Robin was born in Birmingham in 1957 and brought up in rural North West Norfolk where he currently lives. He was considered something of a child prodigy since, by the time he was 4 years of age, he had taught himself to paint in oils and, when 7, was selling his pictures for pocket money. He accepted a place at a local art college at 16 but never completed the course as he disliked graphic design and wanted the freedom to pursue and develop his own style of painting. He has studied and continues to study the works of the old Masters. His portrait paintings are so detailed as to have a “photographic realism” quality in a style reminiscent of Holbein or Ingres. He has won several awards for his work which include awards from the Federation of British Artists (FBA), International Artists of the Year, Sporting Artist of the Year and various other meritorious awards.
As a young man he worked as a builder’s labourer and was a promising boxer, occupations which were not exactly kind to his hands. His first real break came when a local businessman noticed his talent and, by way of encouragement, provided him with a studio in which to work. This enabled him to produce sufficient pictures to hold his first successful exhibition. The transition from hod-carrier to artist attracted media attention and led to a solo exhibition of his work at Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly, London. At this time he was among the first artists to paint a portrait of the then Lady Diana Spencer and HRH Prince Charles prior to their wedding in 1981. Latterly, as a hobby, he has taught himself to play the guitar and is an accomplished musician playing as a guest with several blues bands, including with his friend Danny Bryant’s Red Eye Band and the After Hours Blues Band.
His interests have manifested themselves in his portrait paintings of famous bluesmen and other popular artists such as Jimi Hendrix, Walter Trout and Eric Clapton. In 1995, Robin was approached by the Louisiana State Musical Heritage Commission which commissioned him to paint a series of pictures depicting the legendary blues men. This 3-year project resulted in a touring exhibition throughout the United States which received critical acclaim. The guitar legend, Walter Trout, saw this work and commissioned Robin to design and paint the entire artwork for his first live album ‘Face the Music’. Robin also painted the Jimmy Hendrix memorial album cover ‘Blue Haze’. Robin’s other album covers include ‘Shadows Passed’, for Danny Bryant as a young guitar virtuoso. His boxing paintings have concentrated on some of the great heavyweights of the 20th Century including Joe Louis, Rocky Marciano, Muhammed Ali, ‘Smokin’ Joe Frazier and many others. Muhammed Ali in particular is Robin’s hero and he has painted him on several occasions. Ali owns one of Robin’s paintings. Other sporting subjects include horse racing (Lester Piggott, Willie Carson), Formula 1 (Stirling Moss, Ayrton Senna), cricket (Ian Botham) and football (George Best, Bobby Charlton, Bobbie Moore). Robin also includes animals as subjects, especially horses.
In 2002, Robin was approached by ‘Hotbed Media’ to participate in a pilot television programme for the BBC called ‘Painting Stars’ presented by Lisa Tarbuck. Robin and two other well-known artists were filmed painting the opera diva soprano, Lesley Garrett, at the Royal Albert Hall. This pilot was the forerunner for the popular BBC 1 TV series, ‘Star Portraits’, presented by Rolf Harris. Robin, with two other portrait painters, featured in the first programme of the first series, screened in 2004 where the subject was Michael Parkinson. Robin painted “Parky” using as background Maidenhead & Bray Cricket Club at Bray, Berkshire, beside the River Thames, where Michael Parkinson was President. Robin’s picture was received with astonishing popular acclamation, nothing short of sensational. His website received over 2,000 hits in the week following the screening of the programme. Some 5,000 commission enquiries were received in the months following. This exposure raised his profile immensely. Incidentally, this first series was watched by an average audience of 5 million, the most any art programme has ever had in the United Kingdom, and millions more throughout the world.
The theft of Robin’s paintings in 2006, representing over 10 years work, caused him great hardship. Amongst the many paintings stolen were portraits he had just completed for Their Graces the Duke and Duchess of Northumberland at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland. Robin repainted both these portraits which were completed in December 2010. He has recently received two private commissions for a prominent client and sitter.
Robin paints in oils, water colours, pastels, acrylic, graphite, graphite/gouache and mixed media. His schedule permits him to paint a limited number of private commissions annually and he is always open to discussion on ideas from potential clients. Contact may be made using the Contact page on this site or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.