In a William Worcester painting, the serene light of nature is portrayed by canvases of quiet beauty. By subtly altering the shapes of reality, Worcester creates a feeling of being wrapped in the warm glow of the natural landscape.
"I work from nature to create a visual poem," Worcester says. "A painting leaves more to the imagination than a photograph, work with a minimum of detail and paint somewhat loosely and intuitively." The result is a series of tonal landscapes mixed with a subtle impressionism. "It's all about capturing the light...the light as it moves across the landscape, it's almost spiritual when the land is infused with the glow of twilight."
Some of the Illinois artist's landscape paintings depict recognizable places in the Midwest, while others only use locations as a starting point for the artist's vision. Of the latter, Worcester says they arise from memories and experiences from a lifetime of interacting with the landscape and nature.
"In my paintings I try to go beyond a simple depiction of a place, to explore and capture the experience or feeling that the landscape conveys." he explains. "Many of my landscapes start with sketches or photos of an actual place, but then I create a painting that evolves the landscape into how I want to see it and not as it appears in the objective world."
Worcester's life as an artist began at a young age. Born in the 1950's in Oak Park, Illinois he showed an aptitude for art in his childhood. As a child he sketched anything within the range of his inquisitive eyes. "My grandfather met my grandmother at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and my father was an award winning photographer, so art has always been apart of my heritage. I began my art career in the fourth grade where I drew portraits of the Beatles on classmate's notebooks for the amazing sum of one quarter. I thought I was going to be rich and it got me hooked on art for life."
Worcester continued studying art throughout high school and college eventually earning his degree in fine art from North Central College. "I kicked around taking the occasional art course after that. I took classes in figure drawing and painting, at schools like the American Academy of Art in Chicago. During this time I was under the impression that one could not make a living as a fine artist, so I turned to graphic design and eventually worked my way up to a manager's position in a major Chicago corporation." Though Worcester was successful in his career, the urge to capture the world through art never left him. Ultimately he decided to follow that instinct. "I made painting a full-time commitment" he said. He left his job and became a full time artist. Now, he devotes the majority of his time to studio work. "I also spend time outdoors plein air painting," he adds, "being outdoors helps me to stay in touch with the natural world and I feel that experience allows me to import the essence of nature into my art."
Worcester is now venturing into teaching other local artists. He will be leading oil painting plein air workshops in conjunction with a local art school. "I feel the best way to pass the legacy on is by helping others reach their artistic goals", Worcester says, "I am grateful for those who taught me and this is my way of paying them back. I have learned much from studying the work of artists of the past such as George Inness, John Twachtman, Bruce Crane, Isaac Levitan, and Granville Redmond, and it is my hope that I can in some way carry on the landscape painting tradition they represented."
Worcester's serene and light-filled canvases appeal to many collectors. Worcester's work hangs in many corporate and private collections. He is a member of the Oil Painters of America.
"People really relate to the calming quality of my landscapes," he says. "If my paintings add some peace and beauty to the viewer's world then I've achieved something worthwhile."