All About the Robinson Portrait
Warm smiles greet every visitor to the Robinson Nature Center, thanks to an oil portrait of James and Anne Robinson commissioned by the Robinson Foundation. Annie's friends agree that the work captures the couple's caring spirit and love of place.
How did artist Lynsey Ring Dimas, who never met the Robinsons, create the welcoming image? "I visited the Robinsons' property several times," says Lynsey, who also studied family photos and hired models to pose in the landscape. But her greatest resource was stories about Annie's sense of humor and love of nature told by her father — Annie's long-time friend. From memories of those tales, Lynsey recalls, "I imagined her as someone who viewed the world with a hidden smile waiting to burst forth."
Lynsey's award-winning work has been widely exhibited, from Sotheby's in New York to The Blue Goose in Ellicott City. An M.F.A. graduate of the New York Academy of Art, Lynsey was thrilled to be asked to paint the Robinsons' portrait while the Center was still in its planning stages. "The most challenging thing was creating the composition," says Lynsey. After many walks on the path that was once their driveway, she decided to frame the pair by tall trees, with their home behind them. As a result, she says, "They look proud of their life and the woods and fields they loved."
The portrait was unveiled as the culmination of Opening Day celebrations on September 10, 2011. It will become a permanent centerpiece of the Center, hung over the fireplace of the Robinson Legacy Room for all to admire. When visitors come by, the artist hopes, they see more than "two people who donated funds and land." Instead, says Lynsey Dimas, "I hope that the painting can share a glimpse of the story of the Robinsons — two people who loved nature and really appreciated a life lived in a beautiful woods, near a river, filled with animals and all kinds of wildlife."