Sunset over Cemaes, Anglesey, 2009

Wilf Roberts

Welsh ( b.1941 - d.2016 )

Sunset over Cemaes, Anglesey, 2009

  • Oil on canvas
  • Signed & dated 2009 lower left

Image size 19.3 inches x 15.2 inches ( 49cm x 38.5cm )
Frame size 22.4 inches x 18.3 inches ( 57cm x 46.5cm )

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Sold by Big Sky Fine Art; this original oil painting by Wilf Roberts dated 2009.
The painting is presented and supplied in a sympathetic and contrasting contemporary frame to suit the subject colouration and textures.
The painting is signed and dated lower left.

Wilf Roberts was one of the finest, most individualistic and popular artists working in Wales during the twentieth and early twenty-first century.

He was born in Llanfaelog on the island of Anglesey in 1941 and raised in the Mynydd Bodafon area, an ancient outcrop from where you can see the mountains of Mourne and the Isle of Man. As a boy he always loved art and his grandmother gave him his first box of paints; he recounted; “My interest in drawing and painting is something I have been brought up with - it has always been there as an integral part of my life,” he says. “The privilege of growing up in one of the most beautiful and picturesque parts of Anglesey probably had a considerable influence in my early development as a person and as a budding artist.”

Roberts trained as an art teacher and spent 13 years in London teaching and studying at the Croydon Art College. He painted in his spare time and successfully exhibited his work in solo and mixed shows in South London and the West End. He returned to settle in Anglesey in 1974, to live in the house that once belonged to his grandmother. He continued to work in Local Government in education and social services. He did not exhibit for many years, but always painted in his spare time, illustrating books and designing posters for local and national charities He retired in 1996, since when he devoted himself entirely to painting.

Since 1996 he has contributed to a series of highly successful exhibitions in London and in many prestigious galleries throughout Wales including the Attic Gallery, Swansea; Oriel Tegfryn, Menai Bridge; Oriel Ynys Mon, Oriel Pen-y-Fan, Brecon; Oriel y Bont, Aberystwyth; and the Kooywood Gallery in Cardiff. For the past fifteen years he has contributed to and taken part in art related radio discussions and debates. His work has also been referenced and included in art publications and television programmes including Sioe Gelf.

Wilf Roberts estimated that 95% of his paintings are of Anglesey, and reflect the stark rugged beauty of the landscape he knew so intimately and loved so much. He said that he found it hard to paint places with which he was only superficially acquainted. The Anglesey he was drawn to painting is largely the one of his childhood; he painted the traditional whitewashed, slate roofed dwellings, the rugged cliffs and the turbulent seas.
“Whether I’m right or not in doing that I don’t know, but that is what I want to do. I steer clear of modern scenery – cars, things that I don’t really recall from my youth.”

Painting was very much a way of life for Roberts and he worked very long hours. He said “I enjoy it, but more than anything it’s an obsession. I haven’t painted for two or three days I really think I’m missing something. I start waking up at night thinking about it.”

His favoured method was to sketch outdoors before returning to his studio to paint, usually in oils. Sunset, when the contrasts of colour are stronger, was a favourite time of day. He often began with the sky, which set the tone for a piece and applied paint with anything that came to hand; brushes, fingers, toothbrushes, and even plastic credit cards have been used.

“The reward for me is not finishing a piece of work but the making of the picture. There’s something quite sublime about the whole thing. It’s a very private feeling; I don’t like being watched while I’m painting. I want to talk to myself, I may even swear at the painting.
“You never achieve perfection, but you want to think you can get close to it. If a painting’s going well, somewhere towards the end, the whole thing comes together and makes some kind of sense. That’s when I feel, ‘Yes, I’ve achieved something now; onto the next one’.”

Roberts’ work is honest, atmospheric and inspired, borne out of a genuine love of his subject matter and an innate sense of composition. The result is a showcase of dramatic natural beauty and harmony.

Today his work is highly collectable and is held in public and private collections in The Hague, Paris, New York, Australia and the U.K. Wilf died at his Anglesey home in September 2016.

This original oil on canvas impasto piece shows a dramatic sunset over the tiny village of Cemaes, which is on the north coast of Anglesey, off the west coast of northern Wales. It is the most northerly village in Wales.

The lower third of the canvas shows the wild grasslands of the island, in layers of earthy colours and a couple of modest cottages are picked out in their traditional whitewash. The top two thirds of the image is the vast sky, bright and with whites, azure blues, pale mauve and turquoise. Between the earth and the sky is the sunset, a ribbon of fire over the Irish Sea, which glows orange and red. It is almost symbolic in its simplicity, the thin line of fire between heaven and earth…