One of the most profound events for the artist occurred in late 1994 when he viewed the original works of Edwin Austin Abbey’s Shakespearean subjects on display at the Museum of Art at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. It was the first exhibit of a master artist Coombs had attended and it guided his future. “For the first time in my life I could actually feel the emotional impact and power that painting could impart. I decided to seek after those attributes in my own work”. He became a member of Oil Painters of America in 2005 and won the “Hunter Editions Award of Excellence” selected by Dan Gerhartz. The following year he won the best of show “American National Award of Excellence” selected by Peter Adams.