Thoughts on the past.

Becoming an artist has been a very odd journey for me. I had somewhat of a bumpy start in life. My family was dirt poor during the great depression in England. it was hard times. But we were a very tight family. Four kids. Two girls two boys. My mother a very beautiful and humorous person . My father landed a job on the London Transport. Gold dust in those days. But within a few years , war, the Blitz , evacuations came along and poof, there went our golden days . A brother was added at the end of the war.

I was out of school at fourteen, not a drop out, it was the end of the line. After seven schools I was released into the world of work. The English have a class system, I was at the bottom. It was designed deliberately to have a plentiful supply of low wage workers. I had nothing but menial work. My first job was a theater ticket ad messenger boy. It could have been symbolic. Artists are sort of messenger’s. I would deliver tickets to all the posh clubs in the West End of London. Boodles, Athenaeum, and many others. Old gentlemen seated in old over stuffed armchairs puffing on cigars. The gentry, planning new moves to keep me in my place.

I was conscripted into the RAF. A step up the ladder? Not really. I had o do a test to get into the RAF and I feel I did well, but will never know. Once again menial work and marching. In school I was constantly told I was stupid mainly because I did an awful lot of day dreaming. I was beginning to believe them , But within me I new it was all different. I knew I was destined for something bigger something more exciting. I was right.

I had been stuck in England for twenty two years. I came from ” The Angry Young Man ” generation. One of the Albert Finney’s of the world. I was not going to become a worker bee supporting the Queen and old fogies’ in clubs smoking cigars. I left for the New World . The USA. Great move. Within two years I had an epiphany, I saw art for the first time and how it was made and the environment it was created in. I knew it was my calling , what I had been searching for and the liberation that it meant.. The journey began. I became an artist. I had no money for schools also I had no appetite for them after being abused by them . So I had to go it alone. I hooked up with some artists such as Bob Thompson, Re Grooms, Gandie Brody and Claus Oldenburg. I taught myself art by osmosis. Going it alone, not relying on an education so that I could teach to support myself , I had to rely on what I knew best , how to survive, in the worst of times.

So at 86, how has it all worked out you may ask. It has worked out so very well. With no education in the arts I have had to carve out my own style. I is a mishmashism of sorts. I do not have one particular way of painting say like Rothko, Newman or Pollack. I have no idea where or what is going to happed when I start a canvass. But as shapes and forms appear they release memories stored in the cellars of my mind and surface like good bottles of wine. Here is a work with my Grand Kids enjoying the studio. ” Present and Past” 2016. 64 x 80.

To see more work large and small , go to .” Gallery of painting” at the top.

Nothing but the truth.

My brother, who is a retired professor of English literature, and I have been discussing the meaning of truth. My definition of truth is the absence of lies. That the truth can only be true through ones self. To define it in other ways and other people is not possible. One can only define it within one’s self . Philosophers have debated it endlessly and the end result is the same. Truth unto ones self. Art is not a platform for the truth. Art is an example of mans/woman’s attempt to come as close to the truth as possible. My brother has another point of view. He brings philosophers into it and how they have dealt with it endlessly always coming up with the same answer, it is with ones self that the truth exists. He is a good photography and is using it to understand truth. These are my photographs.

Gerhart Richter. Greatest living artist ? Humbug.!

Just read an article about a movie maker making a movie about Gerhart Richter an artist, painter/photographer. It starts out by stating that he is considered the greatest living artist. Well, he is a good artist, but greatest living artist? No way. I am the same age as Richter 86 and have been painting as long as he has. I am not comparing my work with his that is for someone else to do. It is somewhat like saying Picasso is the greatest living artist while Matisse was still alive. Richter and I spent our child hood living through a war. I was evacuated twice, put in a home once and lived much of my life in an air raid shelter. It was a traumatic time. He managed to go to art school. Don’t know how he managed that. I was out of school at 14. That was the end of the line in those days. I  know so many artists that are as good  if not better than Richter – Bob Henry, Domenic Capobianco, Irene Lipton, Brice Marden, to mention a few.  He is not a breakthrough artist like Basquith, Picasso, or Goya. He is a good artist who is admired by many. But the greatest living artist, no. I don’t mean this as sour grapes. I do not envy his fame. I wish him well. I would just like to keep things in perspective. To see more work go up to : Gallery of paintings.

Formative years.

Well it is almost the end of the year. 2019 is on it’s way. Been an up and down year for me. Was in hospital a couple of times. Still feel a bit wonky. Other than that all has been good. Happy New Year to my readers, even though so few, you mean so much.

So here we go into the New year. No resolutions other than to treat people with more respect and continue on the road to truth.

Am working on one large piece that wants to go on forever. It started with memories of swimming in the river Doone ( Ye banks and braes a Bonnie Doon ) when I was about ten. We had been evacuated to an estate in Ayrshire Scotland and the surroundings were bucolic. So here is a work of people enjoying a swim. I believe my two summers on  the Doon were two very formative years.

All works are for sale. Call.610 330 9925.

Ah Summer !
Bathers, 42″ x 48″, 1998, oil on canvas

“Orchids.”

I really enjoy orchids.

They give much pleasure

but entail loving care

when not in bloom.

I have three plants and they are just showing

signs of coming to life.

 

Most works on this site are for sale. Call: 610 330 9925. for info:

 

Work by Bob Thompson.

I first met Bob Thompson in Provincetown in 1958. I had a friend who opened a restaurant . She invited Bob and I to show work in it. It was a small place hence small work. I remember his work clearly. It was very abstract. Bold orange bars with deep almost brown reds separated with deep yellow bars. It stuck in my mind. I cannot recall my own work.

It was a beginning for both of us. We both went on to show at the Sun Gallery in Provincetown. We were both involved with the incorporation of the figure into a more abstract field of painting. Bob had had the good fortune to come from a very good family that sent him first to art school then on to study medicine. He dropped out of medicine and back to art. He went to Europe after a successful show at Martha Jackson Gallery. My wife and I went to Italy the following year. Finding Italy too expensive we left for Spain ending up in Ibiza. not knowing Bob was there. Using the same watering hole, we ran into each other. He always had a rakish way of dressing no matter how poor. He was a real gentleman. One night drunk out of his mind he berated me about something. Next morning he came by to apologize. One time in New York he came by the studio and borrowed a $100. I thought I would never see it again. But he came by the following week and paid me back.

He left Ibiza. He left half a dozen large works in a farm house he had rented about a mile from the farm house I had rented. I rolled them up and brought them back with my work. He was very grateful and gave me a painting and once a small book of drawings. These small works are gifts he gave me over the years. So, I share with you the work I have of one of America’s finest artists, Bob Thompson.

:There are mysteries in this world”

There are mysteries in this world that are hard to explain. Art is the best formula for this. When starting a painting I have no idea what is going to happen. As shapes and forms begin to materialize they trigger memories of, places, happenings perhaps long forgotten but stored and matured like a fine wine in our subconscious. Slowly a picture forms from the hidden mysteries  in our mind that would lay buried and lost forever if not for art.

My beautiful picture

“Painter drawing”

Looks like Bob Henry. He does some dazzling drawings, he is a master of the ink. He has been posting some on face book lately. His wife, the late great Salina Triff in her last month sat drawing endlessly. She was surrounded by them and sharpie pens. Last time I saw Bob we went through them and he gave me one.

“Coming Apart”

I lived in Ibiza Spain for almost two years. It is a beautiful island with an ancient history. I had a good friend who lived there at the same time, Bob Thompson. He was a great painter I felt it a privileged to know him. In the end we both rented farm houses in the country. It was a glorious place and I learned so much but very little Spanish.

Returning to NY City was a bit of a shock. From the tranquility of Ibiza to the noise and turmoil of city life. I am a Cockney, born in Shoreditch London and grew up in a city. But the transition from Ibiza to NY City was like from heaven to hell. I had a job interior painting in the Bronx and had to travel by subway to and from. I felt at one time on these trips I was coming apart or going bonkers. My wife and I had had a child in Ibiza and were now living in a walk up apartment on the lower Eastside. We were robbed the first night. Finally we found a loft, 25 x 100  Ft. on Pitt St and my feeling of coming apart subsided.

figurative expressionist artist …………………………………………………………… This is a blog by the artist expressing thoughts on his own paintings as well as experiences with others relating to his daily life and life of painting since the 1950s. …………………………………………………………………. Paintings are posted with words from Bill that are as varied as extolling on the successes of his children, JZ and Liza, to the milestones of his grandchildren and on to his memories of fellow artists, collectors and shows. His art and words touch on things like politics, religion and the weather. ……………………………………………… For Bill, art and life are interwoven. ……………………………………. …………………………………