Meet Robin Wiesneth, an artist whose personality is as quirky and friendly as the pet portraits she paints. Her work is easily recognizable by the brilliant color and humor that shines thru every brush stroke.
Her infamous Elvis the Rocket Dog has been selected to represent ArtsQuest 2012 and graced billboards all over the Emerald Coast bringing smiles to all who saw him. Robin is also the artist behind the H.E.A.R.T Animal Rescue Anthology cover (to be released). I recently had a chance to catch up to Robin for an interview.
Robin, I admire your work very much. Every piece exudes charm and communicates simple joy, something we can never have enough of. Have you always been artistic? What made you decide to paint as a career?
I would say I’ve always been creative but when I chose a career in
computers and technology that creativity was funneled into things like
designing software interfaces, solving computer problems, and the
hardest job: translating technical concepts to non-technical users in
terms they could understand. That is an art form!
Success and a bit of luck allowed me to retire early. I began to
experiment with different types of art. I explored sculpting and other 3D forms
first and spent a few years creating things with polymer clay.
One day a friend asked if I would join her in an acrylics painting
class. Having never used acrylics I was interested and that’s how I
discovered the amazing things I could do with that very flexible
We are all very grateful to your friend for introducing you to acrylics! One of the first times I ever saw your work was when you were selected to represent ArtsQuest 2012 with your quirky Elvis the Rocket Dog character. What was it like seeing your work up on a billboard?
I was thrilled to see “Elvis” on the billboard – I had a hard time
believing I had actually created him. He and the other animals from my
series “Tails of Imagination” have really taken on a life of their
Tell me more about Tails of Imagination and what inspired you to start doing such unique and charming pet portraits?
As I explored painting with acrylics I quickly discovered that I did
not care much for landscapes and I was always drawn to subjects that
were humorous. Many of my earlier paintings have subjects like a
gorilla bounding through times square, sock puppet superheroes, a cat
dressed in a suit of armor, you get the idea.
I was doing portraits of pets on the side for friends and I can’t
remember when I got the spark but I suddenly realized if I combined my
love of science and geeky things with my animal portraits I could
create something unique. That was the beginning of the series “Tails
of Imagination” – ordinary pets, extraordinary adventures.
What are some of your favorite painting subjects?
I love anything related to animals, I can see many more artworks in
the “Tails of Imagination” series. I also have a new series in mind
that will showcase people and their pets – stay tuned for that!
I know Mr. Smith would be excited to get a painting done with our dog so I’ll be haunting your site, abrushwithhumor.com, for that. Your love for animals goes beyond your brush. What other ways are you involved with animals besides painting them?
Helping rescue groups like HEART is an important part of what I do. I
also manage a feral cat program in Sandestin called “Spay and Stay“
where we monitor, trap, vaccinate, and spay/neuter the feral cats
within Sandestin to keep the population healthy.
It does not sound like a big deal but with over 2500 acres, it is a lot of area to
cover. Our group of volunteers has vaccinated and spay/neutered over
230 cats since late 2009. In return, the cats living on property do a
great job of managing the snake and rodent population!
I love what you do with Spay and Stay. Cats are wonderful for keeping down pests like rodents as long as they don’t make up for them in kittens. Going back to our canine hero, Elvis has already flown to the moon and back. Where do you see him, and you, going next?
Elvis is the main character in my series and he will be the first to
find himself in a children’s book. The other characters are headed
that way as well.
I can’t wait – I’m sure they will soon become classics up there with Clifford and Pooh. With my first grandchild on the way let me know when to preorder! Where can readers find more information about them, you and how to order their own original works of art?
My blog, Abrushwithhumor.com has a link in the upper right corner for portrait prices along with a contact form.
You can also reach me any time a firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like to see your pet in a grand adventure like Elvis you can also see many examples from this series at tailsofimagination.com.