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Take 5 with Robin Lyons

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By Brad Bowman

Basic bio

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Co-owner of Marsh’s Corner, Bethlehem

Louisville School of Art

Kentucky State University art program

Louisville native

How did you get interested in art?

It’s just something I was born with, I think. When I was a kid, I drew on everything. Not just the walls, I drew on the furniture. My mom had the five-and-dime pictures and I drew on those too. My dad tried to divert all that and gave me a big chalkboard. He was a schoolteacher. I must have had 500 different colors of chalk and I would spend hours drawing on the chalkboard instead of the walls or furniture.

Art is really a challenge. You know what you want in your mind and it’s a challenge to get it out. It doesn’t always work. People always say it must be relaxing and it’s not relaxing. It doesn’t stress me out, but it gets your mind off of everything else except that piece of art.

You do landscapes, portraits and silk clothing. Is there any medium or type of art you prefer?

I

really love abstract painting. Unfortunately, abstract doesn’t sell very well. So, I’ve done a lot of landscapes. I’ve done so many barns I was going to scream.

I would love to do sculpting, but I’ve never done it before.

I have done painted silk clothing, but I don’t anymore. You can’t stop the process when you paint and dye with silk. If you stop you will get hard lines or bleeding.

I do jewelry, like painted earrings and I also do miniatures. I do portraits too, but I like abstract painting. I do 3.5 by 2.5 inch art cards. I do small paintings of cats and I use (she shows me magnifying eye gear) these. I paint in the storefront, because the light is better there.

I’ve done large paintings. I had this painting that was 4.5 by 6 foot nude that I had to do for an art class at Kentucky State. I was required to take other classes and I had to carry it around with me from to other classes. I had a Spanish teacher that told me I had to cover it up while I was in his class.

Favorite artist or works?

Picasso. He’s everybody’s favorite. He’s a genius. I mean people look at Picasso and may say their three-year-old could do that and maybe they could, but can they? To do some of things he has done, you have to turn totally loose of what reality looks like and that’s not so easy to do.

A mistake people make when they paint is they want to paint exactly what they see, but they’re not painting what they see. They are painting what they think it should look like and it really messes up their paintings. It’s easy for me to do realist work, I guess I was taught to do that, but I can see the abstraction to it. You look at the lines and the form of what you are painting and people don’t do that. They look at a tree and see that it is green. When you do abstract painting, to me, it’s much more difficult.

Another one I like is Vincent Van Gogh. I like everything. I really do. There’s a line thogh. Some people just throw something on the canvas and call it art. The surrealist Salvador Dali, had an entourage around him and he had his crazy mustache and they got him a lot of attention— but he’s also a good artist. My son told me I should dig a hole that I could fit in and tell everyone I live in it and they will think my artwork is great. I think that’s funny.

Why did you continue painting into adulthood?

I think because I always wanted to get better. I strive and strive to perfect it. You will do that your whole life and I think any artist does it. It doesn’t stop me when I make a bad painting. I’ve painted my entire life.

You have to sell your artwork to feed your habit. I sell my work on my Etsy site: www.etsy.com/shop/LyonsStudio. I’ve sold my art to people in Israel, Portugal, Brazil and Switzerland.

What satisfaction do you get from

painting?

It’s something that I have accomplished and it’s visual. I’m a visual person. It came out of me and other people enjoy it and that gives me a sense of accomplishment. When someone buys your painting, that gives you a lot of satisfaction.

Unless I go blind, I will never quit painting. It’s just a part of me that I have to get out.