Robin Johnson Clawson earned her BFA degree, magna cum laude, from the Louisiana State University School of Environmental Design in 1972. She is originally from Baton Rouge. She has lived in Shreveport, Louisiana, since 1977, following a two-and-a-half year stay in Washington, D.C., where she was secretary for correspondence to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. She was the first Director of the Shreveport Regional Arts Council before retiring for a time to stay at home with her son, Johnson.
Robin was the co-owner of Erie Street Company—a painted clothing and textile manufacturer—for eight years before beginning to do portraiture full time in 1994. She teaches private, beginner painting classes in Shreveport and is available to conduct weekend workshops. She also tutors serious art students and assists them with portfolios preparatory to college application.
Her portraits depict
subjects of all ages and are done in oil pastel and pencil on paper.
Each piece emphasizes a natural pose, usually in a botanical setting, and
is an integrated design in the manner of a genre painting.
In assessing her work, Robin says, "I don't like to paint 'floating heads.' It's more interesting to me to start with informal snapshots of people as they appear in a setting that is meaningful to them, so that my work reflects a time wrinkle—a colorful memory of the moment. Often, I add a pet or a favorite toy, and many times depict some activity that the subject enjoys. If I include several children together, I want their relationship to show.
"In portraiture, a spontaneous, often humorous depiction of personality wears better with time for me than something formal and static. I am fascinated by people and I love the natural world, so I try to combine both elements in a way that speaks of their relatedness. A good likeness of a person is important, but a sense of vitality and the capturing of someone's essential nature is my challenge and main objective."
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