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10 Questions with Richard Robinson.  Also known as NZ Painter, not to mention teacher extraordinaire.

G'day good people of the internet.  Frankie here again.  Hope you enjoy this candid interview I somehow convinced Richard to be a part of!  Richard is a wonderfully co-operative and candid subject - and an extremely talented artist.  Prepare yourself for some worthy reading....

Q: Having trained as a graphic designer, do you find that you use a similar process when approaching a painting?  And if so, how do you think coming from a design background helps your painting process?

As a design student I learned to work designs up quickly from concept to thumbnail sketches to finished designs. I think that has helped my painting process. After leaving university and entering the industry I found that all design work was actually done on the computer, so that experience has helped me immensely in developing my own website, creating all my own marketing materials both online and offline and even in using photoshop to design paintings by altering photos or previous paintings.

Q: Do you still do all your own design work?

Yes though I've recently employed someone to build a new website (nearly finished!) for my painting lessons since it was getting too large on the current system which is not database driven or mobile compliant.

Q: Do you have enough time to paint for pleasure?  Or is it all painting for pleasure?

I paint mainly for my own pleasure though I do paint the occasional commission and of course I paint lots of demo paintings for my instructional painting videos. It is interesting that when you turn your hobby into a business your mindset changes from 'ooh, I GET to do a painting today', to, 'Oh, I HAVE to do a painting today'.  For me now it's come back to 'oooh!'

Q: What is the best/funniest/most outrageous thing that has happened to you because of your online business/presence?

I guess the best thing is being able to travel the world painting and teaching - I had no idea that would be part of my job when I decided to take the plunge and become a full time artist. The other odd thing that's happened due to my painting lessons online business is that I've become slightly famous, at least in the art world. That's nice for the ego of course and nice that it opens doors and also nice that when those people meet me in person they already feel like they know me, so it's a good icebreaker.

Q: Your paintings are imbued with gorgeous light and life in every brushstroke.  What is the one essential tip you could share with our readers on how to achieve that? 

Hmmm, well, that's a combination of everything, lots of brush miles as they say, but I guess the underlying reason for it is that that's always been how I've dreamed of painting - I'm drawn to other paintings that do that, so in the end, with enough practice that's just how I paint.  

My best tips for achieving that is to keep your brush clean between brush strokes, especially where you're painting into a colour that's very different in hue or value from what you've got on your brush. So, stroke, wipe your brush on a paper towel, reload your brush, stroke, clean, reload, stroke, clean, reload, and so on. For a moderate sized painting 20x20" I go through a whole roll of paper towels. Awfully wasteful I know, but necessary for clean colour.

The second thing is to be decisive and thoughtful with your brushwork so you're painting one beautiful calligraphic stroke instead 10 muddled muddied daubs.

Q: If you could re-do your high school years, what subjects would you choose?

Art, then art, art, art and art. The problem was and still is that even when you find your calling they continue to make you take subjects you will never ever use. In my case it was calculus and physics. What a waste of life!

Q: Top 5 things you like to do when you’re not painting?

Play with my kiddies!  Go surfing with my wife and kids.  Be with family and friends.  Go exploring.  Jump off big rocks into the ocean!  Play my cello and piano.

Q: We love the simplicity of your teaching technique, for example that every good painting begins with a strong visual concept.  What is one of the most powerful visual concepts you’ve had for a painting? 

For me it's usually all about the light and I tend to use the spotlight effect a lot, which boils down to light versus dark. When I'm scouting for a painting location I'm usually looking for big interesting shapes of light versus dark.

Q: Did you ever expect to be where you are now?

No, not when I started out - but I've always believed that if you pour enough good energy into any endeavour consistently that eventually something good must happen, often in excess of your initial goal.

Q:  And finally - tell us something no-one knows :)

I love having flying dreams. Once I had one where I dreamed I woke up after a flying dream but held onto my ability to fly, so I ran outside and took off into the sky like a rocket! Then I woke up, again. Best one EVER!

Richard Robinson aka NZ painter

Thanks so much Richard for such a great interview and insight into your life.  You can get Richard's popular painting tutorials here:

And view his painting website here: 

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