Robyn Cornale is a local Visual Arts teacher and a lover of creating beautiful artworks that are immersed with colourful and expressive style. It is the creative realm where her passion has always lied, and our beautiful region offers up an array of inspiration.
You are a local Visual Arts teacher. What do you love most about sharing your passion with others?
While practising art can be a very instinctive action, teaching art is a complex process. Teaching forces you to break down all your thought processes and actions to be able to explain it, in a comprehensible and achievable way.
Visual Arts is basically another language to communicate your ideas and thoughts and can be just as powerful as a symphony or a novel. “Art speaks where words are unable to explain”. Art is visual. It is all about what you can see and how it resonates with the audience.
There is no greater joy than to witness the moment when students create their own artworks that are both conceptually and technically strong. It starts with an idea; they learn the skills to be able to express that idea; they problem-solve as they progress, and then judge when to know when an artwork is resolved. They really surprise themselves at what they can achieve.
Was it always your ambition to have a career in the arts?
I always hoped that I would be able to work in a creative field. It was the subjects at school that I loved and had the most success with. I attended Sydney College of the Arts and City Art Institute, which was an inspiring and formable experience, immersing myself in the creative realm. While we all dream of making a living out of art-making, teaching is the practical way to do that.
Have you always been someone to paint at home, or is this a more recent venture?
Making art has been with me for as long as I can remember. I sold my first work to my mother at a Kinder school fete. She couldn’t get it off the display wall quick enough. I had painted her with bright yellow curly hair, red dress, and her signature cigarette hanging out her mouth with a beautiful plume of smoke swirling around her head. She was mortified, and I thought it was the most beautiful portrait. I think it made 20 cents.
How would you describe your artistic style?
My artistic style is colourful, loose and expressive. It is a visual response to my world, from the lush curves of the female form to the many textures and sensations of my coastal landscape.
Inspiration can come from unlikely places. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
Our beach and surf culture is an endless source of inspiration, from the display of languid sunbathing bodies, the squeaky resistance of your feet in the sand, the white noise from the roar of the waves at night to the sulphury smell on the summer breeze. Most recently, the abstract aerial views from drones have inspired a whole new series.
Brett Whitely would have to be my biggest influence from Australian art history. He just had a vision that totally resonates with me.
Art can easily be likened to falling into a dream. Describe for us your creative process?
The most difficult part of making art is coming up with an idea. It is essential that I can see it in my head before I start. I try to just cover the canvas in a thin layer of paint to take away the pristine stark surface, which can be quite intimidating. Painting is essentially building up layers, fixing areas that aren’t working and emphasising the areas that are resolved — knowing when to stop working on it is the key.
Would you say having art as a creative outlet improves other aspects of your life?
Art-making is a very positive activity, although you are probably also at your most vulnerable, as you are existing in the most honest and authentic moment and hope that the audience can relate to your work and make connections to it in some way. Making art is an extremely mindful activity, as when you enter the zone of creative flow, you are completely absorbed and completely present.
A lot of us tend to find our way back to our creative sides later in life. Why do you think that is?
Picasso has a famous quote that states that “every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up”. We are all very capable of making art, as it is something we all begin as toddlers when we first grasp a big chunky crayon and begin to scribble. Most of us give it up as teenagers. As a teacher, it is a joy to reignite the simple pleasure of making marks, feeling the textures of wet clay in your hands, bending wire with your fingers or more commonly these days finding the extraordinary in the ordinary by capturing a unique image on your iPhone in a society saturated by visual noise.
Where can we find some of your work?
Most people would recognise my work from Artwalk Port Macquarie. The past three years, my work has been exhibiting at EyeQ Optometrist Port Macquarie, which happens to be owned by my husband, Adrian. My paintings are on display and for sale here also. I am so lucky to have access to such a perfect space.
I also have my work at the Comboyne Collective, a funky little vintage homewares joint and gallery on the Comboyne Plateau.