When I found the joy of painting
It took me an awfully long time of doing other things before I found painting. I don't know if it was there waiting for me all along, or if I had to move through the other stuff to get there. Painting has been a spiritual experience for me - it is my go-to place. My first painting instructor, Arielle Masson, told me as a new student at the Glassell School that she could teach me how to paint, but she could not teach me what to paint.
What I paint
I am a narrative painter: I tell stories with my paintings. My paintings usually include people or animals. Much of my work is influenced by night dreams and day dreams. No matter how hard I may try to paint a traditional landscape, a still life, or a portrait, it always ends up bent towards some narrative. Why does that vase of flowers have a droopy flower alongside the perfect ones? Why does that person in the room have a mischievous expression? Why does that city-scape in Dallas have a green sky? Why does she hand feed the sharks? Sometimes the narrative is bold, and sometimes it is subtler - I think you are getting the idea.
The driving force
I am a keen observer of people and situations. What pushes or pulls us along? Why is that guy or gal doing what they are doing? What got them to this point? I have noticed that life is all screwed up sometimes and sometimes it is glorious. Much of the time we are too busy to notice that we are just in a moment between the extremes. I would like to think that I have seen a lot of stuff pass by over the last sixty years. That is more than two-thirds of a lifetime, so I certainly hope I had my eyes open. That's what I am compelled to talk about in my paintings. Is there meaning in the apparent randomness? I don't know, but as self-reflective beings, don't we have to discuss such things? Those are the threads that weave through me and bind me to you. I don't care much who you are, or who you think you are, but maybe way down there somewhere, we are all connected doing this thing called life together. If we can just step out of our roles for a moment, we may be able to see each other with more understanding and compassion.
Cultural and family influences
You would not get the full picture of me if you did not know that I was the youngest and only surviving child of three. Neither of my siblings made it out of their teens as my brother was killed in a hunting accident and my sister died at the hands of a hit-and-run drunk driver on the way to her high-school graduation party. Those kinds of things get your attention, and in a hurry. It also brings with it a lot of clarity about what is important. Outside of those tragedies, much of my life has been pretty normal for a middle class Texan in the second half of the twentieth century. I am a fifth-generation Houstonian. I went to the University of Texas where I received a business degree in 1979. I am more than happily married to Andrea. She is my true love, my soul mate, my portable hard drive and my shelter from the storm. I could not even think about doing this art thing without the support of my brilliant and loving wife.
I have been a business owner, a real estate broker, and an investor in my prior work life. I found painting late in life when I enrolled in classes at the Glassell School of Art. The Glassell School of Art is part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. I have now completed over ninety hours of college level art classes at Glassell in drawing, painting, water color, color theory and design. For me, being a painter is not a static place that I hope to eventually obtain: it is a journey of practice, of learning, of evolving and of sharing with others. Swedish psychologist Malcolm Gladwell said it can take ten-thousand hours of practice to master a subject. I started late and I don't have that much time, but I work in my studio most every day and my wish is that I can continue to grow and improve.
I am proud to have had these accomplished professional artists and scholars as instructors:
Laura August, PhD
Anna Tahinci, PhD
That is ABOUT IT for ABOUT ME. Thanks for reading: I hope it was worth your time.
- Bill -
The Glassell School of Art
Past & Present
Past & Present