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  • Writer's pictureRobin Black

Prolific Impressionist Painter William "Bill" St. George & His Equine Artistry

The spirited and inspiring life of talented artist, teacher, gallery owner, and former art director William "Bill" St. George 1939 - 2015


Few artists are able to proficiently paint a variety of subjects both in watercolor and oil. William "Bill" St. George confidently painted Boston cityscapes, portraits, floral landscapes, and dynamic horses, often running through water which was a favorite theme of his to capture on large-scale canvases.


St. George liked to share, “I wasn’t always a full-time painter. I worked as an art director and a graphic designer for many years. While doing ads and creating logos was satisfying, my desire was always to paint. On weekends, or any other time I could slip away, I’d paint. I even moved my schedule around to take classes at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Finally in 1991, after the success of my first one-man show, I decided to follow my dream and made the switch from advertising to painting”.


All along I felt that art chose me and not the other way around. It may sound like a cliché, but it really has given me a way to express my inner feelings and emotions.



"More than anything, I try to give the brightest and purest notes to my color, as if the entire personality of the painting could be found in a single brush stroke. Painting is a process of discovery. Paint, as a medium, lends itself to many surfaces. In a single painting I will use brushes, palette knives, paper towels, any method to get my feelings onto canvas. When I create, paint is the master, and I am its vehicle to the world’s eye.”


From a young age, William St. George was drawn to the power and beauty of horses. By fifth grade, his sketchbooks were filled with drawings of them, and when time was available, he rode as often as possible. Now that early love of horses has been translated into powerful paintings that capture the beauty, strength, movement and mythical nature of these magnificent creatures. “You have to know what a horse is, not just the anatomy,” says St. George, “but you need to have a feeling for the spirit of the horse.”


While the love of horses started at a young age for St. George, the animal took a back seat while working inside Boston offices for several decades. During this time, the subject matter was the Boston Public Garden with its Swan Boats and all the surrounding brownstone style buildings. It wasn’t until his fifth grandchild, Sophie, took an interest in horseback riding at the age of five that the artist’s passion for this majestic animal was rekindled. The two would spend hours at the barn taking pictures of the various breeds. These photos would serve as the subject matter for dozens of his later paintings. The more confident St. George became with painting the animal, the larger and brighter the paintings became.


You have to know what a horse is, not just the anatomy, but you need to have a feeling for the spirit of the horse.


In 1999 William St. George established the St. George Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston, Massachusetts in a 19th century brownstone building. The same building where John Singer Sargent, the leading portrait painter of his era, once maintained a studio. St. George was both inspired and influenced by Sargent's later landscapes. His gallery received first prize in the storefront category of the Boston Mayor's Garden Contest on several occasions, including three years in a row. According to short article in BostonCatalog.com, he "approached his Gallery's garden with the same imagination and striking use of colors as he does in his paintings."


For more than 20 years, impressionist painter William "Bill" St. George St. George hosted his own television show "Impressions" on Walpole Cable TV. He taught on location and inspired countless artists and students. St. George’s son Mike said that his father was a lighthearted, encouraging teacher, who told his students not to be afraid, but to dive right in to painting.



Comments posted online by friends, former colleagues, collectors of his work, and former students reveal the depth of their appreciation for his generosity, humanity and talent. One student named Rachel posted, "I can't paint without thinking of Bill. He was a wonderful man and a gifted artist and teacher." A former advertising associate named Paul shared, "Besides painting which came later, Bill was also a great art director to which I owe a debt of gratitude for inspiring me early on in my career."


As the cover artist of Horses in Art in the article "Inspired Brushwork" by Sarah Crampton, St. George shared, "The ability to produce hundreds of successful watercolor and oil painting is most fascinating to me." He also expressed, "Some people might think that working with speed would be a negative for an artist, but I find it a real positive."


More than anything I try to give the brightest and purest notes to my color, as if the entire personality of the painting could be found in a single brush stroke.


Painting is a process of discovery. When I create, paint is the master, and I am its vehicle to the world's eye.


Liz Ichizawa, Reporter for The Town Common wrote this excerpt in the Menlo Charity Horse Show Guide, 2005 about the sensations she experienced after viewing St. George's horse paintings:

“You can almost hear the horses snort, chomp and whinny in the oil paintings by William St. George. With thick strokes of luscious color, the artist brought to life not only the horses, but the whole atmosphere in which they move. You can see sunlight and water glinting and almost hear the sound of the wind.”


On February 7, 2024 the Walpole Public Library held and opening reception "Impressions"A Retrospective-William “Bill” St. George, 1939-2015.





Click on any painting above in the article or below in this gallery to be redirected to the painting, giclée or canvas print on the page of St. George Gallery for pricing information and to purchase the artwork.



Media Links:


Awards

  • Special Recognition: “Impressions” - Cable TV producer and host for over 20 years

  • Owner of the St. George Gallery in Boston for over a decade

  • “Who’s Who” in American Art, 2008-2009

  • Menlo Park Charity Horse Show - Artist of the Year, 2005

  • WGBH Two Collection Best of Show, 2005

  • Appeared in The Best of Acrylic Painting, Quarry Books


Corporate Collections:

  • Executive Office of Citizens Bank, Boston, MA

  • The Boston Globe, Boston, MA

  • Mass General Hospital, Boston, MA

  • Blue Cross Corporate Collection, Boston, MA

  • Baupost Group, Boston, MA

  • Colonial Management, Boston, MA

  • Grill 23 Restaurant, Boston, MA

  • The Bank of Canton, Canton, MA

  • Kuhns Brothers Investment Banking, New York, NY

  • Related Urban Development, New York, NY

  • Executive Offices of Ackerley Communications, Seattle, WA

  • The New World Power Corporation, Lime Rock, CT

  • Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce

  • Office of the Undersecretary of Finance, Nuevo Leon, Mexico




 


EquuStyleArt & Travel magazine appreciates Mr. Michael St. George, son of the late artist William "Bill" St. George and owner of St. George Fine Art, for providing us with information, awards, and beautiful photographs.


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