Blackheath artist Robert Malherbe wins NSW Parliament "en plein air" painting prize

PRIDE OF PLACE IN PARLIAMENT: "Lithgow Wetlands" by Robert Malherbe is now part of NSW Parliament's permanent art collection. PHOTO: Supplied.

PRIDE OF PLACE IN PARLIAMENT: "Lithgow Wetlands" by Robert Malherbe is now part of NSW Parliament's permanent art collection. PHOTO: Supplied.

Blackheath artist Robert Malherbe’s painting of the The Lake Pillans wetlands at Lithgow won the $20,000 NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize last week.

Mr Malherbe came to Australia as a young boy from Mauritius, and now lives in the Mountains with his partner, Dana Rayson.

He’s been a finalist in the Plein Air Painting Prize a number of times, but it’s his impression of the Lithgow wetlands that has got him over the line.

PRIZE WINNER: Blackheath artist Robert Malherbe has taken out the 2016 NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize. PHOTO: Supplied (taken by Ona Janzen).

PRIZE WINNER: Blackheath artist Robert Malherbe has taken out the 2016 NSW Parliament Plein Air Painting Prize. PHOTO: Supplied (taken by Ona Janzen).

Mr Malherbe said he and his partner have found a number of inspiring subjects in recent trips to the town.

“I was looking at the Blast Furnace as a potential subject and then I noticed the wetlands, the sunlight around there and the tranquility,” he said.

“The fact that it’s this piece of nature surrounded by industry… I just thought ‘this is absolutely beautiful’.”

The painting will now become part of the permanent collection of the NSW Parliament.

Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle said the prize was a testament to the creative talent in the Blue Mountains.

“Mr Malherbe’s win reaffirms the importance and significance of our creative and artistic community here in the Mountains,” she said.