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ABOUT BILL SMITH

Bill was born and raised in a (then) rural area east of Golden, CO. He began drawing with serious intent (copying comic book characters) at age three and painting in oils at the age of eight. His first commission was completed for the custodian at his grade school at age ten. As a kid, he won two bicycles and a nice .22 rifle from the Denver Post in cartoon contests. Sports and academics occupied most of his time in high school and although he didn't take art classes, he continued to draw and paint. Bill graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1970, where he served as the art editor, head cartoonist, and frequent cover artist for the school's "Log" magazine. Many of his irreverent cartoons are still considered classics at the Academy, and are often reprinted in Academy calendars and publications. Bill served as a Marine Corps Officer for five years after graduation from the Academy, and began his avocational involvement with computers while in the Corps. Bill has worked steadily as a freelance illustrator and commissioned artist for the past thirty years, completing scores of portrait, landscape and wildlife commissions and a wide variety of illustrations and graphic designs. He has given art his full-time effort since 2004, and has won many awards in shows and contests, including "2011 Featured Artist" for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, first place in the contest for the 2009 Wyoming Conservation Stamp, "Paint America" Top 100 (three paintings), "Arts for the Parks" Top 100, and "Arts for the Parks" Mini 100.


Besides painting, outdoor activities dominate Bill's free time: hiking, snowshoeing, camping, rafting, hunting and fishing. His love of the outdoors permeates and inspires his art. Bill also founded, and is principal consultant in a computer consulting business. He also designs and builds websites, including this one.



AWARDS

2010 - Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation 2011 Featured Artist (see PRINTS )
2010 - Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival Quick Draw
2009 - Three paintings in TOP 100 of the Paint America "Paint the Parks" Contest
2009 - Honorable Mention Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Premier Art Program
2009 - Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival Quick Draw
2008 - First Place Wyoming Conservation Stamp Art Contest (see PRINTS )
2008 - Jackson Hole Fall Arts Festival Quick Draw
2006 - Award of Merit - Wyoming Conservation Stamp Art Contest
2005 - Top 100 Arts for the Parks
2005 - Stephen Aschenbrenner Collector s Choice Award, Arts for the Parks
2005 - Top 40 and Honorable Mention Wyoming Conservation Stamp Art Contest
2004 - Top Mini-100 Arts for the Parks
2001 - Top 40 Wyoming Conservation Stamp Art Contest


ARTIST'S STATEMENT:

"I like the images I paint to look real, but not "photographic". I want the viewpoint, color and brushwork to say much more than a photo ever could. I paint things that are beautiful, arresting, and meaningful to me, whether it be a face, a bird or animal, an outdoor sporting scene, or a landscape. I try to create works that will engage and please the viewer. I like color that is harmonious, values that are accurate and true, and I particularly like to play warm against cool colors in a painting. I like to vary subject matter, and will usually have several landscape, wildlife, and figurative or portrait paintings underway at any given time. Capturing a perfect likeness in a portrait requires excruciatingly accurate artistic reproduction of reality, but creating a landscape allows great freedom to design and place elements and colors to form a pleasing image. My objectives for the future are to interpret subjects more freely, to create striking compositions, to edit and simplify, and to use more paint, while maintaining a realistic style.

I use a number of different sources for my artwork: my imagination, my memories of something I've seen, a desire to try to paint some completely new and different subject, and photographs when necessary. I usually begin a painting with a rough idea, developed in some small thumbnail sketches. I choose the most promising, and then draw it more carefully in the planned size and proportion. I work out all the particulars in this drawing, and if I'm having problems with some element, I'll try to find some photo sources to help me solve the problem. I may also do one or more small color sketches to work out the color and value problems. While completing the final painting, I'm constantly adjusting the image to ensure that it reads correctly - that it matches some mental image by which I judge whether it looks "right" or not.

Like most artists, painting seems to be something I have to do; I've done it all my life, and will continue to do it for the rest of my life. Beginning a painting involves significant intellectual challenges, and completing a work of art brings great satisfaction of expressing something special about this world we so briefly occupy. It is surprisingly hard work. When viewers are arrested by one of my paintings, and it strikes some chord within them, I consider that image successful. I wish I could say that I'm satisfied with my work, but mastery of painting is a "will'o the wisp" that we painters are doomed to chase. I love it, and will keep up the chase, always striving to achieve that illusive perfection.

Early in my study of art, I was most impressed by the 19th and early 20th century Russian and European artists - Repin, Kramskoi, Arkipov, Serov, Levitan, Liljefors, Zorn, Kroyer, Sargent, Rungius, and a host of others, and I've collected a library of books to study their work. That library has grown significantly in size and breadth, and has been my chief source of information, inspiration and assistance. Over the years, I've gotten a lot of inspiration and help from my contemporary painting heroes Aaron Shikler, Burt Silverman, Hollis Williford, Ned Jacob, Tucker Smith, Skip Whitcomb, Jim Wilcox, Luke Frazier, Steve Datz, Joey Burrough, and John Taft, and I sincerely thank them all."

 
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