For more than 60 years, Charles H. Robinson has stayed true to his passion — art.
“I fell in love with art in second grade,” Charles said. “Mrs. Boclair was my second grade teacher. She was into arts and crafts. We did a lot of clay art.
“I realized that’s what I liked in school.”
Robinson was born in Winchester, but grew up in Frankfort. He graduated from Franklin County High School in 1968. He then attended Kentucky State University on a football scholarship. After a couple of years he dropped out and was drafted by the Navy. He spent two years of active duty in Vietnam.
He returned to Frankfort in 1972 and started back at KSU while working full time for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. In 1986, he obtained his bachelor of art degree from KSU. He retired from KYTC in 2005.
Even after graduating from KSU, he continued his art education by taking workshops through the Berea Art Guild. He took a workshop with nationally known artist Joseph Fettingis.
“That’s where I got interested in watercolor,” he said.
In the workshop, he painted a beautiful fall painting of a barn from a picture that Joseph had taken. The painting now hangs in Charles’ home.
“It’s fascinating to work with watercolor,” Charles said. “It’s a medium that’s hard to control and it’s fascinating to get it to do what you want it to. Acrylics allow you to mold it. With watercolor, you have to lay it and build it up to get the effect that you want.”
He has also taken watercolor workshops with Connie Tucker who he met at Shumaker’s Art and Framing in Lexington.
“I like workshops because you meet other artists,” he said. “It keeps you inspired. You get to communicate with other artists who think the way you do.”
Charles enjoys other mediums as well, including pen and ink drawing, graphite drawing and photography. He likes a variety of subjects.
Art displayed around his home include a graphite drawing of jazz musician Grover Washington that he drew from a newspaper clipping, a pen and ink drawing of a mop and broom. He named the mop drawing, “A Thousand Legs,” and the broom drawing, “A New Broom.”
“A new broom sweeps clean,” he said.
There are also several photographs, mono prints he did in college, a graphite drawing of a magnolia flower and a painting of swans that he did for his wife, Joanne.
“I like to do whatever,” he said. “I don’t have a specific subject — it’s whatever I feel. That’s why I like photography. Something may catch my eye. I like composition.
“I do like florals. I like wildlife and I like landscapes.”
His favorite paintings are a set of three watercolors that show the three stages of the magnolia flower — the bud, bloom and death of the flower. He painted it while watching the flowers go through transition on a large magnolia tree in the front yard of his Frankfort home.
“As it dies, it is still pretty,” he said.
Charles hasn’t sold much of his art, but he has done shows. In past years he has shown his work at First United Methodist Church and Capital Cellars.
“I haven’t done any commission work,” he said. “It’s just a hobby.”
Charles said he wants to do more woodcarving. He has three sculptures he made in college, but hasn’t done much of it since.
Charles is thankful for what art has brought to his life and he’s thankful for those who have inspired him, who include his brother and fellow artist Robert Robinson, friend and artist Tommy Calhoun, artist Jeff Alexander and the Capital City Art Guild.
“Art has brought accomplishment to my life,” he said. “Going from saying ‘I can’t’ to the fact that you can. You start with a blank piece of paper and a scene.
“You hear people say, ‘I can’t do art. I can’t draw a stick figure.’ You can, but you have to want to. Anyone can do a piece of art. It’s an accomplishment. It’s a fascination.”