Robert Ardill – a brief biography
I was born in 1948 at Vacoas, on the island of Mauritius. My father was Irish and my mother French-Mauritian. We lived, with my brother and three sisters, in a lovely colonial bungalow next door to my grandparents, who had the big house that they shared with my aunt’s family. The two houses were on a large estate with a river, woods and sugar-cane fields. As children we were free to roam anywhere we wished on this lovely tropical island, with its vivid colors, beautiful beaches and clear blue sea. But the pictures that my father showed me of Ireland with its stone walls and donkeys and thatched cottages enchanted me totally, and I knew that I would live there someday.
And so it happened, as I came to Ireland to study, met the love of my life and have lived here more or less continuously ever since.
I’ve always loved watercolors, over and above every other medium, and, about 25 years ago, I took up watercolor painting more seriously … and I have never looked back. I still have the box that my father made for me, back then, to hold my tubes of paint ;). In 2002 I retired from a company I had founded, and since then my life has been about my family; painting; and, with my wife Cathy, photography.
What I discovered a few years ago, was the use of Photoshop for painting. This initially came about as a result of our photography, but I soon realised that Photoshop has a very powerful brush engine that is capable of far more than the sort of retouching that I had used it for up to then. Of course there was nothing new in this and, like others, I dabbled in acrylic-type painting, pastels etc. But what came as an absolute revelation was the discovery that the brushes can be used to produce very realistic watercolor paintings, given the right tools and techniques.