Blue Plate Special

Christopher RobinDowntown

It was a brilliant day last May when I first visited Redbud Kitchen on Sevier Avenue. Driven by hunger, curiosity and, ok, our Toyota, I had no idea that lunch could last nine months. As an observer and a nosher, my interest was piqued by the bright blue house across the street.

While I munched, the house sparkled with spring sunshine and color pops of early plantings. As the server cleared the dishes the glassware began to sparkle too. I snapped a few photos, explaining away my oddity to the server; as if I’m easily explained.

Could this subject make a painting? How to compose? What’s the subject? Working out a few kinks and the composition, I sketched it on a large canvas. I like the initial steps to painting best. Starting with purple in the darkest areas, the process was underway.

A good recipe takes time. Things, travel, commissions, workshops and life took my attention. This big (36×48 inch) painting became the elephant in the studio. Visitors would say “Why?” “What’s this about?” “I just don’t get it” and eventually, “When?” I answered with “why not,” “the blue house” and “it’s okay if you don’t, but maybe you will” and “it will tell me.” That’s the artist’s equivalent to a political dodge.

I know it’s an odd subject, but it needed to be painted. The restaurant owners will see it soon. Plan to see it yourself, in our studio, or stop for a meal to see the subject in person. The food is great and so is the view.

Photographer Chris and painter Robin Rohwer each week share a painting or photograph that captured their interest in hopes that it will also capture yours. They have a small studio and gallery in the Phoenix Building at 418 South Gay Street where you can stop and see their work. Their website is All works are copyright protected.


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