Sunday, October 13, 2019

Ekphrasis - Where art meets poetry

© Robin Edmundson, 'Goose Pond' #530, watercolor, 10 x 14 inches.  $375. 
Available at The Venue on Grant St. in Bloomington, Indiana

A new season is upon us and change is in the air as the larger cycles of nature turn, turn, turn.  The more things change, the more they stay the same.

I was reminded of the larger cycles of life recently when I was invited to participate in Ekphrasis, a show whose purpose is to pair poets and paintings.  The poet has to write a piece inspired by the painting, without knowing any of the background of the piece.  On the day, the poet recites the piece and then the artist talks briefly about the inspiration for the painting.   What a gloriously fun idea!

Painting and poetry have come full circle in my family.  My grandmother, Emily G. Leisz,  was a gifted poet - and a painter - and she would have loved the idea of Ekphrasis.  I'll be thinking of her when I talk about the inspiration for my piece [above].  I wonder if any of my future family will become a painter or a poet. 

The Ekphrasis presentation is Sunday, Oct 20, 2019 at 6:00pm at the Venue on Grant St. in Bloomington, Indiana. 
P.S.  My current show 'Not Far Afield' is hanging at the Vault at Gallery Mortgage [121 E 6th St. Bloomington, Indiana] until October 29.  Gallery hours are M-F, 9-5.  If you get a chance to see it, I'd love to hear your comments.  

P.P.S.  The truth is that I'm a poet, too.   I have no illusions that I'm any good at it, but it sure is fun.  You can read my poetry HERE.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Solo Exhibition October 2-29, Bloomington, Indiana

Robin Edmundson:  Not Far Afield

October 2-29, 2019
The Vault at Gallery Mortgage

121 E 6th St.
Bloomington, Indiana

Opening reception: Friday, October 4, 2019
5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Gallery hours: M-F 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Please join me at the opening reception!  I'd love to say hello and see what you've been up to lately.  We'll have drinks, treats, great art and even better conversation.   

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The First Lesson

Learning how to paint echinacea

I'm taking a class called RAW by Amanda Grace right now on art journaling.  It's designed for women in recovery and the whole focus of the class is about allowing ourselves to be our whole selves, authentically, without judgement.   I'm spending a lot of time identifying the stories that my mind tells me.  It's been great.  And hard.  And amazing.  And terrifying.  And great.   Really great. 

We're in the second week of the class now and in our weekly zoom call, Amanda told a story about wanting to learn how to play tennis when she was a child.   She showed up to the first lesson and the first thing she learned was...

that she didn't know how to play tennis.  

That principle right there was totally worth the price of admission for me.  

I do that all the time.  

I want to learn something and so I take a class, or get a book or whatever, and the first thing I learn is that I don't know how to do the thing.

Which surprises me.  Because deep down, I'm hoping that I will find out that I'm secretly brilliant at that thing.  And when I turn out not to be, I feel like a failure.  

I feel ashamed, right off the bat, that I'm not good at the thing.   

And then shame takes over and my mind tells me all these stories:
  • I suck
  • I should never make mistakes because Mistakes Are Terrible [a toxic cultural more that Amanda pointed out in that same call]
  • I should always be on the lookout for mistakes - in my work and in others.
  • Avoid all mistakes all the time!  Constant Vigilance!
  • It is possible to avoid mistakes all the time.
  • You can't and shouldn't respect any work with mistakes in it. 
  • Mistakes = failure
  • One mistake can ruin an otherwise awesome thing/event/creation/conversation/project.  
  • Everything should be a masterpiece.
  • If something is a not a masterpiece, then it is a waste of time, resources, space, effort, etc.
  • Never ever share something that is less than a masterpiece. 
  • Less than a masterpiece = garbage.
  • Better not to try.
  • Better to be invisible.
You guys, this is a pretty accurate list of what actually goes through my mind sometimes.  Every time I hit publish to share my work, knowing I have not created one single masterpiece, is an act of courage.  An act of recovery.  An act of healing. 

Because every time we share something that is less than perfect in every way, we change the stories to these:
  • I create stuff.
  • Mistakes happen.
  • I can overlook the mistakes in my work and in others'.
  • It's not possible to avoid mistakes; in fact, one person's 'mistake' is another's 'best part of the piece'.
  • You can and should love any piece of work that you wish.
  • Mistakes = the human experience.
  • Awesome things/events/creations/conversations/projects are about more than the sum of their parts, so don't bother looking for or remembering the rough spots.
  • Everything is.  It just Is.
  • Time, resources, space effort, etc. can freely be spent wherever we see fit.
  • Share everything.
  • Do the art, don't judge the art.
  • Keep trying.
  • Be visible.
Over time [we're talking years], I can feel my stories change.

It's OK if I don't have a hidden genius for joy.  Or yoga.  Or painting people.  Or keto baking.  Or html, css, IG or CTA.  Or fb pixel.  Or recovery.  

I'll figure it out.  I'll learn how to do it.

Thursday, September 12, 2019


© Robin Edmundson, 'Zinnias #4', watercolor, 15 x 11 inches.
Framed to 20 x 16 inches.  $375.

I plant a long row of zinnias every year.  They make me really happy.

I like the big ones.  And the small ones.  Also, the ones that look like cactus flowers and the ones that look like fat pompoms.  I like the red ones, the orange ones, the yellow ones and the pink ones.  And this year I got a couple of white ones that knocked my socks off.

While I was practicing a few versions of this piece, Claire walked in and looked at an early one and said, 'Frame this.  I want it.'   She's allergic to a lot of the outdoors, 'This way I can have them in my room.'   [Of course, I framed hers first.]

This piece and a few more florals will be hanging at my upcoming show at the Vault at Gallery Mortgage in Bloomington, Indiana.  October 2-29, 2019.

Robin Edmundson: Not Far Afield

October 2-29, 2019

The Vault at Gallery Mortgage
121 E 6th Street
Bloomington, Indiana
Gallery Hours:  M-F 9am-5pm

Please join us for the opening reception
Friday Oct 4, 2019
5pm - 8pm

Monday, September 2, 2019


©Robin Edmundson, 'Where the Ironweed meets Helianthus and Goldenrod', watercolor, 18 x 24 inches. 
Framed to 24 x 30 inches.   $750

The bottomlands are where the muck is. They are the flood plains. Where the creeks overflow.  Where the flood debris collects.  Where the silt get dumped.  Where damp things molder and decay.

Many times during the year, the bottoms are impassable - soft, muddy, wet.

But when late summer comes and they are mostly dried out, they explode with color. It's easy to wax poetic this time of year - these areas are ridiculously gorgeous.  Fields full of purple ironweed and goldenrod.  Acres of helianthus and Queen Anne's lace.   The roadsides are blue with lobelia and blue mist flower.  Jewelweed sparkles orange and yellow in the shade.

And on cooler mornings, when the mist rises off the ponds, the colors sparkle with dew and we know how lucky we are to live here.

Thursday, August 1, 2019


©Robin Edmundson, 'Overgrown Barn - July', watercolor, 8 x 10 inches.  Framed to 11 x 14 inches.  $280.
July is when everything out here is in danger of getting overgrown by the oat grass, the virginia creeper, the fox tail, the nutgrass, the poison ivy, the walnut saplings that the squirrels planted last year, the ironweed, the johnson grass, the ragweed, the goldenrod, the wild grape vines, the blackberries - so many blackberries... 

In short, there is an abundance of growth and with that comes the very real danger of a structures being entirely overwhelmed.  They can be pulled down by the weight of the vines, or pulled apart by things growing through the cracks in the walls, or knocked right over by trees growing next to the foundation. 

I do this to myself.  All. The. Time.  Country life is a metaphor for the rest of my life.

I love an abundance of information.  I love learning new things, reading new books, mulling over new ideas, trying new strategies.   I want all of the information - right now.   I want all of the options - right now.   I want to save all of the ideas - right now. 

Pretty soon, my head is bursting with options; I worry that I won't pick the 'right one', I feel anxious that I'm 'behind' in what I'm studying, frustrated that I don't understand it all, irritated with the number of notebooks full of Very Important Notes and piles of books that I've saved from studying all the things and afraid to get rid of them because what if that's the notebook with The Answer that I've been looking for.

So much abundance and so much overwhelm. 

I need some mental mowing.  Weed eating.   Pruning.  Maybe a judiciously wielded chain saw.  Something to keep balance between the growth and the structure [me].

Quite honestly, I have no idea - at all - how to do that.  It's one of those boundary things I'm not so good at. 

I'll be thinking about it for the next while to see if I can come up with a strategy to encourage abundance while limiting overwhelm.   Maybe that will help me restore some Fun to my life.

Friday, July 26, 2019

The Duality of Light and Dark

©Robin Edmundson, 'Purple Barn, Twilight', watercolor, 10 x 14 inches.  Framed to 16 x 20 inches.  $375

I'm playing with light.   Actually, that's not true.   I'm playing with dark - because it's in how we apply the darks that the lights really show up.   It's a duality.

Duality shows up frequently in my life.  Powerful opposite forces.  It's easy to feel like one of those forces needs to be shut down or tamed, and to be honest, I have spent a lot of years trying to obliterate one or another of them, believing that its presence meant that there was something wrong with me and that if I could change it, I'd be better. 

It took a long time to realize that the trick is not in the changing, but the arranging. 

Embrace the light and the dark and you can communicate powerful things.  Arrange things right and all of the sudden beautiful images appear. 

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