Artists Statement & Background


“Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature”.

Those words were written a little over two thousand years ago by the Roman author, orator, & politician, Cicero. To me that short sentence speaks volumes. By the time I was 14 years old I had no doubt that art was the vehicle through which I would study the natural world. Two interesting discoveries were made while undertaking that study. The act of focused observation gains one insight into the outer structure of things which in turn makes it possible to draw and paint believable representations of them and second, with the mastery of craft comes freedom, the freedom to explore ones inner world, the world of imagination. When these come together the results are a melding of ones personal impression and our shared visual view of the world. It is my goal to avoid making art that leaves the observer visually clueless or doubting of their own inherent ability to see the artistry in what they observe and investigate.


My father was an artist and I grew up always believing that I was one as well. With the help of books, practice and my father, I learned the way of the craftsman artist.  Some might define this as "self taught" but that is a little misleading, I did not reinvent or learn anything in isolation,  I read, or listened, to what the skilled and talented had to say or demonstrate, and then I practiced that until I began to make their understanding my understanding. 

In my early twenties I began my career as an Illustrator. Artists like Normal Rockwell, Frank Frazetta and Zdenek Burian featured highly in my mind, as did fine artists like Rembrandt, Claude Lorrain, Frederick Church, Thomas Cole, Jean Léon Gérôme,  and a host of others to numerous to list here. From Illustrator to Art Director and then to portrait artist, it had always been my desire to explore this world with the best examples of what art is able to achieve. That is my journey and in this web site you the viewer will be able to judge with your own sensibilities as to whether my explorations here helped or hindered your interest and enjoyment of our shared visual experience.  

Robert Isler Wanka