Robin Durand’s passion for art developed at an early age. His father taught him how to draw and paint during his childhood in Hawaii, and at the age of nine, he began selling his works in Kawaihae harbor for a dollar each. He continued his education and honed his talent in college, graduate school and under the tutelage of Mississippi artist, George T. Thurmond who introduced him to color study. Durand’s work can be found in numerous private and public collections throughout the U.S. including The Masur Museum, The Saratoga Collection, and The LSU Medical school.
My painting is primarily about sight. I do not try to paint a readily “believable” landscape or still life. Rather, I build a new vision which has dropped the conventional presuppositions about the nature of the seen. I try to describe an aspect of nature which is not dulled by habits of memory and assumption.
One way of exploring sight is to examine patterns that run through my entire field of vision. I think of vision as evolving and designing itself within the mind. An awareness of the interaction of shapes distinguishes human vision from the mechanical recording of the camera. Here, there is less of a need to define specific objects; objects integrate with the whole compositional idea. This contrasts with the common practice of seeing objects as separate and unchanging. All too often only the utility of an object is seen. I consider this to be a sort of grasping at form and ignoring of the unexpected.
The study of color is another way I explore sight. I try to develop a sensitivity to how colors change. Colors are effected by the lighting condition, their location in space, and their placement on form. Something that is commonly thought of as just “red”, will, to me, be a unique complex color which relates intimately with all the other colors around it.
These kinds of observations are tools for developing new ways of seeing. The most difficult questions for me are “Do you paint what you see?”, or “Do you paint what’s really there?” For me it’s hard to say what I see. If I’m reading I see words, but if I’m looking I see a page. What we see is guided by how we are thinking and what is important to us. The gravest error is to assume we are aware of all that vision has to offer. Painting allows me to take more in and discover that the most real is also the most inventive. This intimacy with the eye and mind allows the world to contain deep feeling.