Robin Swennes

Arundel, Maine
As a child, I was obsessed with horses and would make chalk drawings of them all over my neighborhood streets. I didnt realize how the process of creating art could transport me into another world until my mother sent me to my room for some infraction, to ponder my wrong-doing. Sequestered alone, I leafed through a book of Walt Disney characters and found myself compelled to draw the vividly colored characters. When I emerged, I had several crayon and marker illustrations that amazed my parents and even moved my young, entrepreneurial friend, Stacy, to attempt to sell them to our neighbors for 25 cents apiece. (I got my first taste of how hard it is to sell art that week as we walked around the block, going door to door!) My family moved to Maine in 1977 from Long Island, NY, in the middle of a crazy snowstorm when my Dad and his business partner purchased a small grocery store in Cape Porpoise ME. During high school, any artwork I did got shoved under the bed or occasionally given as birthday or Christmas gifts. The label, starving artist, lead me to get a 4-year Liberal Arts degree — instead of a straight Art Degree. After college, I found employment in Graphic Arts with Advertising and Design companies, where the training I got made it possible for me now to digitally photograph, color correct and edit my paintings, as well as design much of my own marketing. During my tenure in Advertising & Design, I did some freelance illustration for clients like Toms of Maine, Public Cable and book publishers. Later, I put together high-end tile layouts and concepts for homeowners’ bathrooms, kitchens etc. These days, I pursue painting and various freelance Graphic Design work. In 2016, I designed a house in which my husband and I now live. That effort was by far my most challenging, educational and satisfying artistic venture. The artist brain always seeks new challenges and stimulation, so I continue to paint different subject matter and try different styles in my work. I would love to design another house, or hopefully at some point, apply my artwork to goods such as textiles, wallpaper and home furnishings. I don’t think creativity ever ‘dries up’ for true artists; I think it just takes a different form when the brain is ready to conceive it.