Bob Tompkins was born in Greenville, Mississippi in 1943. He attended Delta State University and became a serious student of art, earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Art Education, followed by a Masters Degree in Art Education from Delta State University as well. In 1966 Tompkins completed his first year as an art teacher in the public schools of Jacksonville, Florida. While in Florida, he began to study under the skilled instruction of artists Courtney Hunte and Cleve Miller.
Tompkins returned to the Mississippi Delta to teach art at Greenville High School. During the summers of 1971 and 1973, he traveled to Madison, Connecticut, to study with the great American painter Robert Brackman.
Tompkins patterned his style of painting after the Old Masters of the Baroque period by playing light against dark. “Few things excite me more than the contrasting of light and dark.”
Besides his still-lifes, Tompkins also paints wildlife, landscapes, skyscapes and portraits. In 1973, he won the Southeastern Art Show in Panama City, Florida.
Being an avid hunter, Tompkins began to put his kills and catches into his still-lifes, and eventually he started to paint them alive in their habitats. In 1980, he won the prestigious Mississippi Duck Stamp competition. In 1988, he was again chosen to be on the stamp-print series. In 1983, he was selected to be on the first Mississippi Wildlife Federation stamp-print series.
Co-founder of the Mississippi River Publishing Company, Tompkins illustrated and published four outdoor books.
In 1993, Tompkins left the Delta and relocated in Jackson, Mississippi, teaching in the Jackson school system. In October, 2000, after retiring from 35 years of teaching in the classroom, he began an oil painting instruction school. The 5000 square foot state-of-the-art studio has provided a forum for artist throughout the state to advance their oil painting talents through his instruction. Students are also afforded the opportunity to take three day workshops from visiting artists throughout the United States.