Last time we mentioned that Bill lost his home. We’ll get to that in a minute. First, though let’s answer this question.
What makes the Alexander Method™ special?
The secret is in Bill’s wet-on-wet technique. The emphasis in this sentence is on the word “Bill’s.” You see, Bill innovated the wet-on-wet technique that painters used for centuries. We’ll highlight some of Bill’s innovations in a bit.
With Bill’s technique, you do not have to wait for paint to dry on the canvas between applications. Traditional methods of oil painting often took weeks and a high level of technical know-how to complete a work of art.
When Bill began teaching students, he knew something was missing. He wanted to develop a system that would allow a complete beginner to succeed right at the start. He wanted students to succeed with the least amount of instruction. Bill also created unique tools and paints. Best of all, the Alexander Method™ helped his students develop their unique style. Bill’s method allows you to create original artwork.
How does the Alexander Method™ work?
First, you prepare your canvas with a thin coat of special medium: Magic White™, Artist’s Black™, or Magic Clear™. Bill dubbed his paint “Magic” because it allows you to remove or blend colors — right on the canvas.
Bill states in all his videos that he is not creating a finished painting. He is teaching techniques and continue that idea in Master Class. Students learn techniques that will help them create unique works of art. Painting pretty pictures are not enough for our students. They learn the principles of creating great art too.
The paint is special too!
Bill’s paint is thick and firm. Bill formulated his paint to work with the Alexander Magic Mediums. You can apply color “wet-on-wet” without messy running and smearing. Soupy, runny paint is the reason many beginners fail when they try to learn Bill’s technique. That’s why we include paint and brushes for everyone who enrolls in Master Class. We know you will succeed when you have the right tools.
Speaking of brushes and tools, these were another innovation of Bill’s. Bill’s palette knife is the most copied tool of his. Almost every wet-on-wet painter on the planet uses it. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, so Bill’s legacy continues!
Another innovation of Bill’s was teaching folks how to paint with only a few brushes. Bill limited the number of brushes and removed the confusion that confounds students.
No paint manufacturer wanted to add a line of paint that would work with Bill’s style of painting. Bill had to contract for a batch of paint made to his strict specifications. It had to be thick and rich in pigment. (We’ll explain next time why that was important.)
Bill mortgaged his home to get the money he needed to have the paint made. Bill was so excited because he knew he would have paint that would help his students be successful.
The day arrived. Bill opened the first boxes with the excitement of a child opening presents at Christmas. Imagine his dismay when the first tube he opened was as runny and soupy as the paint he had been buying at the art stores. And then he opened the second and third tubes. The entire load was worthless. His money wasted, the bank foreclosed on his loan. Bill lost his home.
It would be years before Bill would recover from that experience. Recover he did, though. And the rest, as they say, was history!
Next time, we’ll take a look at why Bill was willing to risk everything for the right paint.
Bill’s legacy continues at Alexander Art. Choose a membership and get access one of the most extensive resource libraries on the Internet. Or, enroll in Master Class. Learn the secrets of the Alexander Method™ from Master Artist Tom Anderson. Our mission at Alexander Art is to help you become the greatest artist that ever lived!