When ill health ended her opera career, Pembrokeshire’s Beth Robinson returned to her coastal roots and turned to painting as her creative outlet. Beth’s latest exhibition, My Ancient and Timeless Home, opens on 18 July and runs until 2 September at Oriel y Parc Gallery and Visitor Centre in St Davids, on the Pembrokeshire Coast.
She is the current Artist in Residence at the venue, which is owned and managed by the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority in partnership with Amgueddfa Cymru-National Museum Wales.
The self-taught artist has produced new land and seascape paintings for her residency, showcasing her distinctive ‘colourist’ brand of semi-abstract work in the Tower Gallery.
Before putting brush to canvas, Beth enjoyed a successful career on the world opera stage, performing with legendary opera singers including Pavarotti and Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
She said: “Throughout my childhood, I walked for hours on the mountains around my family home, drinking in the beauty and the spirit of the land. I always wanted to express the feelings of nostalgia, belonging and ‘hiraeth’ that the area always engendered in me, but at that time I didn’t know how: at school it was either art or music, and I was headed for a career in opera.
“Over the years, this feeling intensified, along with a growing sense of frustration that I couldn’t distil these feelings into something more tangible. Ill health ended my opera career, so in 1997 I came home to Pembrokeshire and started to play with paint, trying to express the emotions and sense of history that the area has always produced in me.
“My home is surrounded by traces of historic settlements, thousands of years old. People have lived, loved, worked, suffered, fought, traded, worshipped, died and been buried here. There are traces of them everywhere, physical and spiritual. In my latest work I’ve tried to let that knowledge, and the fleeting, changing colours dictate the finished piece.”
In the Oriel y Parc exhibition, Beth conveys her love of the known and unknown parts of the countryside around her home in the foothills of the Preseli Hills.
Also on display at Oriel y Parc this month is an exhibition in the Discovery Room windows by South Wales Potters group until 29 July and an exhibition by Pembrokeshire artist Rosemary Graham in the St Davids Room until 31 July.