Catherine Robbins’ bold and evocative oil paintings of Hawaiʻi’s volcanoes and plants reflect her view of a multidimensional and interconnected world. Her work is collected internationally and is represented by several galleries on Hawaiʻi Island. Robbins’ paintings have been exhibited in juried shows since 1999.
A self-taught artist, Robbins describes the pathway to the creation of her unique work:
“Exploring the natural world, from mountaintops to coastal lava flows, taught me early in life to listen to the greater forces and my deepest inner voice. Before painting, I quiet my mind and let go of all that’s familiar: expectations, plans, thoughts, feelings. Unencumbered, I sense my subject as I paint, and a deeper knowing guides me. Mountains were my first teachers, and now meditation, qigong practice and being in the great outdoors are my guides.”
Before applying the first brushstroke to a blank canvas, Robbins spends many quiet hours with her subjects. She works mostly with oils, applying numerous light layers of paint that she blends directly on the canvas.
Artist Diane McGregor in Santa Fe, New Mexico observes that “Catherine’s work conveys both the spiritual and the physical presence of the Hawaiian landscape. Her use of color and light is wholly original. . . . To me, she is the Georgia O’Keeffe of Hawaiʻi.”
Robbins was raised in the fog-shrouded coastal mountains outside of San Francisco, but the verdant windward side of the island of Hawai‘i has been her home for over thirty years. She creates her vivid paintings in a rainforest studio a few miles below Kilauea’s erupting summit crater, with giant tree ferns and a cacophony of native birdsongs outside her window. She shares this forest home with her husband, novelist Tom Peek, and an orange cat called Gabes.