by Jan Cox

When you register for a watercolor class by Robbie Laird, you could end up in Costa Rica or Italy! This artist and world traveler loves to take groups to both of these countries where you, the artist, will be presented with a visual feast from which to paint.

Art has always been a part of Robbie Laird even as a little child. She names her father, who taught drafting, mechanical drawing and architecture, as the source of her artistic background, internalizing light directions and architecture from him. This becomes apparent in her personally designed home at Lake Almanor, CA.

Like many artists, she wanted to go to art school but was encouraged to get a job that paid. So she became a teacher. She began teaching 4th grade, but soon became the art teacher for 37 school districts in San Diego and San Bernadino counties. She helped write the curriculum for the Visual and Performing Arts in the 1970’s. When turning 40, Robbie took two years off to paint and was soon established in a gallery in Maui where you will still find her art.

Throughout her life she has been in tune with nature and the life cycles and rhythms of our planet. Robbie does not paint snapshot type pictures but rather ones that show the emotions of the scene before her. Her outstanding watercolors show this rhythm and flow in each picture.

With her MA in Art Education, Laird gives workshops here and abroad. She emphasizes that artists find the perfect fit for themselves. She sees three essentials as; digesting the fundamentals of design, getting in touch with individual interpretations of the scene, and learning techniques that help say what is important.

Robbie paints series of watercolors such as her Kelp or Flowing Flowers series and is now working on one inspired by Alaska as seen from the eye of an artist pilot.

Currently, as a “pay it forward” gesture, she and her husband direct the week long Kanuga Watermedia Workshops in NC each spring. Here, Robbie and eleven other nationally known artists instruct 250 participants at a retreat center in the Blue Ridge Mountains. a scholarship may be available. Go to [email protected] or call 530-259-2100 for information.

Locally, Robbie’s work may be viewed at Books and Beyond, Backroom Gallery and at Good Vibrations in Chester, CA. Her website is She has created a teaching video from Creative Catalyst Productions, Inc. at or 1-877-464-2228.