From her window as a child, Robin Braun could look beyond the grassy yard out to the Chesapeake Bay. The water, its tides and artifacts, would fascinate her from then on. Today an accomplished artist, Braun is best known for her fine, small paintings of the ocean, rivers and marshes, and the insects and bees that live in their grassy midst. She also paints scenes of farmland and rivers viewed from her studio in Southern Albemarle County, Virginia.
“The water and high tides were deeply embedded in me at an early age,” says Braun, a native of Annapolis, Maryland. “I was attracted to the light play, the glittering and shimmering as well as the storms. The ocean is never far from my thoughts. I still dream about it three or four nights a week.”
Braun is now working on a series of paintings of marshes and bays set in Virginia’s “stunningly beautiful” Northern Neck. The works will be shown in September at the Page Bond Gallery in Richmond.
Before receiving her MFA in painting from the University of Iowa in 1997, Braun attended the San Francisco Art Institute and worked as an assistant to the Curator of Architecture and Design at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In Iowa, she also worked with the curator at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. She particularly remembers the impact of a show on Victorian fairy paintings: “I loved the close up, intricate view of the ground and grasses, the magical settings of leaves and acorns and fairies. My work is similar without the fairies.”
While Braun concedes that her subjects have not dramatically differed in the 14 years she’s been a professional painter, she feels her skills have changed, offering her more options.
Braun also credits the strong influence of masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci and Hieronymous Bosch. In da Vinci’s The Madonna of the Rocks, she finds “all the intriguing elements—the earthly close up and the void, like the abyss, with a smoky landscape in the distance.” In Bosch, she admires “the fascinating microcosm, the technical mastery and crazy inventiveness ahead of his time.”
Her work has been shown from the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, Iowa, the Churchill Gallery in Newburyport, Massachusetts to the Gallery Saint Martin in Philadelphia. The Philadelphia Inquirer critic praised her paintings as “exquisite images that recall in miniature the sublime landscapes of the mid 19th century.” The art critic of The Philadelphia Weekly wrote “Robin Braun’s work is filled with lush tropical scenes reminiscent of Rousseau’s magical dream world, minus the sleeping gypsy.”
Braun’s miniature, magical paintings can been seen on her website, robinbraunart.com, and at Chroma Projects in Charlottesville, VA.
You can read more at our related blog about Robert Browing and Robin Braun’s collaborative art show: Creative collaboration…
–Elizabeth Howard, Art EditorShare this post with your friends.