WILLIAM R. DAVIS
Oil on panel, 9.5" x 13"
Oil on panel, 6" x 8"
William R. Davis grew up in Hyannis Port, MA. He is a self-taught artist whose oil paintings typically capture the serene light of sunrise or sunset on the water. He employs many of the techniques traditionally used by American luminosity painters to realize his personal vision, showing a marked preference for 19th century subjects.
In 1987, Davis made history with the first one artist show ever mounted at the prestigious Mystic Maritime Gallery in Mystic, CT. In 1990 he received the Mystic Maritime Gallery Award of Excellence and his painting entitled "Calm Day off Latimer's Reef" appeared on the cover of Mystic's The Art of the Sea Calendar in 1993. Three of his paintings were also used in Shipwrecks around Boston by noted Cape Cod author, William P. Quinn. Rockport Publishers included his painting "Boston Harbor at Sunset" in a new book entitled, A Gallery of Marine Art. He has also been included in the latest edition of E.H.H. Archibald's authoritative volume on Marine Art from the Flemish masters to the present. He has a national reputation as one of the best marine artists presently working in the United States.
Much of Davis' early works pays homage to 19th century artists such as James Bard, Martin Johnson Heade, Antonio Jacobsen and Fitz Hugh Lane. He limits himself to about 30 colors in the palette of that period. He describes his style as "A conglomerate of a number of ideas I saw in other artists with my own refinements". Over the years, he has incorporated his fascinations for the different techniques of these artists.
In a tribute to Martin Johnson Heade which appeared in the July 1991 issue of American Artist magazine, Davis refers to sunset as "the hour when night usurps day". He observes that this is the "best time of day for painters to capture the 'inner state' of a landscape" and represents "an unequaled opportunity to sensitize the eye to the delicate mysteries of light and shadow."
Davis has shifted in the last few years to painting more landscapes on location. In the process, he has converted to plein air painting, partly influenced by his friendship with artists Joseph McGurl and Donald Demers.