Winters in St Barths.

In the early seventies I had a chance to live the winters in St. Barths in the French West Indies. I had a house in Maine. For three years I spent the winters in St Barths and the summers in Maine. It was ideal. In Maine I had a big studio and painted every day. In St. Barths painting did not seem to fit. I believe it was because I enjoyed sailing and swimming. I came by a camera and found that more conducive for my need to create. Here I worked with dough. Forming a shape and placing it in the sand then photographing it as it rose. There where plenty of land crabs, they came out at night would . I would capture a dozen or so and set them loose on a patch of white sand that I darkened with soot and have them do a drawing for me. This form represented here was derived from the shapes that the painter Myron Stout used in his work.

My beautiful picture
My beautiful picture

Women’s day today.

Here’s to the women of the world. Their time has come and I am with them all the way especially in politics in this country. There is a large group of democratic women in the democratic party to choose from. The old white group of Republican men are terrified. It is time they leave and let some fresh new blood take over.

“Let’s take over the government the old farts time is up”

Responders to 9/11

Loosing the twin towers was a great shock. I lived at that time in Paulus Hook in Jersey City, a block from the river. We could see the towers from our front steps. Every day it was a pleasure to see them with their beveled edges glinting in the sun light. I had planed to photograph them from our roof for 360 days. They changed their appearance constantly.

On the day it happened known as 9/11 I watched in awe as the first one burned. People able to get across to Jersey City staggered through the streets. We offered what little assistance we could, the three T’s toilet, telephone and tea. People were in shock. The second tower was hit and it was horrible. I had a friend taking photo’s from the Path station. A German tourist asked what had happened. Bill told him a plane had hit the tower. No! the German said, not possible. Bill tried to convince him. The German looking over Bill’s shoulder said ” Oh my God another one”. Bill was furious, this guy had made him miss a shot the second plane.

There where photographers all over the place with very serious equipment. I had a regular camera. Medical responders were showing up from surrounding States. They stood waiting to help. Unfortunately few made it across and the medical teams stood by helplessly. I thought I would record their response if only rescue equipment. I took shots of them parked waiting to help. I have always wanted to make a poster of them and send one to every unit. It’s still on a back burner. It showed the very generous and humanitarian spirit of the American people. They came from all over New Jersey, and Pennsylvania plus other states.

There was a huge parking lot filled with cars. The next day most of them were still there waiting for their owners who would never show up.

The art community at 111 1 St did their bit. Truck loads of donated equipment donated from all over the country was unloaded by them separated and stored ready for use. My Daughter Liza came down from culinary school the CIA to cook.

The G-Kids.

I have two grand kids. Ruby 13 this week and Oliver 10. Six seven years ago I got to take care of them quite often. I would pick them up from school and take them right back to the studio. They loved the studio. Kids are natural artists – all you have to do is give them materials and they begin to make images. Very free form. One wonders if their creative forces are not destroyed later by art teachers getting them to be more realistic.

As a child the only class I excelled in was art class. It was the only class where a teacher praised me and hung my work prominently. Picasso was taught at a very early age to paint realistically. I think it took the rest of his life undoing it. I had a friend who had a Picasso. A self portrait of himself when he was about 20. Terrific work. His dad bought it back in the early thirties for $1,000. Huge sum of money in those days. He and his wife and children got chassed out of Germany being Jewish. It was one of the few possessions he took with him. My friend showed me holes in the painting from where he and his brother threw darts at it that they later filled with shoe polish. Picasso went on to break new ground in art, much of it coming from African art and his children’s work.

In many ways I feel that not having any art training was a blessing. My work is free and not hung up on how many fingers a hand has. I have learned so much from Picasso and my grand kid. Here I am in my studio with them.

Looking back.

Orchids
Orchids, 24 x 29 inches, 2014, oil on canvas, $5800.00

Looking back at old work, thanks to todays technology, one can see the journey they have been on. I have a long past to look back on.

My journey started when I was 24. In reality it may have always been part of my being. I was always a very curious child. I would pull budding plants apart, not to destroy them but to see how they were formed. Made a bad mistake one time. I was evacuated to Ayrshire in 1942 to a lord and lady Weir’s estate on the River Doon . There were thousands of plants I looked at there were so many it hardly made a difference to destroy one or two. One spring on my way home from school I came across a plant with a huge bud. My curiosity got the better of me. I pulled it apart and examined the inside. Very beautiful. Cavornes with multicolored parts. My curiosity satisfied I went home.

That evening Lady Weir and her gardener led a group of people she had invited up for the week-end down a wide grass path to show them her plant the gardener had been nurturing . It bloomed once every seven years. All they got to see was a pile of petals. I can well imagine how she , the gardener and special guests felt about it. There was an inquiry. I denied everything. I got on very well with the gardener. I helped him with his vast fruit and vegetable garden. He would pay me sixpence a week. I think he knew it was me. He and his wife had no children and I believe I filled a vacuum. He never asked me if I did it. He knew I loved plants and was always ready to answer my endless questions about them. He made me a beautiful bow, said it was made of rose wood and was what Robin Hood used. The war was coming to a close. We went back to London. That was 1944. I was twelve. That plant would not flower again until I was nineteen.

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

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. ……………………………………. …………………………………