Artist picks up top award for outdoor oil painting

A Copthorne artist has picked up an award for one of his oil paintings in the first competition of its kind.
Artist Robert Nelmes from Copthorne - picture submittedArtist Robert Nelmes from Copthorne - picture submitted
Artist Robert Nelmes from Copthorne - picture submitted

Robert Nelmes was thrilled to scoop an prize the 2016 Paintout Norwich ‘Best Freestyle Painting’ award, at the UK’s premier en plein air painting competition.

He said: “It was my first time at the competition and the other artists were hugely accomplished, so it was a great feeling to win the award.”

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‘En plein air’ is a process of painting which translated means ‘painting outside’.

Predominantly using oils, the artist can fully capture the light and atmosphere of the scene by painting on the spot, away from the confines of the studio and not using photographs for reference.

It was made popular by the French Impressionist greats such as Monet, Pissaro & Renoir, and has seen a resurgence recently with competitions in Europe.

Robert explains his passion for it. He said: “I love painting outside – it is such an exciting challenge. The shifting light and changing weather will always present a greater test to the artist than the safety of the studio can. For me this increases the sense of urgency, promoting a more instinctive reaction and vibrant result.”

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His results speak for themselves, witness his incredible winning painting ‘Norwich Market’.

Robert settled in Copthorne this year after 30 years living in Edinburgh.

He attended Edinburgh College of Art and has worked as a commercial artist with the National Trust Scotland, Diaggio, BP, Royal Bank of Scotland and Standard Life.

He paints in oil and watercolour and was featured in the 2014 Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the year competition and 2013 Sky Arts Portrait artist of the year.

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He has taught Life Drawing at Edinburgh Drawing School and also taught watercolour.

Robert is available for personal commissions and private tuition in life drawing, landscapes, watercolour and oil. He will also be holding group art classes, en plein air painting courses and Life Drawing in 2017.

For more details contact him on 07970 058893 or go to

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