The Wapping Group of Artists - Est 1939
Rob Adams

Rob Adams

I was born in 1954 in the County of Worcestershire in a small village called Finstall. My father was a photographer, author, filmmaker and broadcaster, my mother a keen amateur painter of considerable ability. They were both originally Londoners.

I was generally average at school except for art and mathematics so I was told it was inevitable I would end up as an architect. After working for a few I realized that architecture was mostly car parks and not, as I’d hoped, cathedrals! Due to this I decided against it and went on instead to study Sculpture at Portsmouth. This was a disaster as I wished to learn to draw and paint, but all that was on offer was talk… dialectical materialism and such.

I left college with a degree but good for nothing much and decided to move to London and become an illustrator. I scrimped and saved to buy materials and went three evenings a week to do life drawing. I produced over the next 4 years several portfolios the final one of which at last netted me an agent, David Lewis. I spent the next few years illustrating books etc but found I didn't like the business very much, lonely and badly paid. I wrote and illustrated a children's book, which was published in 1995.

When I got an opportunity to work on Film and TV design and sets I jumped at the chance, it was fun, challenging and well paid… who could resist? The next decade or so was taken up with this endeavour. I painted and designed many stage sets for the theatre and made models for some very large productions. I painted vast murals for the VE day celebrations and the Queen’s Jubilee. During all this time I continued to paint en plein-air landscape and architectural watercolours whenever I had the opportunity and the occasional acrylic as well.

Latterly I moved on to designing theme parks, roller coasters etc, and also became involved with Tussauds and their many attractions world wide. My role was usually to do the initial designs and concepts and occasionally shepherd a project through to completion. Latterly I took up oils and started painting more and more. I decided a few years ago to give up most of my commercial work and devote my time to painting, concentrating mostly on the city and its river trying to catch its many moods and beauties.
My ambition with my work is to capture the ordinary in moments of extraordinary beauty. This often means getting up very early! My professional life has left me comfortable when working with many different media, from pen drawing to watercolour.

I have no set way of working, sometimes I will draw a picture out carefully, other times I dive straight in with the paint. I frequently finish work en plein air but don’t hold back from adjusting or amending once back in the studio if I feel it necessary. I often use photographs as reference in studio paintings but am careful not to allow the photographic image to dominate proceedings. My great passion is drawing and I am a regular attender at a local life-drawing group. For me drawing is the bones upon which the flesh of the rest of the painting is hung.

I have exhibited at the RSMA in 2012 and 2014, the RWS in 2012 and 2013, both the RI and the ROI in 2014. I was also one of the finalists for Artist of the Year 2013 run by the Artists and Illustrators magazine.