Satisfying Pastel Paintings (Yes, Paintings) of Balmy Summer Still Lifes

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Water© Anna Roberts

Yorkshire-based artist Anna Roberts’ pieces make for transportive Monday viewing

Allowing herself a “slow process” to develop her exquisite pastel artworks, Anna Roberts recreates scenes that champion “the quiet things” – a pint glass filled with violet forget-me-nots, plastic chairs lined up against a wall, a bag of oranges, or a bar of soap, for example. The Yorkshire-based artist paints from photographs she takes on trips – “I always have my camera at the ready,” she says – and has created an ongoing series of these pastel pieces, which originally came about following a stay in southern Portugal. Roberts’ paintings feel balmy, prioritising sun-trapping street corners, stretches of road and plant-filled balconies that feel as though they could only exist on a European summer day. This is enhanced, of course, by the warm palette: earthy browns, rich greens and pale blues and pinks dominate, each engrossing enough to transport the viewer to more restorative, leisurely climes.

The textures of the artworks are especially compelling. “I love how pastel blends so seamlessly and that it can be very subtle, almost translucent, as well as strong and opaque with great depth of colour,” says Roberts, highlighting the satisfying idiosyncrasies of her chosen medium. There’s an element of hyperreality at play here too, which Roberts attributes to her father, whose illustrations and architectural drawings she pulls inspiration from. Whether it’s the glassy sheen of a plastic carrier bag, the light-refracting shadow of a glass of water, or the scuffed terracotta of a plant pot, tactility is a common theme across the series, and the surfaces here are soft and smudgy yet very clearly – and pleasingly – defined.

For more of Anna Roberts’ work, head to Tappan