John Robinson retired in 2000. Since then he has returned to a love that his has had since 1973. Robinson, a local painter, has turned his talent as a painter into a full time pastime and has the awards to prove it.
For a recent meeting of the Sherman Art League, Robinson hosted a class on black and white concepts in art in November at the Forester Art Complex Building at Austin College. Robinson also won third place in the fall SAL art show.
“Just about every year since I started entering after I retired, I have won one award or another at the SAL show,” Robinson said. “I have also entered the Magnolia Festival in Durant a few times. I have won several awards at that festival. I have also been in the Red River Valley International Art Show. I have also entered other shows to validate work and get feedback about my art.”
Robinson started doing art in 1973. He said that he only did it for a few years before his day job got too busy and he had to stop.
“Then I did not start painting again until 1980,” he said. “I was just playing around.”
Though Robinson took a watercolor class that he really liked at the time, he still did not taking art seriously until after he retired in 2000.
“It was in 2005 that I really started making art again,” he said. “That’s when I started doing it full time.”
Robinson’s mediums of self expression were watercolor and wall paints.
“Wall paints are more dynamic and saturated,” he said. “I did a class with watercolor and rice. It made it more saturated, but not as much as wall paints. I started with oils, and I really liked the medium. There is a beautiful texture and bright colors. It is more bristle.”
In 2006, Robinson began exhibiting his work.
“I really like artists that paint with different themes,” he said. “Artists that paint with themes like landscape, I will study and try to incorporate elements from their work into my own. My friend had a piece in the Breckenridge, Texas, art show. It was a sky scene with dust in the background.”
The image was so dynamic to Robinson that the thick and bold colors stood out, and he had to learn more.
“It absorbed a lot of colors,” he said. “I really enjoyed studying the piece. It was really nice.”
For those interested in getting into art, Robinson said the key is to do just as he did with his friend’s piece: study it.
“Find a teacher and get a beginners art set,” he said. “Take from the teacher and find an artist that you gravitate towards. Find a theme you like and stick with it.”
Being able to produce art, Robinson said, is a learned skill.
“Art is seeing the artistic nature within something and recreating it,” he said.
Some of his favorite artists are Joanna Arnett and Sherry McGraw. He also said that he likes Kay Franklin and David Leffel.
“I have a lot of themes that I really enjoy,” Robinson said. “I have painted most of my grandchildren and some of them a couple of times. My grandsons really like baseball so I have painted them with a baseball theme.”
Robinson said that he is still developing his skills in portraiture, and every now and then he likes to dabble in abstract painting so that he can play with colors.
“I actually study my materials for painting from the different travels that I have been on,” he said of how his creative process takes over. “If I have a sunset theme, I study my sunset photography. Another theme I like is canyon themes and outdoor scenes in Canada.”
These types of pieces are the most challenging and exciting for Robinson because he gets to work directly with his subject matter by being outside and taking in the colors and landscape first hand.
“One thing that I noticed is that I see things that others do not always see, ” he said. “It may be how the light hits a building or how the sun light hits the highway. It is like when you go see a movie and the connection you have with it as well as the feelings that it leaves with you or the feeling you get when you think back on it. That is how art is.”
Robinson is the treasurer on the Sherman Art League board.
“One thing that is good about this area is that artists really get to interact with each other when they previously would not have had the opportunities,” he said. “No matter the medium, you can meet someone that is interested in the same things, even if it is not necessarily the same subject. Interaction helps the person nurture their own skills and to develop an interest in the arts. People are quantitative, and it is good to have self expression.”
Robinson recommends that people visit the art league even if they do not consider themselves artists. He said the league is a means that people can use to learn about just what art is.
“It gives another way people can look at the world,” he said.