West Brattleboro -- The foyer and other gallery spaces at All Souls Church Unitarian Universalist are showing paintings -- from race horses to raptors to farm animals and more -- by retired veterinarian Robin Truelove Stronk through the end of December. The public is invited to an artist's reception and book signing from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, November 5.
This exhibit includes four large canvases featuring race horses and dressage horses painted with the fingers and palm of Robin's left hand while she was recuperating from surgery on her dominant right hand. Several raptors and owls will also make an appearance: "My focus in my art is the eye of the animal, and they have such large, amazing eyes that I find them irresistible," she says. Other works include two oversize florals; three large fabric feed bags with graphics creatively enhanced by many colorful breeds of chicken; and a "mixed bag" of other farm animals.
Inspired by her career as a veterinarian, which ran the gamut from large to mixed to small animal settings, Robin has always been equally passionate about expressing herself as an artist. Studies at River Gallery School in Brattleboro have helped to refine her interests and style. Not surprisingly, many of her subjects are the animals that have been her life’s work. Retired from full-time practice, Robin now fills her days with art, writing, and enjoying her animals. She lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband where they raised their three children.
Working primarily in oils, she seeks to portray animals on an intimate level, placing herself at eye level or even lower than the subject, so the image is that seen by another of its species. She also strives to allow each individual’s playfulness, loyalty, intenseness, and other traits to come through. Her veterinary training is invaluable to help fill in the details when working from photographic material.
Robin’s latest endeavor is the publication of a book of memoirs, Vet Noir: It’s Not the Pets—It’s the People Who Make Me Crazy. She provides a light-hearted glimpse into the world of veterinary medicine where animals are unconditionally loved and the people are kind beyond measure, dedicated, and splendidly appreciative—mostly when they are not being quirky, infuriating, and more often than not, unknowingly comical. Copies of her book will be for sale at the reception.
Saturday's reception is an opportunity to meet Robin and speak with her about her creative process and her years of experience with the furred and feathered creatures that inspire her. The exhibit is otherwise open weekdays from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, as well as during worship services and other public events in the building.
All Souls Church UU is at 29 South St., just over a mile west of Exit 2 off the Interstate. The church driveway is across the road from the village green and fire station. Head up the wooded drive to a large parking area by the church, which is handicap-accessible. For further information, call the church office at (802) 254-9377 on weekday mornings.