Off The Wall Magazine Q&A with William Crosby
Maine. In the 70s and 80s, I took a number of my students on photography field trips to Maine. Then in 1985 my wife, Pat, designed and built a home in Tenants Harbor for the parents of her construction partner. As a result, we spent much of that summer in Maine. Through these experiences we came to know Maine, and in 1989 found land for ourselves along the tidal Saint George River. The tidal flats—good for our kayaking—and the natural landscape of Maine are year-round sources of inspiration for my abstract landscape paintings.
Inspiration.The natural landscape of water, land, and sky.
Medium. Oils until 1970, and then acrylics. These offer a transparent watercolor-like medium, with the more opaque qualities of oils and a fast drying time.
Art Hero. The abstract expressionism of Franz Kline.
Studio. I have a studio in Maine, and another on our property in the Lake Champlain/Adirondack region of New York. My creative space has always been makeshift; I can paint anywhere. My current studio in Maine is in a carriage house, and in New York it’s an unused bedroom. I’ve painted in cellars, kitchens, and, for a period of time, in an old granary building.
Where in Maine. Pat designed our home in South Thomaston on the Saint George River. We built it together, except for the foundation pour and the final roof shingles. Before that, we built a very small cottage with no water, phone, electricity, or septic that we used year-round.
Fun Fact. Our home in New York is a circa-1813 stone house, located on the site of the 1814 Battle of Plattsburgh, which was part of the War of 1812.
Education. I studied architecture at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and earned a BS in Design from the University of Michigan with a major in photography and a minor in painting. I also earned an MFA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, with a major in painting and a minor in photography. I was a college art professor for more than 35 years at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh before retiring in 1998.
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