Painting en plein air in Tuscany June 2016

Following her artist-in-residence in Tuscany, Rebecca Rath shows her stunning, captivating landscapes in Gallery Belimage in Valangin. The beautiful and the foreboding that is present in her paintings direct the viewer to contemplate Nature Sublime in all its facets.

There’s a connection between man and nature, present at all times yet often unseen. Rath paints her landscapes with the express purpose of creating an awareness of this connection. Unique in style, yet reminiscent of the works of Turner, Constable, but also of writers such as Shelley, Keats, and Muir, Rath’s aim is not just to show a ‘pretty picture’, but to create a specific experience in the viewer.

 Says Rath:

"The modern discourse between religion and scientific exploration has all but blinded man to the innate and inherent connection we all have with nature. It’s as if all our knowing and understanding has made us forget that we are all an integral part of nature and existence.

 If my paintings are often dramatic or foreboding, just the way the sky looks before or during a storm, it’s because I wish for the viewer to experience that same intensity I see. I want the viewer to take a moment and reflect both on the minuteness of being human, as well as on the fact that being human is a marvellous and awe-inspiring reality."

With her exhibition ‘Various Storms and Saints’, Rath hopes to inspire viewers to reflect on how, despite modern life, in essence very little has changed. Nature Sublime still affects us, shares its beauty with us, and should not be taken for granted.

 Rath holds a Bachelor Fine Arts Honours, COFA UNSW. Winner of many awards in Australia and internationally for her photography, drawing and painting, she has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australia. Her work has also been exhibited in Italy, the USA and Hong Kong and features in many public and private collections. The exhibition at Gallery Belimage in Valangin is the first opportunity for Swiss art-lovers to experience her breathtaking work in real life.

 She lives with her family on a vineyard in Pokolbin, NSW, Australia. While an academic with a strong philosophical bent, she’s also a down-to-earth person who wants nothing more than for others to experience the joy of art and nature.

Nature Sublime, soft pastel on Fabriano paper, 56 x 76 cm image size

The exhibition in Valangin runs from August 10 -  September 4. The gallery hours are Wednesday - Sunday, 15.00 to 18.00. On view are her most recent works, made this June in Tuscany plus previous work created on her vineyard in Australia. Art lovers looking to experience the effect of inspired meaningful art are cordially invited take this unique opportunity to visit the gallery and, hopefully reconnect with nature the way Ms. Rath wishes.

 For more information about the exhibition, contact the gallery’s director Ms. Vetterli by way of the details provided below.

 For interviews, images or further insight into Ms. Rath’s art, please contact her directly at or view her website

Françoise Vetterli
Place de la Collégiale 2, 2042 Valangin, Switzerland
032 753 09 74/ 032 504 20 42

What are values in painting?

In my last post I asked the question: What is a good painting? I didn’t speak about the technical points of painting and drawing-  composition, value, colour, mark making - as I personally feel the intent of the work is paramount.

Yet, like a baking a good cake, all these other components are really important too. There is the beautiful dance between, colour, composition, marks and value which help create a harmonious artwork.

My friend and fellow artist, Jon Hayes, and I have recently been discussing the importance of ‘values’ in a good painting. He feels (and rightly so) that if the values of a painting are not there then the painting will not be successful.

Values are an interesting subject and I don’t mean the cost of an artwork!

 A value is the light – darkness of the work.

Take away the colour/hue/chroma of the work and you are left with a grisaille or grey scale of the work.

Up until now what eluded me was not the idea of black-white but the importance of the balance.

At art school, a part from drawing and painting, I studied photography. 6 years in a black and white darkroom helped me understand 50 shades of grey! The success of an image hinged on the journey of either black or white in an image. You only have black and white to help with the composition. No colour to distract you.

Nature Sublime 2016, soft pastel on Fabriano paper, 56 x 76 cm
Galerie Belimage

Nature Sublime 2016, soft pastel on Fabriano paper, 56 x 76 cm
* TONAL version

Grey scale

Grey scale

When you turn a colour image into black and white, all you see are shapes and tonal values. If the tonal journey of either one is not there, then the image will not be successful.

This means, even if you have a high (light) key or low (dark) key painting, you must include a journey of the corresponding value to help the eye travel through the work.

It doesn’t mean you need a perfect balance of all greys but a journey of dark or light to help the eye stay inside and not travel outside the work. (This is also of the utmost importance when drawing with charcoal.)

Tonal values are important for composition because they not only help create depth (3D), they support the focal point as the eye is naturally drawn towards light tones.

There isn’t a day when I don’t learn something more about art making.

I hope this has helped many people out there who are still scratching their heads about values and their importance.

Thank you Jon and thank YOU for sharing this journey with me.

Please feel free to like and comment below.

Yours in art,

Bec x

“Various Storms and Saints: paintings and drawings from Hunter Valley, Australia and Tuscany, Italy” is currently on at Galerie Belimage, Switzerland.
Please view Australian works here.
Contact the gallery for more information: