Robert Frost’s granddaughter in Breckenridge
summit daily news
Robin Hudnut is an unassuming artist. She won’t tell you she’s a published author. She doesn’t say she spent three years studying full time to earn the honor of being a docent at deYoung, a prominent San Francisco museum established in 1895. And, though she’ll talk about how her grandfather, poet Robert Frost, insisted on creating poetry with a sense of form – full of harmony, precision and balance – she’ll add: “Not that I can do anything like that in my art, but it would be nice.”
Then, you see her pieces, or you begin to talk about poetry, and you might happen upon her daughter-in-law, local Kate Hudnut, who will tell you Robin Hudnut is the smartest person she knows – and she’s not being biased. And then you talk to Robin Hudnut for 25 minutes or so, and discover not only her depth as a human being, but also her high standards as an artist.
To prepare for her two-week stay at the Tin Shop in Breckenridge, she researched the town’s history. During her sojourn, she plans to relate her art to Breckenridge and its 150th anniversary, specifically the idea of the gold rush. She wants to explore what gold meant to the founding of the town, as well as what has replaced it to drive the economy. As a result, all of the art she creates in the next 14 days will revolve around gold: She will use metallic gold acrylic paint to capture the beauty she sees in surrounding mountains; she will post her grandfather’s poetry, as well as other Colorado poets’ work, on the studio’s walls and invite people to discuss it; and she will host a gold leafing workshop, illuminating letters in the way Medieval artists did in Bibles.
“Everything is golden,” she said. “I am in my golden years, and this is a very golden place.”
She will also create a sculpture depicting the 11 passes the first pioneers navigated to arrive in Breckenridge, and she hopes Tin Shop visitors will add a photo or a touch of color to the piece.
As people stop by her temporary studio, she’s happy to talk about how her grandfather has influenced her art – which ranges from graphic design to poetry and painting.
“She has an amazing gift for sharing his, her own and other people’s poetry,” said Jenn Cram, Breckenridge Arts District coordinator. “(And) she has a great zest for life and love of the arts.”
As a teenager, Robin Hudnut didn’t know what it meant to be Frost’s granddaughter. But throughout the years, she has deepened into his profound words.
“For me, the great luck is to have the poetry that grandfather has left behind,” she said. “Every year, I can understand something he has written more broadly and with more depth. There’s always an opportunity to see something fresh. He’s a fountain of inspiration and opportunity; his poetry is never a dead-end.”
That’s why she never tires of studying his descriptions of beauty and human nature.
“Eventually, whatever interesting situation or obstacle you come up against, you get an idea of how to solve a problem or how to surmount a situation,” she said.
An important element his poetry pointed her toward involves the idea of form, or of creating a cohesive piece of art rather than simply scribbling out language.
“You think about the art we see over the years,” she said. “It’s art that has some kind of form that stays with us and gives us a foundation for our life … A lot in grandfather’s poetry speaks to the golden mean … not too hot, not too cold; not too rich, not too poor; not too loud, not too soft. It’s how we endure.”
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