SFWC Fiesta 2013 is honored to have Santa Fe artist William Haskell as this year’s Featuread Artist of the Year. For this year’s event, Haskell has painted and generously donated “Bound for Santa Fe” a 30 x 20 drybrush painting that depicts many of the elements that he (and we!) love about our unique New Mexico landscapes — our Sangre de Cristo Mountains, our blue skies with a hint of Summer thunderstorms, historic adobe homes and a vintage red pickup truck loaded with cases of wine.
Nestled in a high desert terrain, the villages of Northern New Mexico inspire artist William Haskell (b. 1963, living in New Mexico) to create exquisite watercolors which reflect his passion for this unique and diversified landscape. Weathered adobe structures are drenched in a crisp white light beneath New Mexico mountain ranges in many of Haskell’s colorful watercolors. His focus on detail in his work goes beyond mere description of subject and draws the viewer into the painting for a more intimate connection with everyday forms and a sense of place. Haskell began drawing at the early age of four, and was introduced to watercolor by the age of eleven. He apprenticed to award-winning Wisconsin wildlife artist Terrill Knack, originally intending to specialize in painting birds of prey. Working primarily in watercolor, Haskell has become known for the depth and quality of his glazes.
“Drawing is the basis for my painting and it has been essential for me to continuously develop my drafting skills. With the use of dry brush techniques, I am able to take the watercolor to a different level by working as translucently or opaquely as needed. I use 300-pound watercolor paper with a smooth, hot press finish. I seal, dry-mount and apply an archival varnish to the finished painting. This removes the need for glass, which traditionally protects a watercolor. This allows the user to get closer to the work.”
Haskell continues, “Whether the scene is in the American West or the Eastern Seaboard, I look for a particular element of descriptive history. The American Landscape is a vanishing land, ever changing and evolving with our progress. I believe it is important to recall the past as we live in the present and move to the future. The landscape tells this history and it is important to record and preserve whenever possible. I find it interesting that there are generations that will never see these lands the way we do today. That progress and growth in an area often covers up a rich story that is truly the essence of an area. Across the country we have historic villages and farmscapes that are shadowed by urban growth. I feel it is important to record these areas that not only document our experience but evoke nostalgia for a simpler time.”
“I believe having ones own recognizable style is critical to your future as an artist. Not just for sales but for your place in the world of art. Like every artist, I have artists from the past that influence my work; the important thing is not to imitate them. I am drawn to the sense of isolation, the mood of the work, the soul of the painting. That can’t come from anyone but the artist themselves. You can’t replicate this for easy translation. It dwells within the commitment of the artist to their muse. I also feel you must master the basics of drawing and painting to evolve into your style, and not simply be in a hurry to put paint on surface.”
“Bound for Santa Fe” will be on display at Haskell’s July 5th show at Manitou Gallery in Santa Fe. The painting will be auctioned off at this year’s SFWC Fiesta Live Auction Luncheon on Friday September 27th. Posters and featured art t-shirts will also be available for sale at all SFWC events.