Bill tells a couple of stories in his autobiography when he got in trouble because of his style of oil painting.
A gallery owner was explaining to a potential customer how long it took Bill to create a painting. Bill overheard the conversation and ran into the showroom. “Oh no,” he said. “It didn’t take me long at all to create that painting. In fact, you can do it, too.”
You can imagine how upset the gallery owner was. Bill most likely cost the owner a sale. The story highlights an important fact. Bill was working on developing his technique from the earliest days of his career.
Bill developed his method of painting not to show off how fast he could paint. He writes in his autobiography about the moment when he came to an important decision. He realized he had to change his method of painting if he wanted to make a “happy buck.” Traditional methods of oil painting took too long. Bill realized the answer was the wet-on-wet painting method. It would allow him to work faster — while the painting was still wet.
Bill, though, didn’t stop there.
Bill brought back the Old Master idea of mixing paint on the canvas. Bill created Magic White™ to help with that technique.
Bill also brought back the big brushes of the Old Masters. He did not create tiny details in his paintings with tiny brushes. He used big brushes with tiny bristles that would create many tiny details with one brush stroke.
Bill innovated the design of the palette knife. The knife allowed him to create tiny details when he created his signature mountains.
Bill did not create twenty-eight-minute masterpieces during his early career. Bill created studio paintings like other artists. By using these techniques, he created them faster. This way he could sell his paintings at a price that folks could afford. He could still make a profit.
Bill was proud of his technique, and it hurt when people criticized him for it. As Bill says in this clip (and in many of his videos) it took him a lifetime to learn how to paint fast.
What made Bill the proudest was that he brought this method to his students and fans. Bill wanted to share this great technique with the world. It hurt him that other artists looked down their noses at him. He didn’t want their short-sighted notions to stop aspiring artists from learning to paint. Bill knew that students would be successful. They had to take a chance and grab the opportunity he offered them.
Bill knew that art could make you rich. It is a richness, though, that is much more than money. Bill knew that painting enriches one’s life. He knew his students would see the world in new ways. Bill knew they would experience the world as never before. He knew they would want to share their happiness and fulfillment with others.
Bill’s plea is still valid today. The chance of your life is right before you. Please don’t miss the opportunity to be all you can be — not only as an artist but as a human being. Art will make you rich beyond your wildest dreams. It is wealth that you can never lose. No one can steal it from you. You have an infinite supply that you can share with others. Art can help you reach your highest goals.