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 didnt 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 Abbeys 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.