For Robert Caldwell, a lifelong love of the outdoors drove him to pursue a career in painting. “Everything I do is so I can get out and travel, that’s where I get inspired. Since I'm a wildlife artist, I have to see these animals in person.”
Most of Robert’s paintings are born from inspiration gathered along trips to remote locations, sometimes even on safari. Taking pictures along his travels, Robert will use a compilation of images to create a story for his paintings – and the combinations are endless. “Either the subject or habitat inspires me first, then I figure out what my narrative will be.” In addition to photographs, Robert will take field notes about the animals for future paintings. “I do not paint any wildlife I have not personally seen because I need to observe their behavior.”
Robert’s style lends itself to realism, and it shows with the painstaking details and life-like qualities in his paintings. Surprisingly enough, Robert says he will only spend a month to a month and a half on each painting then move on. Even more surprising is that Robert’s preferred medium is graphite and teaching himself to paint was quite the challenge. “There's a painting in my studio that is the first one I ever did, and I keep it there to remind myself that I can overcome obstacles.”
This reminder served well in 2020 when Robert had to close his studio school and transition to virtual teaching. “It was really difficult but I found joy in getting back to my roots in drawing and love of graphite. It was a way for me to start enjoying painting again too.”
For Robert, the subject will always be wildlife and is essential to his practice. Even in his architectural paintings he often adds pigeons or smaller animals. While traveling is limited right now, Robert’s paintings offer an escape into remote corners of the world.