Nelson Suter Art Society

to promote and encourage the cultivation and production of work in the visual arts

Robert Thompson

Painting has been a continuous thread running through my life. I had the privilege of being brought up in houses full of paintings. Interior walls exist to have paintings hung on them. Childhood visits to my grandmother and great aunt and cousins and aunt and friends who were considered to be part of the family brought me into close proximity to the works of painters from Frances Hodgkins, Margaret Stoddart and Eve Page through to Colin McCahon, Toss Woollaston, Olivia Spencer Bower and Doris Lusk and onto Gordon Walters, John Drawbridge, Richard Killeen, Joanna Paul, Anna Caselberg and Jeffrey Harris. Paintings have always held my attention. Yet it took some time for me to realise that I myself might become a painter. And the whole process of becoming a painter has been a slow unfolding process for me. And now forty years later I question whether I am in fact a full blooded painter. I look at my works struggling to be paintings; yet they stand up. Two of my favourite words are robust and fragile and when these two entities cohabit the one image there is a chance that I might have created a piece of art.


Line is the essential verb in the grammar of my visual language. It is the tactile nature of mark making that excites and energizes me. Drawing is as much about feel, just as much a tactile experience as a visual experience; it is a meditative process…reaching out, making ones way across the paper and into the image. The movement and pressure of the hand, tentative almost stalled and then release into the certainty of a line. Looking with the eye, it is akin to listening for the sound of a colour. And so out of the stilled attention of my being the image comes. In looking at my images you are looking at my touch; as a mark maker I am a maker of visual poetry. I am not in the business of solving problems or providing answers. My hope is to bring to life images that have, inherent within their own being, the ability to speak, giving them the capability in some measure of making their own way in the world.….