Posts Tagged ‘Robyn Smith’

Mel & Bernice Strawn, Salida, Colorado, USA

Mel and Bernice Strawn are a young couple whose entire lives have been dedicated to art. He taught at universities in Michigan, Colorado and, I think, Chicago. She is a painter and sculptor with a long trajectory of incredibly imaginative and delicate work. When Mel retired from teaching they made their home outside Salida, Colorado, high in the Rockies, where they still live. Mel has the honor of being one of the world’s very first digital artists.

He and B came to the Gallinero and my studio in February of 2011 to work on solarplate prints. Mel had already done some solar work but, tireless researcher that he is, he wanted to delve further. Working with them was a delight and a learning experience for me as Mel questioned and experimented every step of the way, while B did what she is: pure creativity.

We’re still in touch via email and Mel is still experimenting with new solar plates. (The manufacturers should supply him with plates and pay him for  publishing his findings!) Thanks for coming, Mel and B. It was a pleasure to meet and work with you. You’re two wonderful role models for the creative life.

Here’s a longer article on the Strawns from the Colorado Central Magazine.

From the visitors’ book: “My husband, Mel, and I have stepped out of the cold February weather of Colorado to enjoy the sun on the little deck to draw, work on prints and sip a little afternoon wine.  The view across the valley to the south dips to the River Genil  and then up the steep terraced hillside carpeted with green and glowing with blooming almond trees. The Booths have cultivated an exotic garden here which immediately captivated me.  The local nopal, prickly pear cactus clumps, are fascinating and I did several prints based on those forms. In Maureen’s studio you can try out different approaches to printmaking and with her help you can find one that relates to the direction of your art. Maureen and Mike are very generous in their concerns for your comfort and the success of your art goals. We couldn’t have asked for more caring and attentive hosts.

Bernice and Mel Strawn, March 2011


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Robyn Smith artist

Our friend, Robyn Smith, is so vital, so fun, so down to earth, and such a world bounder she could only be Australian. She turned up at my studio a couple of weeks ago in rather a dither. “I’ve been invited to present a piece in the St. Petersburg (Russia) Biennale and I’ve only got two weeks to get it done. Can I work in your studio? Do you want to help me prepare it?”

Robyn’s association with Russia is not accidental. She began studying the Russian language in Australia in the mid 90’s and made her first trip there in 1997. She was immediately taken with St. Petersburg, made friends there, stayed in touch with them. A few years later Robyn’s Russian professor in Australia introduced her to an artist with a studio in St. Petersburg who offered to share it with her. She ended up living about half of every year there. She says, “I always feel welcome and respected as an artist in Russia, much moreso than in my own country. Since the time of the Russian revolution and until quite recently artists were considered citizens who contributed something to the country and were treated as such. Some of that respect still remains.”

Robyn’s diptych, a tribute to Pushkin, is finished and she’s on her way to St. Petersburg with it under her arm.

Come back soon, Robyn.

Here’s what we were listening to: http://youtu.be/Hphwfq1wLJs

Dates: 15 April – 15 June 2014
Location: National Russian Library in St. Petersburg, Russia
Curator: Inna Grinchel
This international exhibition in the new large exhibition hall of the National Russian Library in St. Petersburg (Moskowskij prospect 165) is dedicated to the Pushkin poem “Eugenij Onegin.” A concurrent exhibition of artists’ books will be held in the Exhibition hall of the City Sculpture Museum. Its opening will be on International Book Day– 23 April.

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