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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Robin Hill: artist and birdman

Robin Hill, Great Horned Owls

With a name like Robin Hill, you were expecting someone other than a natural history writer and artist? Perhaps, a composer? An illustrator? An outdoorsman? A conservationist?

Check all of the above.
Robin Hill at the Fairfax at Embassy Row, Washington, D.C.

The Robin Hill who was in town recently at the Fairfax at Embassy Row is about as colorful a personality as the birds he draws: lively, quick, intricate, and down to earth

His name and birth place were an early prescription for his life, steering him to wildlife and natural history paintings, chiefly birds which the Morris Museum of Art in Augusta, Georgia claims ownership of 200 (and has devoted four exhibitions to them over a period of seven years).
Robin Hill
Robin Hill, Loon Family

At the "artful evening" hosted by Studio E Partners of Bethesda which represents Mr. Hill, he talked about his life's work, standing alongside a few of his canvases.

An artist in the style of John James Audubon, Mr. Hill said he never sits outdoors to draw animals and plants, nor does he take photographs, but he relies upon years of experience knowing where to find the best pictures to use for modeling, including Ranger Rick magazine for children.
He amplifies scenery and branches, often including a beetle or two, and when they are omitted from a work, purchasers frequently ask that he add them.

He likes to draw birds of prey.

Born in Brisbane, Australia in 1932, Mr. Hill's family moved to England when he was a year old, and there at age 11, he enrolled at the Wimbledon School of Art. When he was 16, he returned to Australia and studied at the National Gallery of Victoria Art School and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

“I got tired of school partway through, and I ‘went bush,’" Mr. Hill writes on Studio E's website:  "I worked as a cowboy on a sheep and cattle station, and then I travelled the country working in shearing sheds. During this time, I was drawing, painting and closely observing nature, which laid a foundation for what was to become my career."

He eventually returned to school and finished his studies, continuing on his natural history path, drawing and illustrating books on wildlife, crafting magazine illustrations. 

Like his subjects, he thrives on the natural world. Pox on tech stuff and gadgetry: “Electronic communication is not my world; I’m not technically inclined. I know Studio E can facilitate this for me, and I can get on with my painting.”

And so he does.

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