Robert W. H. McCoy, born in Colorado Springs,1946
My mother's family arrived in Colorado Springs in the 1870's by taking a cutoff from
the Oregon Trail. Some of their possessions from that trip are in the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. My great grandfather, George W. H. DeWitt, started a dairy farm on land that is now part of Colorado College, and two of his sons, Scott and Leonard, started the Ox-Bow cattle ranch between Pueblo and Walsenburg.
My father's family were Scottish farmer's who arrived in North Carolina in the mid 1700's due to the Highland Clearances. My 4th great grandfather, John McCoy, fought in the American Revolution. In 1798, he and his family obtained a passport to settle in Tennessee, and after his death, the family began migrating west, settling in Colorado by the1880's.
I spent my formative years in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the 1950’s. That experience gave me an appreciation for both Native American and Hispanic cultures, and exposure to their works of art. My two best friends were Navajos whose families lived at the Indian School. Later we moved to San Antonio, Texas where I began studying painting with Warren Hunter, a noted artist and illustrator.
After serving in the Air Force during Vietnam, I continued studying painting at the University of Houston, receiving a BFA degree in 1974. Upon completion, I was accepted for graduate work at several universities, however, I was also given the opportunity to live and teach in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for a year, which I chose. That experience gave me exposure to the original paintings and murals by famous Mexican artists, and life within a different culture. At the end of the year, I was given the same opportunity to live and teach in Rome, Italy. Those experiences were unique and had a profound influence on my work. After returning to Texas, I was accepted in the graduate program at the University of Houston, and received a MFA degree in 1981.