Robert Coombs Artist
As a young boy, Robert Coombs had received one of the most exciting presents he could remember – a set of watercolor paints. He was so anxious to use them that he quickly grabbed a pad of paper and sat down to paint anything he could find. It ended up being a bowl of fruit and he applied the paint straight out of the tube as thick as toothpaste. The paint cracked and fell off within a matter of days and Robert was out of paint. He didn’t let it get him down and was determined to find out how to make a painting. Such has been the ongoing struggle for him to become an artist – a series of trial and error, of discovery and exhilaration, hope and determination.
Growing up in Salt Lake City, his continuing fascination with art landed him a scholarship at Utah State University in Logan, Utah where he received a BFA in Illustration in 2000 . Under the tutelage of Glen Edwards he learned to carry a sketchbook everywhere he went. It has since taught him to observe and record those events and experiences that inspire and stir emotion.
One of the most profound events for the artist occurred in late 1994 when he viewed the original works of Edwin Austin Abbey’s Shakespearean subjects on display at the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. It was the first exhibit of a master artist Coombs had attended and it guided his future. “For the first time in my life I could actually feel the emotional impact and power that painting could impart. I decided to seek after those attributes in my own work.”
Through countless hours of personal study scouring through books at the library and painting from life, Robert has developed a method of painting from the heart. “There are certain visual things, usually very simple, that trigger an emotional response within me and within others. It may be a gesture, a shape, a color or any number of things. What is important is that it invokes a response within me. My desire then, is to try to recognize and capture that element which has stirred my soul, as feeble as my attempts may be, in the hope that it may be experienced by another and ultimately lift them in a positive way.”
During his study in higher education Robert also worked as a creative artist illustrating book covers. It may have lengthened the time it took to graduate but it gave him valuable experience and allowed him to develop a painterly approach in his work. It also provided an opportunity for him to cultivate friendships that would eventually lead to a path in fine art.
Following his graduation, Coombs has affiliated with three galleries in the west. He has gratefully enjoyed numerous successful group and solo shows annually. He became a member of Oil Painters of America in 2005 and won the “Hunter Editions Award of Excellence” selected by Dan Gerhartz. The following year he won the best of show “American National Award of Excellence” selected by Peter Adams. One month later he was awarded the $10,000 grand prize in Raymar’s First Annual Fine Art Competition which was judged by Kevin Macpherson and Joe Anna Arnett. He is thankful to be an artist in such a wonderful time in history with a sincere hope of being a positive influence on others.