Robin Holder


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About the artist:

I love all two hundred and twenty miles of it; it’s where I am most content.

Some people find spiritual fulfilment in a cathedral, on a mountain or by the sea. I find it by the “mighty” River Severn.

I’m not the only person who thinks it’s good for the soul. I observe walkers, anglers, canoeists, cyclists, picnickers and many more all soaking up its ethereal qualities.

Through my work I try to portray our relationship with the river and in doing so, justify my own obsession with a place that has captivated me since childhood and driven me to becoming a self-taught painter.

I work mostly on-site either from the bank or my Canadian canoe and use watercolour, oils, acrylics or mixed media; in fact anything that will fit into a rucksack.

I would describe my work as intuitive, somewhere on the scale between figurative and abstract, allowing a sub-conscious approach to yield a gritty and sometimes melancholic creation.

Layers are also important in my compositions, each one having its own significance but all very often visible in the finished work from the first pencil stroke to the last and delicate wash or bold slab of colour. It’s a technique that has taken time to evolve and has relied on shaking off all my earliest influences.

Now I create an individual account of the river, all two hundred and twenty miles of it.


Spirit of the Severn

This year I’m going to be exploring the river from source to sea and through the seasons, travelling on foot and in my hand-built canoe, hoping to rediscover a subject I’ve been painting for the past 20 years.

I’ll be keeping a sketchbook and a journal, recording subjects as I find them and then translating my experiences into a fresh body of work with new insights into my lifelong passion.

You can follow my journey every month as the story unfolds, concluding with my Spirit of The Severn exhibition in December, hosted by Ironbridge Fine Arts.