Featured artist has near, dear subjects

FAIRMONT – Most of Robin Brown’s art work focuses on a seemingly unrelated trio of topics: horses, crows and women. One thing they share is her passion for each subject.

Brown is the December artist of the month at he Red Rock Center for the Arts in Fairmont, and will be honored at an open house from 2-4 p.m. Saturday.

Her show, entitled “Unfinished Business,” features her favorite subjects in work she has revisited, revised and resolved for years.

“I’ve been drawing horses since I was a little girl,” Brown said. “They’re so dignified and inspiring. I just love them.”

Her paintings of females might be perceived as “angry women,” she said.

“They might be contemplating something. There’s some pretty strong emotion [depicted] there.”

Brown admits some people might deem crows as “ominous birds” and an unusual subject.

“But I don’t think of them that way,” she said. “They’re very, very, wise little critters. It gets people’s attention.”

Brown has been painting or drawing ever since she can remember, and includes photography in her repertoire,

“I like the mixed media,” she said.

She earned a bachelor’s degree at Minnesota State-Mankato and a master’s degree at St. Mary’s University. A high school art instructor for 18 years, she currently teaches at Albert Lea High School.

“The minute classes are over at the end of the year, my whole dining room table will be covered with canvasses,” Brown said.

Work on projects is sporadic during the school term. Sometimes she will work 16-hour days over a weekend. Other times, it’s a few hours here and there.

Whether or not she’s in her artist mode, there’s “always something percolating in the back of my mind,” she said.

She claims that spreading her focus over several projects boosts her creativity.

“I can have multiple paintings going on at the same time, and all are a different style,” Brown said. “The last three months, I had five going at the same time. It really helps me.”

She admits she hasn’t done much to market her paintings, but she has sold some of her work. Her husband, Dr. Joe Brown, superintendent of Fairmont Area Schools, gets “really attached to them,” she said.

“If you’re going to have a show, you’ve got to be willing to sell your work,” she said. “It (selling) legitimatizes your work as an artist.”