About Rob Shaw
Rob is an award-winning fine artist residing in West Columbia, South Carolina. A graduate of the University of South Carolina (USC) with years of experience in the art world, Rob is a master of palette knife painting, custom framing, art preservation, home and office art placement, and oil painting.
When he was fifteen years old and taking David Vandiver’s art class at Dreher High School, Rob knew he wanted to be a professional artist and began painting daily. As an art studio major at USC, he studied painting and took as many of Boyd Saunders’s printmaking classes as he could.
After college, Rob managed a large art gallery until opening Rob Shaw Framing and Gallery in 2018. When he became a father and wanted to be engaged in the lives of his daughter, Olivia, and his son, Gray, Rob shifted to painting primarily with a palette knife.
“Before then, I was creating realistic brush paintings that required months of time,” Rob says. “They were slow to sell, and the process was tedious. The palette knife allowed me to paint more loosely and quickly and to complete a painting in far less time. The transformation was amazing. I was painting faster, enjoying the process immensely, and selling my work more quickly.”
Rob’s method involves sketching lightly and quickly with charcoal. Then, he says, “I just start slinging paint and moving toward my intended goal as I go.” He uses a big palette knife, starting with the most distant subject and moving toward the closest objects in a source image. For example, with landscapes he typically starts with the sky then moves to the tree line.
Rob never considers his work a failure: "Mistakes lend history to the canvas," he says, and he often paints new works over old ones. He even intentionally alters perfectly good images to lend character to a painting; he will, for example, drag a sheet of plexiglass across a wet painting to achieve certain effects (see, for example, the works Beaufort Oak and Moonlight Stroll.) Rob's work can be seen in many private and corporate collections, including those at First Citizens Bank and the Cultural Council of Richland and Lexington Counties.
In 2005, he won second place in the NBSC Oil Painter’s Invitational, an art show that traveled the state for a year. In 2008, Rob won Best in Show in the professional division of the South Carolina State Fair for his piece Green Mist on Gervais. In 2016, he was juried into ArtFields in Lake City.
What Rob loves most about being an artist is “the challenge of taking a blank canvas and turning it into a work of art that people will enjoy for years to come.” Equally important to him are the relationships with other artists and art collectors. Rob Shaw continues to be a pillar of advocacy in the local West Columbia and art communities.