Artist Bill Davis: Painting Demonstration
Time & Location
Once you have seen a painting by William R. Davis, you will understand why Mr. Davis has a national reputation as one of the best marine artists presently working in the United States. Mr. Davis grew up in Hyannis Port and is a self-taught artist whose oil paintings typically capture the serene light of sunrise or sunset on the water. He employs many techniques traditionally used by American luminosity painters to realize his personal vision, showing a marked preference for 19th century subjects.
Much of Davis' early works pays homage to 19th century artists such as James Bard, Martin Johnson Heade, Antonio Jacobsen and Fitz Hugh Lane. He limits himself to about 30 colors in the palette of that period. He describes his style as "A conglomerate of a number of ideas I saw in other artists with my own refinements". Over the years, he has incorporated his fascinations for the different techniques of these artists. This may be best explained in the works of painter, William Merritt Chase, prominently displayed in his studio, "The most original painters are those who have stolen here a little and there a little from everyone. When they arrive at the levels of the masters, they will find they can do so much better work themselves that they can't help being original".
Although best known for his marine subjects, Davis strives to make his work accessible to those with a variety of tastes while expanding his own horizons as an artist. Davis has shifted in the last few years to painting more landscapes on location. In the process, he has converted to plein air painting, partly influenced by his friendship with artists Joseph McGurl and Donald Demers. During 1998 the three friends painted together in various locations all over New England. The result of their efforts was a show entitled The New American Luminists Revisit the Native Landscape held at Tree's Place in Orleans, Massachusetts.
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