Derek Balmer's first public exhibiton was at the RWA in 1956. In 2001 he became the Academy's eighteenth President - he was succeeded by Simon Quadrat in 2010. He has had numerous solo and group exhibitions in the U.K. and Europe and is currently represented by Gisela van Beers, London and Anthony Hepworth Gallery, Bath. In 1965 he won the Prix d'Natalie in Provence and following other successes was the 1983 finalist at the Avon Open Exhibiton at Arnolfini Gallery, Bristol, the city in which he has lived since the 1950's. Derek Balmer was given a solo exhibiton in the Sharples Gallery at the RWA in 1980.
When asked in the RWA November 2000 questionaire about the influences on his work Balmer commented,
'In differing degrees I am influenced by everything within my visual experience. The problem is one of selection. Artists who I admire (but am not necessarily influenced by) are too numerous to mention but of the Ancients I would choose Greek and Egyptian Art, Near Eastern Art and the Italian Primitives. Velasquez, Rembrandt and Goya are artists I admire from the post Renaissance period and in the twentieth century Vuillard, Picasso and Matisse. I am also fascinated by English Portrait miniatures.'