Since she could walk, Robin Thornhill has been an artist. As long as she can remember, Robin has been drawing, painting or making sculptures. “I would spend hours copying cartoons from books or making sculptures from objects I would collect. My mother would often say that no book or piece of paper was safe if a pen or pencil was within my reach!” says Robin.
Now, Robin is a pastel and oil painter. While having experience in many mediums, Robin feels as though using pastels and oils allow her to best connect with her artwork. “They give me the freedom to continually explore the relationship of both positive and negative spaces while being able to add many layers, which help me to create the softness that I aim for in my work. The feel of the paint, the sound of pastels as they scratch across the sanded paper and the smell of warmed beeswax in the encaustics are some of the things that bring me closer to my work.”
Even though art has always been a part of Robin’s life, she didn’t always know she wanted to be an artist. “I just didn’t know at that time that being an artist was a possibility or that art would eventually fit perfectly into my life.” Despite having taken up painting murals in homes and businesses, Robin didn’t find her calling until her friend asked her to join a landscape painting class. After taking that first class something seemed to click for Robin. She immediately joined the NAA, wanting to be a part of a “supportive art community” where she “would have a connection with other artists. I knew that I would learn so much there,” she told me.
Ten years later, Robin is now a member of the Band of Brushes, which is an NAA group, as well as many other organizations. These include being a signature member of the Pastel Society of America (PSA), being a juried member of Oil Painters of America (OPA), the National Association of Women Artists (NAWA) NY and MA Chapters and being a member of the Experimental Art Group of Rockport.
Robin is an accomplished artist, and she lends this success to always being able to learn and grow. “One thing that I have learned is not to think of my work as being too precious which seems to inhibit me from exploring and testing my boundaries. This can be difficult, though, because when I create art, I am exposing my personal emotions and vulnerabilities for public judgment.” Even though she says it can be hard, letting her emotions come through in her paintings is how she makes each one unique. “If I am feeling content and calm I seem to focus on more traditional landscapes or skyscapes. If I am feeling energetic I will break out the big canvases and go a bit wild with paint and a trowel and just see where it takes me. This is one of the best parts about being an artist!”
Robin’s dedication to art also comes in the form of teaching classes at the NAA. “I hope to inspire others to begin or continue their own art journeys,” she says of why she decided to teach. Besides teaching classes, Robin is currently displaying her work in Boston. The event is titled Radar, and is “a visual interpretation of how humans are using up the world's resources.” Robin wishes to bring awareness to climate change through this event and show the many dimensions of climate change from the past to the present.
Want more of Robin? Check out her website www.robinthornhill.com, or her two instagram accounts; robinthornhillart and robinthornhillabstracts!
Bella Nadeau is a Freshman at The Governor’s Academy and the author of the NAA 2018 “Meet Our Members” articles.