Keyword: friends

Friend with guitar and patient thumb

Friend with guitar and patient

Guitars come out at a party or around a campfire; it’s a little startling to see one in a hospital. So when it happens, there’s a sense that the clinical austerity has been breached and friendship prevails. Robert had great

Friends & Music thumb

Friends & Music

Robert loved music and had his own radio show at Acadia University, as did his girlfriend Heather, who is pictured here as the singing figure on the left. Heather is one of three women making and recording their own music. The tape

Insomnia thumb


Robert made several studies for this image. It began as an upbeat image of friendship with young people making music together. The finished work has become a moody portrait of Heather MacKinnon and her roommate, Annie Forest. The two students

Portrait of Beulah Murphy thumb

Portrait of Beulah Murphy

Beulah Murphy was the owner of Mrs. Murphy’s Kitchen, a well-known health food restaurant in Halifax. She started the restaurant after she was diagnosed with cancer. Though physically small and frail-looking, she was nonetheless a strong, inspirational figure, running a successful business,

Two women and a bird thumb

Two women and a bird

Robert’s sketchbooks include, along with studies and ideas for paintings, more relaxed drawings of friends. He is able to draw faces using very few contour lines, suggesting forms through delicate cross-hatching. The women seem to have been caught almost by

Good Luck thumb

Good Luck

In his series on lovers, A Seal Upon Thine Heart, Robert often showed couples facing one another in profile, with one face partly in shadow and the other illuminated almost in reverse. As in Baroque art, the shadows and glints of

The Conversation thumb

The Conversation

Robert’s self-portrait with fellow artist and best friend Sean McQuay is set in a city and shows the recently graduated art students debating whether to stay in Nova Scotia or to pursue adventures and careers elsewhere. A diagonal road stretches between

Visitors thumb


Friendship was always important to Robert, who faithfully kept every letter, card and note ever written to him. Study notes show how the artist planned the image Visitors to be divided into three sections, right, left and center, each conveying

River thumb


Robert took photos at a Macrobiotic group picnic and the figures in the river suggested a return to health through harmony with nature and community. We see two stages of immersion, as the man treds water, half in and half