Presenting the history of American Art as seen through the eyes of Provincetown

Rob DuToit



Rob Du Toit has a long history of showing in Provincetown. DuToit’s art is often subtle, with hints of light peeking through the clouds and forests. It is also sensual, and deep, and serious, and celebrates the passion of our New England environment. Like many artists, he has come to what looks deceptively simple through a lengthy process of training and then letting go. His palette often uses what would be considered Impressionist colors. But his execution and continued use of some dark tones and blacks give his recent work a muscular Expressionist look. They are bold in the way that watercolors can be bold. When the artist commits to a line, he commits. There is very little rethinking or reworking. This technique was probably absorbed from his love of working with Chinese pen and ink, a medium he started when he was eight years old. He presents starkly beautiful works based on this freedom.

Art writer Sue Harrison has observed: "DuToit’s paintings offer a fresh spontaneity while incorporating his classical training with layering an underglaze. They reflect a “sensitively for place that is reminiscent of work by Ross Moffett. And as in Moffett's work, you can feel the sweep of the land and the solidity of the hunkered down hills shaped by eons of wind off the water. DuToit's Cape landscapes capture a land of wildness and subdued beauty, of promise, but just as equally, of challenge." One of DuToit's main strengths, Harrison says, is that he "captures the dark and light inherent in the drama of the Cape. The light changes radically with the seasons. In the fall it takes on a brooding quality that he depicts so clearly and then in the spring, spontaneous touches of clear color suddenly are reflected in the sky and hidden ponds. He is true to the physical realities while also touching on the underlying emotional content." DuToit describes his brush stroke as “the expression of breath and presence.”

He often paints outdoors, preferring the early morning or afternoon light and the largely barren seasons of spring and fall for their open vistas and visual access to distance. “The light is so changing and open,” he says. His brushes are like extensions of his arms as he stands in nature and quickly captures what he sees. When he gets back to the studio there is often little left to do to complete the canvas. In the winter, when it is too cold for paint to flow, he goes outside and makes brief charcoal sketches that he might later replicate in oils and color.

Rob DuToit, like many Provincetown artists, came to town in a roundabout way and found a way to stay. During the summer he runs a framing shop out of his studio, and during the winter he focuses completely on his art. Early on, DuToit followed a pre-med course, but before long, knew he wanted to be an artist, earning his BFA from the University of New Hampshire. His graduate work was done with Paul Resika at Parson’s School of Design in New York.