The impressionist oil paintings of Rob Elphinstone capture the beauty of the Canadian west coast in his rich, flowing landscapes. The process of laying down heavily textured brushstrokes depicts an elusive quality found in the nature that surrounds us. A pastel under painting unifies his work and allows vibrant palette to be applied on top. This technique yields a complexity that mimics nature. His art reflects the belief that the painting is not about what is optically perfect but about the unseen reality that everyone feels – the essence of what is truly evident in nature.Read more
Rob grew up in Calgary and spent his youth travelling about the world. He travelled to Afghanistan during the Soviet occupation of the country acting as a photographer with Doctors Without Borders. For months he wandered through the Hindu Kush Mountains with the mujahedin and experienced first-hand the hardships of this war-torn era.
Rob also worked in space physics for many years, researching the Aurora Borealis. He has authored more than 50 publications on the northern lights and has lectured extensively throughout the world. The beauty of the northern lights has impacted and is reflected in his paintings.
“Actualism art works to capture the reality behind the subject rather than capturing the artist’s viewpoint of the subject (impressionism), the sense reality (realism) or invoking an emotion/ mood (expressionism). Canadian West Coast artists naturally attempt to capture this essence and that gives rise to an artistic style originating on Vancouver Island. My process of laying down heavily textured paint mimics an elusive wild flowing quality found in nature. The result is completely unlike that which results from carefully applied brushstrokes and is both exciting to do and intriguing to look at. This pastel under painting unifies my work and allows vibrant palette to be applied on top. This art reflects the belief that the painting is not about what is optically perfect but about the unseen reality that everyone feels – the essence of what makes nature of interest to us. On the west coast, sea stacks rise out of the ocean with trees that are shaped by the wild forces around them, much in the way people have been shaped by their own wild environment.” – Rob Elphinstone
“[Rob] whips up oil paint into a froth and then moulds it into swirling shapes, revealing like Van Gogh the underlying patterns of which our landscapes are made. He seems to be channeling every chapter of Canadian art history (Group of Seven, Emily Carr, Paul Emile Borduas) in his vigorous and rambunctious paintings.” – Robert Amos, Times Colonist, May 3, 2013 (Read Article here)