Robert Wallace




Studio Notes

Some paintings just have tension.  I don't set out to create it.  It just happens.  I can feel it.  I can feel it while I'm painting, and I can feel it when I'm finished.  I wonder if the viewer also gets this feeling.


Studio Notes

Exercising restraint.  Knowing when to stop.  That is sometimes as difficult as putting down the next mark.  Don't vs. do.  That "do" is sometimes a mistake.  Then you have to rework, add more, and the painting becomes heavy.  That light touch.  That's difficult.  Effortless.  Even if it took weeks and months to do, it should look like it took seconds.


Studio Notes

Finally this piece has calmed down.  What a battle!  Try this, try that.  Each new effort thwarted.  A boxer who's not really fighting, gloves up, blocking your attack, objective is to frustrate.  Sometimes you just have to wait.  You know it'll get there.  Painting is patience.


Studio Notes 

Of course something really good is followed by something really bad.  It's like a footballer that scores a goal expecting to score again in the next match.  It's unreasonable.  Humility must be kept in check.

This painting has gone off the tracks.  How to bring it back.






shadows & twigs


fire box





1.   A slow drift towards madness

2.   They tore it down

3.   postcards in the wind

4.   余白

5.   never came back

6.   ambivalence

7.   misdirected energy

8.   He is so necessary

9.   re-sprout

10.  You’ve been replaced

11.  morning music

12.  begins to fray

13.  時間

14.  buried

15.  “exquisite chaos”

16.  analogue-ist

17.  accepting

18.  the follower becomes the leader

19.  as good as it’s going to get

20.  A Checklister

21.  “you give yourself away”

22.  unapologetically

23.  I’ll show you

24.  not there

25.  reminds me of something

26.  an old horse stroll

27.  Dying is never easy

28.  providing the ammunition for snipers

29.  equanimity ↔ equilibrium

30.  burn it down

31.  the river following time

32.  wildly romantic

33.  degrees






This is Part 9 in the series of short films documenting the (four)est art project in the mountains of northern Kyoto (Japan).


March 2020








notes and impressions

part 9 (March 22 & 23, 2020)


It's two years since the project began.  The half way mark.



(four) Kameoka

(four) Kameoka (2)


亀岡 | Kameoka


I was surprised to find the painting face down among broken twigs and leaves.  The forest floor in curious disarray, rooted up.  On closer inspection I discover a bite has been taken out of the painting.  Wild boar!  Some kind of beastly party.

The quandary of leaving the painting as I found it, or returning it to its original position two years earlier.  I anticipated and indeed hoped for changes brought by the elements.  I never considered wild animals.  Ha!  Crazy project.




(one) Miyama


美山 | Miyama


A brief moment of dappled sunlight dancing across the surface of the painting.  Gorgeous!  Cinema de la nature.

A tattiness that is not new, but somehow more emphatic.




 (two) Keihoku


京北 | Keihoku


The mitsumata are out in force, like popcorn exploding over the hillside.

A slight shift in palette from the usual layers of brown to a vague green.  A handsome addition I appreciate.  It compliments the moss covered rock under which it rests.




(three) Kuta 


久多 | Kuta


The forest is cold.  Spring has yet to touch Kuta.  Everything still in its winter wardrobe.

The wood panel has begun to separate from the supporting frame.  This might eventually slide off and find a new home on the forest floor.  Wait and see.





Studio Notes

There's always the fear of repetition, that I'm just painting the same thing over and over.  Or a variation of the same thing.

It's this bloody small studio, like painting inside a closet.  Gesture is restricted.  Ideas too, perhaps.  Ha!  Shift the blame.


Studio Notes

Paintings are always personal, I suppose, because you put something of yourself in them.  This piece for some reason feels a little more personal.  There's history in there, a record.

It's loose.


Studio Notes

Blowing the dust of 2019 off the brushes.

A spare attack, leaving plenty of room for the painting to breathe.  Revisiting 間.  There's maybe some long ago Brooklyn in there too.  White.  It's early, but it might be something.  Yeah, so far we are getting along.


Studio Notes

From a certain angle...  In a certain light...  A painting with such requirements - is it good or bad?  Is it part of a game?  Make the viewer work a little.  Or should the viewer just be knocked out?

Tension seems to have come into my work lately.  A struggle - color, material, form.  Like spring battling winter, autumn vs. summer.  A new dynamism perhaps.






This is Part 8 in the series of short films documenting the (four)est art project in the mountains of northern Kyoto (Japan).


January 2020








notes and impressions

part 8 (January 17, 2020)


The paintings continue to grow into their surroundings.  Less and less are they intruders.  And so too are they becoming less mine, belonging more and more to nature.  Well...maybe a custody battle.



(four) Kameoka 


亀岡 | Kameoka


A fog over the mountains.  The forest is damp.  Forever damp.  There is a fine layer of moss beginning to grow over the painting.  A new color.  The reds more and more muted.  It blends with the rock.  Connected.




(one) Miyama


美山 | Miyama


The warm winter has confused the sakura.  No further developments to the painting.




(two) Keihoku 


京北 | Keihoku


The layer of dirt that is always decorating the surface of the painting appears more permanent.  The stream down the mountain just a trickle.  Everything is quiet.




(three) Kuta


久多 | Kuta


A little snow on the highest peaks.  It's a little disappointing to find not even a melted patch.  The reverse side of the painting is turning green with moss.  The front is stubbornly unchanged from the last visit.





Keihoku gymnasium





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