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Royden O Gibbs:

Nature lover turns legendary painter

Nearly every successful artist finds at one time or another in his life that a legend has been growing up around his name. And most legends have some sort of foundation. In fact, Royden Gibbs discovered his fascination for Buddhist temples was his particular subject. This is how he analyses it. "There is a long history from the time of Sinhalese Kings about the temples. Their old architecture with intricate designs of traditional art on the walls and the sites have attracted me to draw these Buddhist temples."

Almost everything he has done and the way in which he has done, have origins which can be clearly traced from the time he started painting.

Since his school days at St. Peter's College, Colombo, he was influenced by his teachers and associates to pursue his passion for art. Still as a student he joined the Amarasekera School of Art, owned by the doyen of painting the late Mudliyar A.C.G.S. Amarasekera.

Under his apprenticeship he mastered the rudiments of drawing and painting colour mixing, line drawing, perspective, composition and water colour. After completing his studies he work in an advertising agency as a commercial artist. The training paved the way to develop his art skills. With the passage of time he blossomed into a full fledged commercial artist, where he got the opportunity to work in many advertisement agencies as an art director and creative director.

At the age of 16 he was the only artist who did a portrait of the great master Gate Mudliyar A.C.G.S. Amarasekera and the painting was autographed by him. He has exhibited his work at the Ceylon Society of Arts and won the 1st and 2nd prizes. This gave him an opening to participate in many art exhibitions throughout the island and abroad. The 70s marked the beginning of a most eventful period of his life, travels, commissions, association with wealthy businessmen, bankers, excursions into the beauties of ancient history, literature and art.

Royden is a nature lover and he loves to paint outdoor scenes. His travels around the island brought him valuable experience to improve his skills in his particular field. Royden's upcountry landscapes exemplify the awesome beauty of nature which many collectors found so attractive in his work.

His pictures come into their own and paintings done of Pusulpitiya Raja Maha Vihara, Panduwas Nuwara Raja Maha Vihara and Kiri Vehera are of high quality worthy of their fine setting. The Galle Fortress, the Light House, a morning at the bird sanctuary in Attidiya, and the suspension bridge over Walawe Ganga at Weliharanawa off Balangoda were turned into picture postcards made available exclusively to AFLAC International for their fund - raising project.

His work was exhibited at Alliance Francaise de Colombo and Kandy and the French Embassy in Colombo has promoted his work in France. Royden is one of the artists who has done a painters journey through the land of palm trees and landmines in the war zone of Jaffna. In Munamale he did paintings of Bhikkhus burial grounds called 'Kandrodai' which has an ancient history, and the ancient hill capital of Kandy with its white old mansions and the cute Tan Pita Vihara.

He has experimented with oil acrylic pastel and charcoal with a variety of techniques. Royden's proudest moment was the occasion when the 'Royal Golf Club' selected one of his paintings to be hung at the new wing. He has also produced beautiful sketches and pictures of wildlife in pastel. He now spends his time teaching students what he has learned and earned as a successful artist.

 

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