Art brings light, life, love for 70-year-old Masters student

Artist Robyne Peebles with one of her paintings

While creativity runs in Robyne Peebles’ family, she admits she was a late starter.

The 70-year-old will graduate with her Masters of Visual Art from Queensland College of Art Griffith University on Thursday 30 July – and says being in “the right place, at the right time, around the right people” was what led her to consider a return to study.

Some 18 years after she completed her Honours Degree in Fine Arts, Robyne found herself volunteering at the Gold Coast Art Gallery while an exhibition of works from QCA students was underway.

The chance timing led her to a discussion with Richard Blundell, an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the QCA who encouraged her to pursue her passion, and as they say, the rest is history.

Robyne explains that it is through her art that she aspires to find a rhythm of life in colour to elevate her spirit and reach a tranquil place of peace and joy that transcends all understanding and the limits of thought.

“During my Fine Arts degree I learned to comprehend what I read and looked at in nature, the beauty of flowers, their life cycles and their strength and growth and compared it to my own living, to see the beauty and balance of life,” Robyne says.

“One great thing about the university environment is that you have an exchange of ideas and a similar level of understanding and it is this that pushes us to the challenges we need to be stimulated by.”

Robyne, uneducated beyond primary school, devoted herself to helping others via diversional art therapy after completing her Honours in her early fifties.

Having spent much of her early childhood in a Salvation Army home with her twin sister, Robyne says her “attitude is one of gratitude,” – a theme that now resonates in her work.

“A lot of individuals and families owe their existence to the devoted people in those places who, for most part, encouraged residents to develop the resilience to tackle hard times.”

“I learned that story telling was a powerful tool, so I chose to use diversional art therapy to encourage others to express what they know, to change and to regain their self-esteem and rebuild their confidence.”

Read more at Southport Star.