Robin Robinson’s Peachtree City home is a tribute to her craft. Everywhere you look there is art: floral, modern, surrealist, watercolor, mixed media. She dabbles in all genres, open to any project and never turning down an opportunity to put a brush to canvas.
Robin was born the eighth child of nine who all lived in a small house in Highland Heights, Kentucky, just south of Cincinnati. Of her siblings, she has two sisters who were born with a natural artistic ability, but Robin feels she was not, though she’s always been an art appreciator. “I took one art class in ninth grade,” she says, “and I wasn’t Picasso, so I thought, ‘Well, I guess I just don’t get to be an artist.’ I thought if you tried to start on something like this and didn’t already have the talent, then you were just spinning your wheels.”
Robin herself was a stay-at-home mom for most of her childrens’ young lives, volunteering at school and helping them with their activities. But when her daughter, Jill, the younger of her two kids, turned 16, there was a shift. “She was old enough to take care of herself and my son was old enough to take care of himself… I had a secret life dream that I’d be an artist one day, but I didn’t tell anybody that. My main goal for the previous 20 years had been to raise children who could be responsible adults. And they are very responsible adult people. But I looked around and thought, ‘That’s it, then. I’ve done my job. There’s nothing left.’”
“I had this life changing experience,” she adds, “and I got this realization that if I wanted to be an artist, even if that’s my secret little dream, then I’m going to have to create art. It sounds really simple and basic, but I’d never really thought about it before…that you have to actually do the thing that you want to become.”
She set a new goal and started making one painting every day, just doodles and other small pieces. She accumulated quite a bit of art over time and began leaving her art on the golf cart paths around Peachtree City. Her project called #IFoundRandomActsofArt had her leaving art wherever she traveled. She’s seen people post the hashtag with her art found in Italy and Spain, and of course, many in Peachtree City.
Slowly, over time and with tons of practice, Robin started getting better and gaining confidence. She started making larger pieces, and creating self portraits because she says, “I figured if I was going to mess it up, I would only be messing me up. But they turned out pretty good!”
She learned different techniques by mimicking portions of and making smaller versions of other artists’ works. “I do make mistakes quite often, but if it’s just something for me, I just go with it. If it’s integral to the design of the piece for a commission, then it’s just paint… and I can paint over it.”
Robin doesn’t believe in “bad art,” and that each piece is simply an expression of an individual artist. Although she does occasionally put her own work in an “art time out corner,” when it’s not coming out the way it looks in her head. Sometimes it’s good to take a break and reevaluate a piece. “It’s like it’s in trouble,” she says, “and I have to get to the point where I’m satisfied with it not matching up with what’s in my head, and I can move forward from there.”
Now that she’s a commissioned artist, Robin’s clients show her the space they want to hang a piece, or pictures and examples of what they like, and she creates a custom piece to suit the buyer. Most of her sales are done through the Internet and social media. “I have new art (and demonstrations) on Instagram every single day.”
As a self-taught artist, she loves to encourage other women to try their hand. “I think a lot of us are in the same boat where we think ‘I’m a professional, or a mom, and so I can’t turn around and become an artist. One of the great things about being a woman is that we can have many different careers during our lives. You can retire from one thing and take up another thing wholeheartedly for another 15 years.”
When she has a friend who doesn’t know where to start, she gives them a tin of watercolors and a brush and says, “You’re ready to go! All you need is some colors, and the will to do it. It’s just a matter of not judging yourself too harshly in the beginning and enjoying that you’re learning something new.”
Last year, Robin was a featured artist for the Southern Hands Artist Studio Tour during which guests visited her house, and those of other local artists, to take a look inside her home and studio. She demonstrated some of her skills and shared her knowledge and insights into an artist’s world.
Robin’s art is featured at Dogwood Gallery (Tyrone) and Printshop Gallery (Greenville), and she’s the resident artist at Eastbrook Community in Peachtree City. You can also find her at robinrobinsonartist.com and on Facebook and Instagram at @RobinRobinsonArtist.