Many years ago I read “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill. For those of you not familiar with this book, it was Mr. Hill’s life’s work, a twenty-year study of the secret of success. Andrew Carnegie, the founder of United States Steel, bargained with Mr. Hill that if he would devote his life to the study of the secret of success, he, Mr. Carnegie, would give Mr. Hill introductions to the most successful people of his time. These were people like Henry Ford, George Westinghouse, Thomas Edison, John D. Rockefeller, and J.P. Morgan. This was the same secret that Andrew Carnegie himself had used to amass one of the largest fortunes in the world. It was Carnegie’s wish that everyone know this secret so that they would, in his words, “…not go through life as failures.”
In the preface to the book, however, Mr. Hill makes this cryptic statement: “The secret to which I refer has been mentioned no fewer than one hundred times, throughout this book. It has not been directly named, for it seems to work more successfully, when it is merely uncovered and left in sight, where THOSE WHO ARE READY, and, SEARCHING FOR IT, may pick it up.” (Mr. Hill’s emphasis.)
As a young person, I must not have been ready for the secret of success because I know, for sure, I was “searching for it”. Yet it eluded me. It was only, many years later, that I began to understand why.
I recall watching my grand-daughter learning to walk. Her hesitant first steps gave way to more steady and confident ones until, now, it is hard to keep up with all her exuberant energy. Just as we would not expect an infant to run a one hundred yard dash before she can walk, we cannot expect to receive information (secret or otherwise) until we are ready.
Bill only had about 27 minutes to create a completed painting and to share his thoughts on painting , creative power, even the meaning of life. In many of his T.V. shows he often commented that he wished he had more time to show us more of his techniques. It is remarkable, though, how much he got across in that short period. Unfortunately, there was a lot more that he had to leave for us to discover on our own. I’ve come to realize that, if we are persistent and patient, those secrets will reveal themselves. But you still have to walk before you can run.
But it is not enough just to watch Bill paint. The purpose of Bill’s videos was to show you that YOU could paint. Bill’s techniques make painting accessible to everyone. A degree in Fine Arts or great drawing skills is not required. Bill understood, at a very deep level, which I don’t believe many folks realize, that not only could art empower individuals but also that individuals needed empowering in the first place.
I mentioned that Bill’s comments in the video are applicable today. I say that because he talks about people having to take drugs in order to feel happy. He also mentions that others, because they mistakenly believe they are or cannot be creative, seek to express themselves in other ways such as the clothes they wear, their hairstyle or just plain silly behavior. Bill believed that the simple process of creating would bring people happiness without silly accouterments, false pretenses or drugs (legal or not).
Bill’s life story is remarkable. Born during the turmoil of World War I, he grew up in the aftermath of the Great War, much like children that are growing up in the tumult of the Middle East today. I believe that Bill would have been able to relate to those children. So when Bill speaks, he speaks from a past that could have easily turned many people toward the dark side of life. Yet, through it all, Bill became an incredible, creative beacon for us all.
And so it is not enough just to watch Bill. You need to answer the challenge that Bill throws at all of us — to pick up the paintbrush and begin your own art journey. Will it be difficult? Of course, anything of value is worth the effort to achieve it! It is the pursuit of the goal that is as important as the goal itself.
It is hard not to become excited when Bill talks about the “Almighty Creative Power” and being “next to God”. I have never, quite frankly, ever heard another artist express, with such enthusiasm, the joy that art brought them the way Bill did. I long to experience that joy for myself.
Although Bill is gone, he lives on in his paintings and his videos. His spirit is as alive today as it was twenty years ago. His story endures and inspires any of us who care to listen and learn.
Join us because we have a great journey planned for you and Bill will continue to lead the way.
You can paint, we promise!
Bill Alexander was more than a painter. He was more than an artist.
When you watch Bill’s videos you will not only see someone who paints beautiful images; but, if you listen to what he says while he is painting, you will learn what makes Bill’s contribution to art so very important.
As a kid I loved watching cartoons. In fact, I still do. I grew up with the cartoons of Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, and Woody Woodpecker. But my favorite cartoon character was Popeye the Sailor. I loved Popeye because of what he said “between the lines”. Some folks might call it “muttering”; but Popeye’s “mutterings” contained true pearls of wisdom and were an expression of his views of life. If you weren’t paying attention, you wouldn’t hear them and they would be lost forever.
When I watch Bill paint it’s as much for his philosophy and words of wisdom as it is to learn how he creates his images. This is what makes Bill’s work so very important for all of us who care about him and are interested in furthering his work.
Bill’s greatest contribution to art was not his paintings, although they are wonderful images conjured up in the mind of a truly imaginative genius.
Bill’s greatest contribution was not his television shows although they were important in getting him known and exposing his work to a broader audience than the hundreds of folks who would flock to the shopping malls to watch him paint early in his career.
Bill’s greatest contribution was not even the model he gave us of his own life and career as interesting and astounding as that was.
Bill’s greatest gift to all of us was to show us that we could create art; that we could become the artist. That we had, within us, an ability to express ourselves in a creative and imaginative way that would empower us to become greater than we dare believed we were.
I have watched many, many artists on YouTube. What I find interesting about most of them is that they really show you little more than how well they paint. I wonder how many folks, after watching some of these painting demonstrations actually pick up a paint brush and start their own art journey. I’m sure there are a few; but it was Bill’s dream that every single person he met would pick up that brush and begin to paint.
In the most recent video we posted on YouTube with the late artist Diane Andre, Bill states, very clearly, his concern about being “only one Bill Alexander”. It was during this period he began to build a training program which would include a cadre of artists who would sweep across America and the world training more and more people to paint.
I truly believe, in Bill’s heart, he felt that painting and art would free people from the chains of fear, inadequacy, and self doubt that he, himself, experienced in his life. Painting would help them become confident, creative individuals who would not only create art for themselves, but would become so excited about their new skills that they would want to continue their journey by teaching others what they learned and experienced.
We know that in order to become better at anything, you need to teach. Only by teaching will the lessons learned become an integral part of your very being. Only by teaching will you reach your fullest potential. Only by teaching can you truly empower another human being to become all they can be.
I have no doubt that if Bill could have taught every single human being on the planet, one on one, to paint, he would have done it. But he couldn’t. However, in the video he also introduced us to the beginnings of the Alexander Certification program.
Near the end of his career, Bill extracted a promise from Laurie to continue his work after he was gone. This is a promise we take very seriously at Alexander Art. It is our driving mission and in the coming months you will see how very serious we are about this!
Bill’s entire life was about giving to others. You can see that in every video he made. The words of encouragement to his viewers to “fire in” with that paint brush, the lightheartedness while he worked to show how enjoyable painting was, and the glee he exuded as he poked fun at the blank canvas were as important as the paintings themselves.
Join us in our campaign to empower old and new students alike with the Bill Alexander method of painting. Help us wake up the creativity that lives in all of us. And help us spread Bill’s mission to everyone on the planet.
You Can Paint, We Promise!
Bill is Back! After many months of planning, creating, and discussion, Alexander Art is proud to announce the launch of our new website. Welcome, stop by and take a look around. The site is designed to showcase Bill’s videos from his television shows and our wonderful Alexander Certified Instructors who carry on Bill’s legacy.
You will notice a lot of Bill’s Paintings on the site and there are many, many more to come. This is Bill’s site and we want to feature his work. We will also feature the work of many of the artists who got their start with Bill.
This site, in addition to providing a lot of information about Bill, his work and his philosophy of life will also be a center for our Alexander Certified Instructors.
Our plan is to feature one ACI each month with a short bio concerning their art background and a small gallery of their artwork. We are also working on even more ideas which we believe will make the Alexander Art Certification program absolutely the best one of its kind in the industry. ACIs, watch your email inbox for more information on our upcoming programs.
We are also interested in hearing from you, our ACIs, and will be sending you a survey soon asking for your input which can help guide us going forward. If it has been a while since we have communicated with you, please fill out our contact form and let us know your current email address. You will not want to miss out on a single bit of news.
For those painters not yet certified, please call us today and let’s get started.
The site is still under construction and will continue as we add new sections and expand existing areas of the site. So stop back often and see what is going on. You won’t be disappointed!
Learn to Paint
“The Alexander Collection” Digital book includes over 300 projects. Full color instruction. Click Here!