"Texas Aesthetic X", William Reaves/Sarah Foltz Fine Art, Houston, TX
As an undergraduate, I was fortunate to be able to watch some of my professors work in their studios. Those experiences enabled me to master techniques, know materials, and be free to think about my subjects. I was initially consumed with the human form, but couldn't afford to pay models for extended sessions, so I relied on photos for some of the initial work.
After receiving my masters degree, one of my professors sent me a letter and suggested that I work from life and do away with photographs. I still couldn't afford models, so I began working with random objects in the studio. At first the idea annoyed me, because it felt like I was back in painting 101. The good thing is that I swallowed my pride, and continued. Those words from that professor proved to be the best advice I could have been given. That is how still life became my platform for communicating with viewers.
I've spent most of my life in Colorado, New Mexico, and Texas. Those years have filled me with a fondness and respect for the American West. My family was involved in ranching, so dealing with western subjects felt natural. Although I've dealt with other themes in the past, this is the one closest to home. As a result, I collect vintage and antique items to help illustrate that theme.
In the mid 1970's I lived in Mexico and Italy. Later I visited other parts of Europe, North Africa, South America and Asia. Museums in these countries added to my education, and influenced my work. Ideas change, but my methods of working remain constant. I am a "realist". One art critic described me as a "hyper realist". That process takes time, and invloves numerous steps. I'm more concerned with producing works that reflect thought and quality rather than quantity. I prepare each surface by hand to obtain the feel I like, and in the final stages, will apply glazes to add luminosity and shadows.