Robert McCoy

Bio

Western subjects have become my focus. This coincides with family research for the past eight years, which has put me back in touch with my roots. I was born in Colorado, and grew up in both New Mexico and Texas. Those formative years filled me with a love for the West, and helped to shape my vision. Being from pioneer families legitimizes my involvement. These are the places where stories originated and where the ruins remain. I continually return to these places to feel inspired and rejuvenated. Adding to that resource is a library of books and movies that have influenced me personally, and our culture as a whole. In painting terms, I am a "realist". One art critic described me as a "hyper realist". I use professional grade oils, because of their flexibility and luminosity. I prepare every surface I work on by hand, and use custom stretchers or panels. In the final stages, I use glazes, which few people understand today. Most of all, I work from life, not from photographs. I continually look for and collect vintage and antique items that can be used as subjects.  My mother's family arrived in Colorado Springs in the 1870's by taking a cutoff from the Oregon Trail. Some of their possessions from that trip are in the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. My great grandfather, George W. H. DeWitt, started a dairy farm on land that is now part of Colorado College, and two of his sons, Scott and Leonard, started the Ox-Bow cattle ranch between Pueblo and Walsenburg.  My father's family were Scottish farmer's who arrived in North Carolina in the mid 1700's due to the Highland Clearances. My 4th great grandfather, John McCoy, fought in the American Revolution. In 1798, he and his family obtained a passport to settle in Tennessee, and after his death, the family began migrating west, settling in Colorado by the1880's.   I spent my formative years in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the 1950’s. That experience gave me an appreciation for both Native American and Hispanic cultures, and exposure to their works of art. My two best friends were Navajos whose families lived at the Indian School. Later we moved to San Antonio, Texas where I began studying painting with Warren Hunter, a noted artist and illustrator.  After serving in the Air Force during Vietnam, I continued studying painting at the University of Houston, receiving a BFA degree in 1974. Upon completion, I was accepted for graduate work at several universities, however, I was also given the opportunity to live and teach in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for a year, which I chose. That experience gave me exposure to the original paintings and murals by famous Mexican artists, and life within a different culture. At the end of the year, I was given the same opportunity to live and teach in Rome, Italy. Those experiences were unique and had a profound influence on my work. After returning to Texas, I was accepted in the graduate program at the University of Houston, and received a MFA degree in 1981.     Over the years I have explored a variety of subjects and used different methods and materials to illustrate my ideas. It has been an experimental process to determine my path.  I've found that using still life as a platform is the best way to express myself. Realism is my preference for illustrating those ideas.  

Accolades

  • Permanent collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
  • Permanent collection of the Valero Energy Corporation
  • “Frivolity and Mortality: The Tradition of Vanitas in Contemporary Painting”, Sherry French Gallery, New York, NY

Artwork

The Shelf
Old Traditions
Tribute
Trail Scout
Open Range
From the Earth SOLD
The Old Collection SOLD
Heritage SOLD
Gus SOLD
Glow SOLD