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Robert Evans’ image-making skills bring delicacy and balance to powerful painting

Jan-Carlos Kucharek

A beautiful and atmospheric oil painting with a poignant back story wins Robert Evans second place, practitioner in 2024 Eye Line

Design Centre at Carsington Water Oil paint on panel, applied by brush,  450 × 250mm.
Design Centre at Carsington Water Oil paint on panel, applied by brush, 450 × 250mm.

Second place, Practitioner
Robert Evans
Evans Vettori Architects, Matlock, Derbyshire

Submissions in oil are few and far between in the history of Eye Line. Perhaps it’s because, out of the hands of Dutch Masters, there’s a looseness to the medium that runs counter to the architect’s usual desire for pin-point accuracy. But this year saw works in oil recognised in both categories; here in architect Robert Evans’ depiction of his own firm’s design, nestled in the Derbyshire Dales.  

The evident poignancy of the work was reflected in the story of the Jewellery Design Centre, where after years of planning and fundraising, the founder of the company died, leaving the family to see the project through to completion in his absence. The work here was painted by Evans for the client’s memorial service – ‘the last time I saw Chris he was smiling on the balcony overlooking the reservoir’.

‘I thought the work beautifully atmospheric without having even read the backstory, having both delicacy and balance,’ noted Kucharek. ‘It’s conventional but quite beautiful,’ echoed Wigglesworth. ‘The colour palette is muted but observed; there’s a real sense of place to the piece.’ Chou agreed: ‘The story really is reflected in the tone of the painting. I love the way the building blends into the landscape and its use of colour. The image-making skill is amazing, with darkness and contrast giving the painting real power'.

‘When the building is completed this autumn the painting will be transferred to its new location in the main atrium overlooking Carsington Water,’ notes Evans by way of a post-script. ‘Its aim was to celebrate the bravery of our client in achieving his bold vision, while expressing the sadness of his passing away before its completion.’

Eye Line award winning drawings from this and previous years