"Robert Highsmith received his art training from New Mexico State University and the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida. Since then he has had many one-man and group shows throughout the country. Critics and collectors alike have liked his work and he is the recipient of over a hundred awards for his work. His watercolors are in numerous corporate and private collections in the US and abroad. Most recently, he was honored with the Governors Award of Excellence in Art. His work has been featured in American Artist magazine, Watercolor Magic, Watercolor Artist, New Mexico, Southwest Art, Art Journey America: Landscapes and others. The desert landscape and canyons of the southwest are his favorite subjects. His paintings are strong, unsentimental statements with equal parts heart and technical virtuosity. What takes them to brilliance is the stark contrasts that make the paintings photorealistic in detail. “A stunning collection of well-conceived and well-executed watercolors, a fresh and vibrant view of the region.”— M. Stephen Doherty, American Artist.
Currently he is a signature member the American Watercolor Society and the New Mexico Watercolor Society, with memberships in the National Watercolor Society, and the San Diego Watercolor Society. His work is represented by Marigold Arts, Santa Fe, NM, the Cutter Gallery, Las Cruces, NM, the Newby Gallery, Tubac, AZ and Four Corners Gallery in Bluffton, SC."
"I have always been interested in painting, ever since I was a child. I remember getting into my first art show in 2nd or 3rd grade with a watercolor of an eagle sweeping down on a rabbit. In highschool I was in the Art Club, this was in East Anchorage High, in Alaska. My teacher, Carl Appel, got a couple of my watercolors in a show in Canada at that time. I was thrilled. After a couple thousand other painting, I still have the interest.
"I was an "army brat" growing up. We moved 35 times in my first 18 years. We were stationed in the southwest on more than one occasion. When our family moved back "home" to Las Cruces, NM, from Alaska, I attended New Mexico State University. After one year at NMSU, I decided to attend an art school. I told my favorite teacher, Mr. Barrick, that I wanted to become a commercial artist, and make $35,000 a year. He said I would not be happy doing that, but because I was smarter than my teacher, I left anyway. My first assignment in the Commercial Program at the Ringling School of Art in Sarasota, Florida was a poster entitled "Its Pumpkin Time". That is when I switched to the Fine Arts program, and had some of the best years of my getting educated life. Several years later after graduating, I went back to my teacher and told him he was right. I had to, because he was.
"I got into a gallery after graduating from Ringling, and started selling my work at that time. I found I need some extra income to supplement my habit of eating and the roof over my head thing. I did several different things, always trying to work with my art in some way. I worked at a couple of frame shops, one in Los Angeles, and another in Connecticut. I also found outdoor art shows as being a way to make some money. I bought a motor home and traveled between New England (in the summer) and Florida (in the winter) doing about 40+ shows a year. I followed the weather. It was a lot of fun and a lot of work, and when it got less fun, I sold the motor home and left the road.
"At around this time I met my wife, Joni, and worked for a company designing educational software. We were living in Winsted, Connecticut at that time. Our two children were born in Sharon, CT and I was painting the countryside around me. I became art director for the software company, and did art and animation on macintosh platform. I continued doing one-man-shows and competition shows as well. I got into four shows in the American Watercolor Society and became signature member. When the computer company moved to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, I moved with it. There I painted the marshes and South Carolina Low Country landscape.
"During this time, I was always thinking I wanted to move back to New Mexico, and paint the desert southwest. Finally, in 2003 I left the software designing business and moved back to Las Cruces. I feel very fortunate to be painting full time, and doing it in some of the most beautiful country in the country. My wife, Joni, loves it here as well. My son, Dylan, after graduating film school in LA, is working as a film editor in Hollywood. My daughter, Leslie, is in her third year at NMSU and will follow her dreams like I did. Life is good, and I thank all of those who have been following my work and career."