Robin Kraus Wareham is an American Naturalist painter. Her vision encompasses spiritual aspiration; with expectation that the image and process of image making may evoke the sublime. Her work employs what Aaron Shikler called “a strong, steady, controlled approach to doing a figure in space".
Robin is proud to have come from a great family in history. Through her maternal Grandmother, she can trace her ancestry to numerous influential Presbyterian ministers including Joseph Cochran, a founding minister of The American Church in Paris; Isaac Lewis, Chaplain to George Washington in Bradley’s Battalion Wadsworth’s Brigade; and of not the least, one of America’s most beloved and influential theologians, Jonathan Edwards, of the Great Awakening. Robin’s upbringing was steeped in the kind of religious affectation that one might expect of a family deeply interested in religion and theology; the heritage of Edwards’ brilliant directives of metaphysical awakening being an influence in her family’s ideologies for generations. Edwards’ own work has profoundly affected Robin’s thought, on her vision for education, arts, spirituality, and community service. Robin’s lineage from Edwards can be verified through the Daughters of the American Revolution Archives.
In addition to the zealous religious interests she endured as a child, Robin also grew up with portraits of family being a strong artistic influence. In her ancestral home hung a beautiful historical portrait of Issac Lewis, which was painted by John Wesley Jarvis, as well as other portraits by 19th Century French artist, Alfred Oar. Her vision for portraiture is influenced by the idea that great works of art are made not just to commemorate individualism or the subject, but to tell a story of history and seek the deeper meaning of a kind of metaphysical space between artist and subject.
Robin holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from The Kansas City Art Institute, where she majored in sculpture and worked in a variety of media. She worked with renowned ceramic artist, Jim Leedy, sculptor, Dale Eldred, and enjoyed the respect of Painting Chair, Warren Rosser.
Upon graduation, Robin’s fascination with painting, theater and opera lead her to design scenery for many productions in Kansas City, including full sets and costumes for a children’s production of Ravel’s opera, L'Enfant et Les Sortileges performed by the University of Missouri Kansas City. Her love for music enraptured her enough that she even studied voice. She credits a knowledge of some vocal technique to her teacher, Maria Kaniova. Additionally, she was blessed to also have had the opportunity to spend many evenings sitting in on the renowned master classes of her teacher’s teacher. Robin credits her ability to carry a tune to such amazing influence. As a novice, she loves singing to this day.
Robin found sustenance in the discipline of studying music at a time she longed to be surrounded by such structure in the visual arts. The 20th Century had left many visual arts programs decimated, without adequate knowledge of technique which had once been passed down through the great academies. It was a time when few college programs taught the great traditions of Old Masters. Like many other artists in her genre, she has had to seek and find her training through atelier style programs outside of repressive and shallow institutions which have long sought to suppress knowledge of traditional pedagogy. Her work to seek out the top in her field to gain training and wisdom, in classical painting and drawing is respectable considering such effort has taken drive and commitment to her genre. As a result of her early efforts to find discipline in her art, Robin’s ideals for arts education are now deeply tied to practices for studying music. As in the performing arts, her pedagogy for the visual arts is based in training of Nero-motor development as well as in intellectual rigor.
Robin found her first book on Michelangelo when she was 12 years old in a book store and convinced her Mother to buy it for her. Like many young artist, she knew she was destined for a life in the arts. From then forward, she was fascinated by both the sculpture and painting of Renaissance and Classical Masters. With a long held wish to study and paint like the Masters, Robin found her chance to work with some of the world’s foremost drawing and painting instructors in 2005, when she began study with, teacher, Andrew Conklin at the Pallet and Chisel Academy of Fine Art in Chicago. She then studied with word renowned artists; including Michael Grimaldi and Nelson Shanks, at the Art Student's League of New York, between 2006-2010. She also worked privately with Arron Shikler and David Levine through The Painting Group, New York. She has taken numerous workshops with renowned artists, including Sarah Lamb 2015, 2016 and Dan Thompson, 2006 at the Grand Central Academy of Art, New York. Through her teachers and their teachers Robin may trace her lineage of fine arts training to some of the Great Masters* (see Stotz, The Flowering Staircase).
Robin’s methodology in teaching combines theories of optical perception and the evolution of sight, as well as time tested methods of the Great Masters. Her work to see the scientific underpinnings of classical technique allows for understanding of the standards. She always seeks to explain the reasons for the methods. She focuses on The French Academic method and Dutch Baroque methods as foundation of pedagogy for her teaching, because she feels that these are systematic and may be easily comprehended by all students. She is competent in current standards of Classical Realism, but her own vision for realism relies on Naturalistic observation. Robin teaches private group lessons and is also able to provide theory in optical perception as it relates to abstraction.
Robin’s dedication to the perpetuation of the arts has supported her focus on education. She spent years working in K-8 teaching. Additionally, she has taught courses for adults, and given private lessons for all ages. She has over 25 years of practicing as a professional in the visual arts.
Robin is currently based out of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She has taught painting and drawing courses through The Nantucket Community School, The New Mexico Public Schools and through the New Mexico Art League. She can teach; Classical Figure Drawing with Anatomy, Beginning Drawing, Beginning and Advanced Painting, and Portraiture.
Please contact Robin to learn about group lessons, arts curriculum, and to be notified of upcoming courses or workshops.
*See: The Flowering Staircase; 500 Years of Masters and Apprentices, by Timothy Stotz,