Friday, October 28, 2011

Meet Bill Tomlinson - Figure Artist.

I had the pleasure of meeting Bill Tomlinson at Liz Dinkel’s studio in Belleville, Ontario, where he takes part in a life drawing group.  One afternoon during coffee break, we became engaged in conversation, and when I told him about ‘The Portrait’ and about me being a watercolourist, he told me that he has a friend named Clive Powsey and that I should check out his website. What a small world, for  Clive is not only one of our featured blog artists, but I have also long admired Clive’s remarkable skill as a painter.

 Bill lives in the area known as the Oak Hills, which is north of the city of Belleville, after having grown up in Toronto.

Like many artists, Bill has always had a relationship with the muse. “I've been an artist all my life. Essentially, that's just who we are. As for visual arts specifically, I remember doing a lot of drawing when I was a boy, and moving into oil painting when I was about 12, painting landscapes and women." (Some things never change!)”

Bill followed up his university education by spending several years in Japan where he studied calligraphy,  and by later attending the Ontario College of Art,  in Toronto. He followed his graduation from OCA with a long and rewarding career in teaching Now that he has retired, he has returned to his love of drawing and painting. While he now works in charcoal figurative drawing he has plans on returning to painting in another year or so.   

Although Bill loves art he has recently discovered a newer and greater love. Will married in 2,000 and has a 5 year old boy who Is the centre of his life.

Asked about “eureka” moments in his development as an artist he says; “I remember an incident when I was in university and taking one of my evening painting courses. I got up in the morning and rushed into the room where I'd been painting the night before. I'd been working on a portrait of my girlfriend, and was thrilled to see that I really had managed to paint the golden light of a lamp on her hair, and to see the effect it produced with the blue of her dress. That was an important moment for me.”

Less important, perhaps, but more entertaining, Bill recalls with a chuckle a much earlier incident in 6th grade when he drew hula girls on the back of his hand, and he wiggled his fingers and made their hips and grass skirts swing; much to the delight of his classmates and to the chagrin of his teacher.

 Its pretty safe to say that most artists have a niche or a media which turns them on.  Bill loves drawing the human figure, either nude or clothed. He abandoned painting recently to “hone up” on his skill of drawing the human form.

Bill speaks with fondness and love for art when he says:  “Art has brought me year after year (drawing after drawing, painting after painting) of experiences both frustrating and rewarding. Outside of the actual creation of art, my study of it has been wonderfully rewarding. For example, I remember visiting the drawing cabinets of the Louvre, and holding in my hands an original drawing by Andrea del Sarto, one of the great draughtsmen of the Renaissance. The lines that flowed over and described the figure were like music on paper and I was completely captivated by it. Three months later, during a rainstorm in Florence, I took shelter in a little shop/museum of marquetry where I browsed while waiting for the rain to stop. On my way out, I happened to glance up, and there was my reading boy in a fresco above the door. I felt a thrill of connection that I have never forgotten, not just with my earlier experience, but with del Sarto himself. I still have the sketchbook copy of the drawing I made that day at the Louvre.”

All of which takes me back to my first conversation with Bill.  Bill and Clive shared accommodations when they both studied art in Florence.  Small world, isn't it?

Bill’s work can be seen on his website by clicking here.

1 comment:

  1. Marvelous write up Winston; caught Bill's thoughtful manner to a tee. Dang, I owe him a letter and I didn't realize he had a website so I'm off to check that out. I got a tour of his studio a couple of years back, but haven't seen any recent drawings or painting. Hope all's well with you Winston.


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