Bill Branch - Artist in Watercolor
Being outside, in the open air (en plein air), with straw hat on my head, white paper in front, pencil, watercolor paints and brushes beside me is the way that I like to create a painting.
Painting outdoors is not always possible, but it is a great method for capturing the mood, lighting, and the essence of a scene that has captured my eye, and moved me to, "get it down on paper." It is also a challenge. Being outdoors, the artist can not control the elements. During the hour or so, that I paint a painting, the sun has moved in the sky, the weather and wind may change, the bugs may crawl across your paper, and people may come and want to view your progress. But that is what I enjoy the most about painting en plein air, the challenge to make art that tells a story.
I have been a resident of Memphis for five years, after having grown up and lived most of my life in Arkansas. I have been creating visual art since his childhood. In my youth, I took drawing and painting lessons at the Arkansas Arts Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. I received a bachelor's degree in the liberal arts from the University of Central Arkansas in Conway, Arkansas, and I did graduate study in studio art and art history at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, Arkansas.
"For many years, I did not actively create art." " It was about 15 years ago that I went on a group tour to Italy, where I saw in person, the great works of art from the Renaissance that I had admired in books." After that, I realized that there was an unused artistic gift in me that needed to be used, and shared with others.
Since that time, I have been painting in watercolor almost exclusively.
During my school years, I learned the mediums of oil painting, acrylic painting, pastels, and printmaking, but watercolor is my passion. "I love the directness, and the spontaneity of the medium of watercolor." "It is also a portable, and an odorless art, all that you need is some water."
I am led to subjects to paint that are architectural and man made, or the great subject of nature itself. My other passion is history, or local history. Since moving to Memphis, I have recorded some of the more recognizable sites of the city. The river and the river town are fascinating to me.
When I have the time to travel, the watercolor paints and paper go along in the suitcase. "I will usually bring home a whole sketch book of paintings done on location from where ever I have visited."
The paintings are a great reminder of the trip, and are a very personal souvenir to bring back home.
Bill Branch's watercolor paintings are in the permanent collections of Historic Arkansas Museum, Little Rock, Arkansas, The William Jefferson Clinton Foundation, Little Rock, Arkansas, the Little Rock, Arkansas Statehouse Convention Center, and Memphis Heritage, Inc.
Bill Branch's paintings are in homes and private collections across the country.