Robert rarely experimented as boldly with color as in this sketch. The notes are most instructive of his use of the sketchbook to generate ideas. He considers the sun as a symbol of life, then notes how his design treats form and background. He considers this design in other media, such as on glass, stained glass, even on a tablecloth for a round table. He then makes a literary connection with Baudelaire. He concludes with other associations: his sun design reminds him of an eye, a spider or bug and a satellite in outer space. In 1991 Robert designed the cover of his sister Janet’s book of poetry, Partnered with the Sun. The design was geometrical and abstract, a mandala for meditation, as well as an energy field producing an op art effect. The sun is connected to Robert’s exploration of the mirage theme, which asks the question is art an illusion or something that generates symbols to add meaning to life. This line of thinking greatly enhances Robert’s later treatment of landscapes, especially in the Seal Upon Thy Heart series. Landscapes become more symbolic than descriptive, more stylized and reduced in their number of elements. When figures enter this symbolic landscape, the effect is to be immersed in a field of energy, both stimulating and puzzling, and greater than oneself.
Study for Sun