsland, Australia by my father (artist's collection, circa early 1950's, oil on canvas, 40.6cm x 50.8cm).

This painting was an inspiration to me my brother and two sisters. My parents gave most of their paintings from those years to friends while my father was studying for his PhD. He was a CSIRO scientist (grassland insect ecologist), always had an eye for patterns, an intuition for discerning the 'dynamics of interconnectedness'. His research presented an ecological contribution to the concept of 'biodiversity'.

In this painting there's an effective very limited palette of colours used.

18 October 2008

Watercolour brush

This brush has travelled a very long way through water, with watercolour, on watercolour paper.

Winsor & Newton Series 7.

Photographed here resting on my studio palette. One of my oldest brushes.

with Cerulean blue

17 October 2008

Judith Roberts - artist - my mother

This is a 1954 oil painting of my mother's. Logger's Trail (the Rockies). I thought it needed to be seen by a wider audience. You can see I'm not the only one of my family (all of whom are artists) who's inspired by mountains. I hope to post an oil of my father's of the Gippsland region in Australia from around the same time .. so keep an eye out for that one.. cheers~W

05 October 2008

Alps near Briancon

Transparent watercolour on Arches 640gsm cold-pressed paper. © W Roberts.
This work was inspired by the Hungarian/American watercolorist Ted Kautzsky. See
'mountains in watercolour' web page for further info and mountains in watercolour.

03 October 2008

Resonances in a seaside rock pool

There is a small rockpool near Murramarang on the NSW south coast

Resonance 1: Fleming's discovery of the Penicillium mould's ability to inhibit the growth of bacteria in the vicinity of the mould.

Resonance 2
'Earth from space' (islands, the pool's circle becomes the arc of Earth's oceans)

Resonance 3 "The Starry Night" (stars, nebulae, and constellations).

© 2005-2008 W Roberts

01 October 2008

National Museum of Australia

Linda and I visited the NMA last weekend. Fantastic exhibition there by Emily Kame Kngwarreye (1910-1996), one of Australia's preeminent contemporary artists. An inspiration and a revelation. If you have time it's worth checking the link to see the massive Big Yam Dreaming painting, amongst her most celebrated works. There's a new page of my photographic images of the NMA on my website. The architects of this incredible museum were Ashton Raggatt McDougall and Robert Peck von Hartel Trethowan. Emily Kame Kngwarreye's work is already further inspiring my thinking (particularly about the expressive power of line --a metaphor of interconnectedness). Although she was virtually isolated from all other traditions in art (Utopia, Central Australia) her work profoundly resonates to universal themes and rhythms transcending boundaries of culture and time.

National Museum of Australia, photo by Wayne Roberts

27 September 2008


Hello, welcome... and sincere thanks to my friend Nick Simmons who, as many of you know, is an extraordinary artist/musician/thinker and who encouraged me to kick-off a blog.

The F11 concept plugs into the idea that through a blog a bigger more dynamic and interactive picture is possible than via
my website. Hopefully you will be motivated/inspired to interact/comment, link to this blog, tap an RSS feed, or to simply check in from time to time.