Robert Mountjoy was born in Devon and attended Bideford Grammar School. He trained to be an Art Teacher in Cheltenham and read for a degree at Bristol. He started teaching in 1972.
He describes his work as ‘contemporary watercolours’. Painting on stretched paper which has been primed with gesso, he uses multiple layers of watercolour and acrylic to create small paintings that are intimate, intricate and often closely detailed. Paintings are worked and reworked over a number of months, sometimes years. The consequence of this approach is that only a small number of paintings are deemed ‘finished’ and released each year. ‘Composition is everything’ is his maxim and although he turned away from abstraction in the 1980s, forms are arranged and space is organised to a measured plan.
Subjects for paintings are drawn from personal involvement and follow phases or themes. There was a period when landscape dominated followed by a time when he was investigating corners of rural neglect. In recent years he has been working with still life groups, carefully arranging a few key objects in beams of strong light.
Life drawing has been a constant throughout his life as an artist and running parallel to the still life work he has been working on a series of very personal portraits. While a few of these have been shown individually he sees the whole collection as one piece, and is intent on holding them back to show as such.
Robert Mountjoy has exhibited at the RWA most years since 1979, winning the MM International Prize in 2002. He has exhibited with the SWAc since its beginning, becoming an Academician in 2003. He was short listed for the Lynn Painter-Stainer Prize in 2005 and his last one-man show was at Beaux Arts, Bath in 2006.