Robert L. Pillsbury: From Two Dimensions to Three

While many people look forward to retirement, Robert's philosophy is, "You need to have something to retire to."
April '22

Robert has lent his experience to The Commons by teaching art classes to our residents. We consider ourselves lucky to have such a talented artist in our midst!

“I couldn’t just retire.”

While many people look forward to retirement, Robert’s philosophy is, “You need to have something to retire to.”

So, when the Harvard College graduate retired in 2009 after 40 years as an architect, he decided to devote more time to his art. “I couldn’t just retire,” he told Harvard Magazine in 2014.

Inspiration can come from anywhere.

Robert creates geometric art pieces with intricate patterns and textures that emphasize the play of light and shadow. He takes hundreds of individual shapes and arranges and stacks them to make designs with great depth and complexity.

He needs two things to create his art pieces: inspiration and planning.

He says he can get inspiration from many different places; it could be a tree, image, piece of art or even a bridge.

Forethought and planning are key.

Each piece must be meticulously planned with the aid of 3D software.

Once started, changes cannot be made without starting all over again. “I really have to plan before I start,” Robert told Wellesley Weston Magazine.

Patience is required, too: Most of his pieces are 30 x 30 inches, and each can take up to 40 hours to complete.

Robert may be retired, but he has not stopped working on what he loves, just like so many of our residents who continue to enjoy an active and independent lifestyle at The Commons!

You can learn more about Robert at

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