Painting Houses ~ with small brushes!

A few years ago, I was sitting around with some golfing buddies and one of the guys I didn’t know all that well asked me what I do.  I responded, “I’m a painter”.  To which he responded, “I need my house painted.  How much do you think it would cost?”  The other guys burst out laughing, and one friend chortled, “I don’t think you can afford him, he charges by the inch!”

Even though I have broken out the large brushes over the years and have actually painted houses, bedrooms, and barns, I prefer to use the smaller brushes and paint on canvas.  ☺ 

My latest commission has been a wonderful project.  A client decided it would be fun to surprise his wife with a painting of their beautiful home for her 50th birthday.  The home has a partial stone facade, with clapboard on the rest of the structure.  It has a stately double door entrance and nice finishing details. I decided in order to really capture the character of the house the stonework should be as close to the actual shape and color as possible. So, with the aid of my tiny brushes I painted in each stone.

Thanks as always for your interest in my work!

Commissioned painting by William R. Beebe

Commissioned painting by William R. Beebe

The New Year ~ Playing the Blues but not Singing the Blues!

Quite a few artists are singing the blues these days because of the sluggish economy but not me!  With all of the bad news on TV, I’ve decided to turn off the TV.  I’ve also decided to cut way back on one of my favorite pastimes, golf.  Well before New Year’s Eve arrived, I already knew what my resolution would be for 2013; spend more time in the studio being creative! 

I’m enjoying painting more than I ever have.  I’m working on a small portrait now that is extremely challenging.  As hard as portraiture is, for some reason I’d like to do more.  I’m also enjoying painting Virginia landscapes and can’t wait to hit the road and discover new locations to paint.  Maybe even some snow scenes this winter!

It already seems like I have more quality time to paint.  With the TV off and music on, my painting time is that much more enjoyable.  All of the music seems to rekindle the spirit.  We went and saw the movie Les Miserables on Christmas morning and the music and passion blew me away. 

I’ve always been a person with many hobbies, never single minded.  I don’t want to be at the easel all of the time but my time away from it should be somewhat limited. Here is a colored pencil drawing I drew of me at the easel back in the 1990’s when I was putting in long painting hours painting for MBNA (copied from an original work by Norman Rockwell entitled, Self-Portrait:  The Artist was Faced with a Dilemma).

Over Christmas my wife and I were walking the beach and she asked me what I would like to excel at other than painting, if I could.  The only thing that popped in my head was music.

When we arrived back from the beach, I dusted off my old alto sax, put a new reed on it and somewhat painfully started playing again.  I also watched a bunch of YouTube videos on how to play The Blues on the piano and then opened a few old piano books and started practicing the piano again. 

So I’m trying to teach myself to play The Blues on the piano and saxophone and Jen is now sorry that she asked!  :-)  It’s even more challenging than portraiture.  But for some reason they all seem to go together.  Practicing the piano or the sax a little here and there every day puts me in the mood for painting.  Then putting on CD’s instead of the TV allows me to keep the right brain going and energizes me and my brush.

That’s the plan for 2013!  Work hard, be more creative and continue to enjoy life.  I would like to thank all of you, who are interested in my work, read my journal and have been so supportive of my art over the last many years.  I hope 2013 is a good year for all of you. 

Here’s to good health and happiness and remember, it’s OK to play The Blues but not to sing The Blues

The Boy Behind the Glasses

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For those of you who have read my Big Brother blog, I thought I might tell you a little about the boy in my painting.  The thick lenses of his wire framed glasses tell you a lot.  Mark as a little boy and throughout his life had eye problems.  So much so that he had trouble reading when he was young causing him to have to wear his coke bottle lenses starting at the young age of four.  Even though he was challenged visually he ended up serving our country in the Army and working for the Denver Post newspaper for many years. 

When it came to me, the guy that married his niece, you might say Mark was blind! :-)  He was always 100% behind me, even when I had no clue what I wanted to do in life.  His glasses were always rose colored when it came to me and for that I will always be grateful. 

In 1980, I was newly married and had my Fine Arts/Studio Art degree.  I couldn’t get a job in graphics art because I didn’t graduate in Graphics Art.  I drove all around the DC area looking for an art job and couldn’t get one.  Then I took a bookkeeping job for a commercial real estate developer in which my dad said to me “Are you sure you’re going to be happy?”  I wasn’t. 

I worked there for several years.  I took a temporary landscaping job working for a friend after I quit the bookkeeping job to hold me over until we could move to San Diego for me to go to the San Diego golf academy.  I thought if I’m going to work for the rest of my life I might as well do something that I enjoy (golf).

We packed up our large Ryder truck, towing our car and the two of us and our shih-tzu headed west.  First stop Uncle Mark’s in Denver, Colorado. 

So there I was on a starry Denver night, standing in U. Mark’s doorway after coming back from visiting some family friends, getting ready to say goodbye and move on westward. I was married and unemployed, with no job prospects, heading west to pursue a pipe dream of becoming a golf pro or do something in the golf industry.  U. Mark put his arm around me and said “Bill, I’m just so proud of you!” 

I couldn’t believe he was looking at me that way.  I will never forget and always appreciate his words.  He thought I was going to be the next Jack Nicklaus!

When we later uprooted and decided to move to Maine for me to become a full-time artist, Mark reacted the same way.  He had his home filled with my limited edition prints.  He framed every one with double mats and hung them proudly. 

Here are a few treasured pictures of our Uncle Mark in our home in Maine.  After following his niece and nephew-in-law for years, seeing me finally successful as an artist, he couldn’t have been happier for us.

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Here is another beautiful picture of Mark with his little sister Joni some 60 years after the photo of the two of them was taken. 

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We miss you Uncle Mark!

Rendezvous With Ria ~ One in a million Ria DeWit!

After at least 23 years of being out of touch with our neighbor and artist friend Ria DeWit, my wife and I met up with her in her home in northern Virginia and went to Tuskies in Leesburg, VA for lunch! 

In one of my earlier blogs Still Lifes Solve Real Life Mystery about finding Ria on the artist roster of a prominent Leesburg gallery, I talked about her masterful still life paintings.  I also talked about how inspirational seeing her work for the first time was to me as a beginner painter. 

After all these years, we’ve been reunited.  We spent several hours getting caught up along with getting the tour of her nicely decorated home with some of her early Dutch style paintings, some of her son’s wonderful realistic paintings including a self-portrait, and some of her newest work. 

She has a sun room set up as a teaching studio where she instructs five or six students a couple of times a week. They are so fortunate to have found Ria as a teacher! She is self taught in the ways of the old Masters and a spot in her class is highly sought after!

Accomplishing all she desired with her still-lifes for the time being, she has moved on to painting elegant women with a variety of colorful headdresses in a somewhat illustrative style . 

Her work is inspiring.  It is magical to look at and is no doubt museum quality.

Whenever an admirer of her work tells her that her artistic talent is a “gift”, she cringes.  She sees it as a culmination of years of hard work and a dedication to her craft.  Well, whichever it is, there is something exceptional about Ria’s work!  She is one in a million. 

It was great to see Ria and see where her creativity is taking her.  She is having fun with her work and enjoying the process of working on something new and different.  After she gets her paintings photographed, I will post some photos of her new work as a follow up to this blog.