Forest Light

"Forest Light 1"
(1997, 20"x20", oil on canvas)

Painting by Hugh Roberts with orange dabs

Spark by Hugh Roberts

(2006, acrylic and paper on canvas)

Bidding Farewell to Painter Hugh Roberts

Hugh Roberts (b. 1951) died on January 4, 2010. He was a fine carpenter by trade and a gifted Painter of Light—each of the three works depicted at left has a unique expressive style, but all are focused on a core of light that draws the viewer in, as a moth to flame. Reds, yellows, oranges, as well as copper and gold leaf, are sometimes grounded with flashes of black, brown, blue and green in the last decade or so of his work. If not actually three-dimensional, as are a multitude of mixed-media pieces, even the most abstract of his painted canvases possesses a great depth of dimension.

Hugh himself was multidimensional, as his family and friends attested at a memorial celebration on January 30. His broad knowledge of art, music, religion, language, and other topics from the sublime to the ridiculous—as well as a deliciously wicked sense of humor—endeared him to several people who spoke of Hugh as one of their best friends. Long talks over a beer or a bottle of wine, and even over the phone late at night, will be treasured memories for many who came to say goodbye.

May Hugh's golden spirit help to guide us all safely home!


Sand in the hinge
of a slowly swinging gate,
the fricative moan
and its taunting, false lament.

A landscape beckons
with radiant allure.
A field opens
and reveals its expanse.

Its earth is tender,
with a tendency to crumble,
to cleave and yield to
the darkness and its depths—

an abyss, into which things
fall and disappear.
The world is vast and
not easily encompassed.

The spirit realm
is even more immense
yet we can take in its extent
with just one glimpse.

We see figures bending,
tumbling into softness.
They loosely form
a group in middle distance.

They are together, yet apart,
They don't move forward,
with intent. They drift
across a field more like dust,

in swirls and eddies,
a fine cone rising
and descending, all at once.
They are, effectively,

a wandering shower of grace.
We taste them as a residue
of salt upon our lips. Their
presence is as vivid as the air.

And when they leave,
everything is altered.
We feel the wind and light
as information on our skin.

Their departure reveals
the illusion of appearance,
They did not leave,
they turned and disappeared.

The dry hinge moans.
This landscape shimmers
and the spirit realm is
rich with love and feeling.

Copyright 2010, Gallery Walk, Brattleboro, Vermont

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