Friday, May 6, 2011


What makes a Southern landscape? Ask Robin Roberts, an oil painter who has lived in five states but claims her roots are in North Alabama. For her the Southern landscape emerges from the mystery of light and shadow—bright sun set against the deep shade cast by trees. Robin is attracted to each time of the day as a unique combination of color and pattern and captures that fleeting look with color contrasts and vigorous brushwork. By transforming ordinary views and everyday scenes through her paintings, Robin invites the viewer to remember those places closest to the heart. As she puts it:

“I hope people find the excitement I see in light that flickers in the trees. Trees have gestures and that seed of composition requires my response.”

Robin has taken classes and workshops with nationally and regionally recognized artists, many who emphasized the importance of painting on location (en plein air). Now an established artist, her landscapes and paintings of animals are exhibited in the following galleries: Dragonfly Gallery in Fayetteville, Tennessee; Ashland Gallery in Mobile; ARTifacts Gallery in Florence; Renaissance Gallery in Northport; Charleston House Gallery in Montgomery; and Kathleen’s Art in Decatur. This month her paintings from the Southeastern Plein Air Invitational are on exhibit in the galleries at the Gadsden Museum of Art along with those of the 14 other professional artists who participated in the week long event.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Top: Oil painting of the course at the Gadsden Country Club by Donna Chieves.

Bottom: Pen and ink with watercolor rendering of the club house, Gadsden Country Club, by Donna Chieves.

Donna Chieves demonstrated her versatility at the Southeastern Plein Air Invitational by creating work in oil, pen and ink, and watercolor. At home in Birmingham she paints portraits of people, pets, and homes but she also frequently paints en plein air as she has for the last three events hosted by the Gadsden Museum of Art.

At this year’s event Donna impressed everyone with her pen and ink drawings of architectural subjects like the First National Bank in Attalla (now Wells Fargo Bank) and the Gadsden Country Club. Mastering perspective is one of the most challenging skills required of artists and one that Donna demonstrates to perfection. But she is equally adept at atmospheric and colorful landscapes that capture the beauty of a spring day.

Donna is both academically and artistically talented. She has a B.A. in Art from the University of Montevallo, a B.S. from Oglethrope University, has studied at the Atlanta College of Art and Georgia State University, and frequently takes part in workshops. Donna found ways to combine academics and art with study abroad. She spent a year in Paris studying at the Sorbonne, soaking up the ambience of one of the great cities for art appreciation, and painting. After winning a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to India she again combined travel, education, and painting. Not content to always be a student, Donna also teaches painting at the Arceneau Art Gallery in Birmingham, Alabama. She is a member of the Alabama Plein Air Artists and Oil Painters of America.

Donna's paintings and drawings are currently on display in the galleries of the Gadsden Museum of Art through June 3.