As a young boy Robert Harper called both the rural ranching communities of Montana and the mountain areas of Wyoming home. The rural summer landscapes of Montana and the colorful seasonal changes of the Wyoming Mountains seemed to capture his attention and challenge his powers of observation and perception. Throughout his boyhood he spent as much time as possible exploring and observing the beauty of these two states. It wasn’t until, as a teen, he saw a large, impressive painting by Conrad Schwering that the passion to try to capture the beauty of these areas on canvas was breathed into Robert’s heart. Encouraged by a local art instructor and friend, Red Dean, Robert spent every spare moment of his high school and college years with paint brush in hand.
Robert began his formal training at the University of Montana. He then commenced an intense and on-going study of the works by the great masters, George Inness, Carl Rungius, Edgar Payne, and Joaquin Sorolla. Robert also speaks of the “school of nature” when referring to the hands-on lessons he has learned from his times of disciplined field study that brings a freshness and inspiration to his work. Robert’s field studies have taken him to most of the western states, Hawaii, Canada, and Europe.
Since beginning his career, Robert has had numerous one-man exhibitions in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana. He was a much sought after instructor for painting workshops in a nine state area for many years. Awards and honors Robert has received include several Best of Show and People’s Choice Award. Publications include numerous newspaper articles as well as articles in Southwest Art (May 1996 & Oct 2001) and the back cover of the Jackson Hole phone book (1994).
Robert and his wife, Crystal, live on the colorful western slope of Colorado where they have raised their two daughters, Tawnya and Crysty. Robert boasts that these three women are his biggest fans and best critics. Robert and family enjoy hiking, camping, traveling, and movies with popcorn.