Tetons at Dusk, Oil on canvas, 2006, 36" x 48", Collection of Riverlake Partners


I can't say why I paint; I just know I have to. I can say what I get out of it. Painting can be simple, but for me it is complex, and I revel in pushing myself into that complexity. Each of my paintings is about color relationships. This is a life-long dialogue, or dance, through color space...but it is not a totally free romp as an abstract painter might have, my exploration is tethered to “place.” I am drawn to scenes that catch my eye, those are the scenes I paint. I then use color in an emotionally expressive way to visually describe what it felt like to be at that place in that moment of time.

Biographical Info

Robert's first mentor was David Foster at the University of Oregon in the late 1960's. Dave was a student of Bauhaus instructor, Lazlo Maholy-Nagy. Dave taught that image making was a medium of communication. For Robert this implied having something to say in a manner that can be understood.

Robert was accepted in 1971 into the graduate painting program at San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco California. While most students at SFAI were neo expressionistic studio painters, Robert saw the beauty in Golden Gate Park. He began his life long relationship of painting landscapes at that time and then dropped out of SFAI. He spent the next year in Europe visiting the major art capitals from London to Istanbul to Crete to see for himself the foundations of art in history.

Wolf Kahn was Robert's next mentor. Wolf was a student of the abstract expressionist painter, Hans Hoffman. Robert learned how to take a leap from painting a landscape into painting a personal form of the landscape based on color and feelings.

Around 1980, Robert was looking for meaningful work. His Sicilian family had always cooked from scratch and he thought he might try making oil colors from scratch, in the manner of the finest European manufacturers. Working out of his garage with a Hobart mixer and a 3-roll mill he started what is now Gamblin Artists Colors, (www.gamblincolors.com), an international brand of oil painting materials. Robert traveled the country the following thirty years to educate a generation of American painters about their materials. He made a major contribution to the practice of painting through the development of materials that has made oil painting safer than ever before. Today he is part of the marketing and new product development teams at GAC.

Robert founded Gamblin Conservation Colors in 2000 (www.conservationcolors.com). The company makes color for conservators and restorers world wide to use in the repair of damaged artwork. The colors are used by the conservation departments in most of the major museums. The company was the result of a 5-year research project led by René de la Rie, Head of the Science Dept., National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., Mark Leonard, Head of Conservation, J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles California and Jill Whitten, Whitten Proctor Conservation, Houston Texas.

Robert shares a wonderful studio with his wife the artist Catherine Kumlin in Portland Oregon.