Color of optimism

Robin Metz turns to painting, clay art through life’s challenges

Story and photograph by Laura Brookhart

Robin and Ted Metz live a life built around the arts, and their Montevallo home welcomes you to a gallery of the various works they create together and individually.

Many may recognize Robin as a part-time librarian at Parnell Library, but she previously worked as an illustrator for Methodist Publishing House in Nashville and with many West Coast clients as an agent-represented illustrator.

Robin is hard at work on one of her platters.

Robin is hard at work on one of her platters.

Robin’s parents, Bob and Faith Nance, also had their influence. Bob Nance, art director for Oxmoor House, passed in 2013; Faith was an illustrator and graphic designer who still paints.

When she was close to 40, Robin began having vision challenges that were ultimately diagnosed as multiple sclerosis.

Her vision, memory and balance are affected, but her creative expressions in painting and in clay have endured and brought her to the satisfyingly and productive life she shares day-to-day with Ted Metz, who retired this past January after 42 years teaching clay and sculpture in the University of Montevallo Art Department.

A striking recent collaboration of the couple is shown. The Turban Woman features wheel-turned elements by Ted and hand-applied surface decoration and color by Robin.

Intricately adorned female faces adorn many of Robin’s effusively illustrated platters.

As a young mother of two daughters she began to paint faces. “And,” she adds, “I happen to love flowery hats and turbans.”

The small 8-inch-by-10-inch canvases comprise an ongoing series of colorful personalities.

They are affordable art show favorites and were recently shown at the annual Bluff Park Art Show.

The philosophy that carries Robin Nance Metz through each day?

“Fun, funny, happy,” she says. “I figure there’s too much sadness and strife in the world. I don’t feel like adding to it. I do know there are lots of artists that delve into it and that is fine—good for them that they have an outlet to allow them to contemplate the toughness of this world.

“I’ve had to look at a lot straight on—two children that left this earth before me and an unpredictable illness—and it’s easier for me to focus on the brighter things life offers,” she says.

The Metzs will hold an open house in their home gallery Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 26 and 27. They also show by appointment. Visit Facebook.com/robinnance.metz.