Starting today, the Little Falls Public Library will host an exhibit by artist Bob Willman.
Library Manager Anne Nassar recently talked with Willman about his art, his influences, and his technique.
Q. When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
A. Paintings have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. I think some of the first paintings I saw were the ones my parents brought home from the grocery store when I was about seven or eight years old. They were printed on some kind of cardboard-like material. I believe the store was Loblaws in Little Falls. I can still remember how impressed I was with the paintings, especially the landscapes, and knowing that was what I wanted to do.
I did a lot of drawing as a child and most of the time it was drawing from life. I would glue together a model car and immediately have to draw it.
As far back as I can remember I always wanted to be an artist and musician.
Q. Are you self-taught?
A. I went to Herkimer County Community College and Munson-Williams-Proctor School of Art. I also attended painting classes at the studios of artist Carlton Plummer in Maine and Don Getz in Ohio.
Q. What do you like about watercolors?
A. I like the transparency and the beauty of bold washes that when laid down on white paper creates a feeling of light and atmosphere that no other medium can match.
Q. Who are your Influences?
A. When I went to Herkimer County Community College, Guy Corriero – a great artist and teacher- was the art teacher there. We were very fortunate to have such a great artist and teacher at HCCC. I always knew I wanted to be mostly a landscape painter and Guy’s way of teaching was perfect for the direction I wanted to take.
As for the Masters, I have always been interested in the Impressionists.
American artist I have studied include John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, Andrew Wyeth, and many others.
Q. Are there recurrent images in your work, and what do they mean?
A. For me, it’s important to paint what I know best and that is the area in which I live. I will paint the same barn, tree, field or whatever it may be in different seasons, lighting conditions, times of days and weather conditions. My hope is to capture a mood and sense of place in my work.
My painting draws me into the thing that captivates me. There are times when I’m painting that my concentration is so intense that the painting almost takes on a life of its own. That is a great feeling and a reminder that there is more than just skill at work to create art.
Q. Which of your paintings is your favorite?
A. The next one I do. It’s really hard to say. Many times I will have the painting finished in my mind before I even start painting and if I can use my paints and brush to bring that image out, then that would be a successful painting to me. It doesn’t always happen.
One thing about art is you continue to learn with every painting. It is a lifelong study, much like playing an instrument. There is always so much more to learn.
There will be a reception on July 26th at 5:30 PM.
Willman’s show will be on display in the Library’s Community Room until August 22nd. Admission is free. For more information, call (315) 823-1542.