By likemindblog



Flowers not bombs!  ROBIN DE LAVIS has found peace on Hornby Island in British Columbia, Canada.  From living in a prefab built on bomb rubble in war torn London, England a few years after the Second World War.  To immigrating to Canada, to working with profoundly handicapped children,  to raising children in a cabin in the woods, her life experience guides her into a journey inward says Robin, and that’s what her art expresses.

Robin, I want to thank you from the heart for accepting to participate in this project.  Your life has been one of challenges, of courage, of determination and of faith.   Let’s begin with these questions:

No.1)  What is art to you and for you?flowers not bombs

 For me, art is a visual language expressed in a myriad of ways. Everything that the eye can see carries a symbolic attachment to it depending on how our culture and life experience define it. We are each drawn to or repelled by different images as we resonate with what is happening in our interior being to what we are seeing and manifesting in our outward journey. There is mostly an unconscious response to the stimuli around us, a response that can suddenly become very conscious when our attention is arrested by a piece of art, dance, music, theatre, written word or film. When that fleeting moment stays with me, I know the muse in the creator has done it’s work and I have been touched deep within my core. That is when the language of art has worked.

 No. 2)  What inspires you?

 As a practicing artist I am expressing my own uniqueness from within me, but I am also tapping into that font of creativity that is shared by all engaged in the creative process. I am not drawn or inspired by something I see in front of me yet I may be influenced by it’s essence. For example, I did a body of work called The Trees of Hornby Island because I had seen a number of old growth trees blown down in a severe winter storm. I wanted to immortalize them in the paintings by focusing more on the energy and essence that was the tree rather than a realistic rendition of it.

flowers_not_bombs_031_op_450x600_rot_90 No. 3)  When you are in the process of creating, painting, where does it take you?  I mean where does your mind travel?  Please elaborate.

When I paint I begin to engage in a dance between no thought and very focused thought. It’s important to me to catch something very quickly. If you watched me painting I would look like I was performing some sort of ritual over the painting surface because I like to paint flat as I use wet into wet. I then reach a crescendo point when I know it is time to step back and observe what has been created. At that point I will begin to engage the intellect and start to tweak the image so that it has balance and uniformity.

 My paintings are loose and organic but my digital work comes from another part of me. It’s highly organized into patterns and formations. Again I begin with a no mind state and progress to the polishing stage where I refine the image. I am always a little in awe when I know something has worked because I have put very little conscious effort into it. When I begin to study it I often recognize sacred symbols and geometry that are universal in their application.

 No. 4)  Do you think visual arts, music and health are related and if so how?  Please elaborate.

 I believe all the arts are interconnected. I began as a musician, first of all playing a French Horn in an orchestra then taking up stringed and rhythm instruments during the heyday of the Folk era. Music is very important to me. I no longer play an instrument, but I will often have music playing in theRobin all creation sings background when I paint. I have to watch it though because it can be very seductive and begin to influence the piece I am working on.

 And I love to dance! I am fortunate to live on an Island where the community will come together, all ages and dance however they want their bodies to move. It’s very liberating and always elevates my mood.

 No. 5)  How do you feel when you are painting?

 We can recognize that music and dance are very physical, but I also find creating visual art very physical. It can be very tiring and draining. But it’s a drive in me that has to be expressed. I can become quite agitated if I can’t express myself this way.

 No. 6)  Do you identify with your subject and on what level?

 I identify with everything I paint or create because I believe all life is interconnected so by extension whatever I have birthed into creation also carries that spark of energy.

elation Robin de Lavis No. 7)  When do you do your best work?

I work best when I am left alone with no distractions. I do my best digital work in the early morning and painting in the afternoon so I can balance these two disciplines off.

 No. 8)  Does your art help you connect with your *higher self* and if so, explain?

 I believe art does connect to the higher self, but I think I have already addressed that. Anyway, these are some of my musings, so I hope that helps.

Flowers Not Bombs is a series I did as a response to the escalating violence I see in the world. I took an image of one of the Cold War bomb tests and embedded it in sacred imagery to convert the profane to the sacred. Also included in this series is a butterfly which flew into my studio and stayed on the windowsill for about three hours. I thought it was a wonderful symbol of regeneration.

 All Nature Sings and Round Us Rings is from the Trees of Hornby Island series. This came about after I was asked to paint a scene of Hornby Island for a fund raiser. I chose a large old growth tree and was horrified a year later to see that it had been blown down in a severe winter storm and then bucked up for firewood. I decided to immortalize some of the trees here in a series of paintings of which this is the pinnacle piece. Presented like a medieval altar piece, it measures 96×60″ and is painted on old growth fir wood panel.

 Sockeye Return was painted in late summer. I had been sketching when this image of the fish appeared. After I had finished the painting I heard a news item that the sockeye salmon here on the west coast of BritishRobin sockeye return web Columbia are now endangered. I found it interesting that I portrayed the eye almost like the symbol for atomic energy.

 Robin, your art is wonderful and I’ve enjoyed doing this with you very much.  I hope I get the chance to visit you on your island one day!  Thank you again and until the next time, be blessed!


You are invited to visit Robin’s site and see more of her wonderful art via the link below:

Your comments would be appreciated and please leave your e-mail that we may keep you posted of any changes.

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Filed in: ART • Friday, February 5th, 2010


Great article Robin. I just checked out your website. Your art is truly magnificent. I really enjoyed your film Tempore.

By helenebroand students on February 9th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

IT’s amazing to see all those circles. This perspective of rejuvenate, acomplishement and rebirth make me feel quiet secure and happy. I show your work to my students and they call it dancing in color path.En francais, danser dans les sentiers de couleurs. C’est un tourbillon invitant et apaisant. Even the sockeye remind them a dance in tribute of the strenght of the river.

Je n’avais vu des mandalas comme les votres, je suis impressionnée… vraiment. Votre série sur les arbres est aussi particulièrement belle. Félicitations pour votre travail


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My name is Michele Andree. I am an artist, I paint musicians in action. I think I’m a musician at heart, my instrument being… a brush, so I play…brush and I paint… music.
I love jazz. I call it freedom music. It promotes special values. I love intelligent people and good conversations.

Some people ask me how music relates to art. Personally I find they go hand in hand. Music is what turns me on to painting. It makes me see colours