Bill Mather (update)

Bill Mather
Bill Mather loves to draw and paint women. If that wasn’t obvious enough from the galleries on his site, he’s named his blog Painter of Women.

I wrote about Mather in September of last year. Since then he has added to his online galleries and started a blog. The blog isn’t frequently updated, so you’ll find more artwork on the main site.

Mather’s site has several online galleries, largely consisting of lively portrait drawings, paintings and painted studies of women in various media: chalk, conté crayon, vine charcoal, pencil, acrylic, gouache and oil. Many of the thumbnail images have additional links below them to detail images in which you can see the surface of the drawing or painting in enough detail to see how the media were applied.

The work he features most prominently, and is more recent, is actually not the work I find most appealing. In the newer work he surrounds his figures and faces with swirls and splashes of texture and wild scrawls of colored line. While it makes for interesting compositions, I find I prefer his work when he approaches his subjects more directly, with just a bit of the graphic enthusiasm popping in around the edges. These images have a great balance of solid draftsmanship, confident application of materials and fun graphic experimentation.

The nice variety of his approach and the freedom of his linework make all of the galleries worth investigating. There are also drawing class figure studies and, if you look hard enough, a section of landscapes.

Oddly enough, what you won’t find on the main site, or on the blog, is a mention of the fact that Mather is a high-end concept artist by profession and has done matte painting and design work for films like War of the Worlds, the Star Wars Trilogy, Forest Gump, Jumanji and The Polar Express. He received an Academy Award nomination in 1993 for his work on Batman Returns.

As a concept artist, Mather is affiliated with Doug Chiang’s Ice Blink Studios, members of which have been the subject of several posts on lines and colors.

Mather also teaches figure drawing at the Academy of Art College in San Francisco.

Addendum: I neglected to mention that Mather has published two collections of his drawings and paintngs, DRAWN TO BEAUTY: Collected Sketches by Bill Mather Vol 1 and DRAWN TO BEAUTY: Collected Sketches by Bill Mather Vol 2. The links are to the excellent Bud Plant online store.