William Wofford, Jr.
William Wofford, Jr. is a third generation Floridian who lives and paints in the coastal area of central Florida where he was born and raised. The strength of Wofford’s work lies in its simplicity and balance, with his composition being based on design elements that are both naturally and intuitively created within his traditionally realistic paintings. His subject matter often consists of everyday objects from his immediate environment, and it is in this study of objects he has a history with that he finds his motivation. “I have an affinity toward artists who paint subjects and objects that they have daily interactions with. Subjects that are personal, whether they be animate or inanimate, take on a life of their own. They often have more private meaning than many would assume at first glance. The more you can relate to any subject, the more of yourself you can put into it”.
Primarily a self taught artist who has been drawing since early childhood, Wofford’s work has been featured in state, regional, and national watercolor exhibitions since 1988, and he was selected as a Signature Member of the Florida Watercolor Society in 1991.
“At it’s core, painting is the study of the effect of light on a given subject. It doesn’t matter what the subject is, what time of day it is, or what shape or color the object is, light distinguishes, moulds, and colors the subject. But even more than simply coloring or illuminating an object, light stimulates interest, both obvious and subconscious, through its creation of contrasts and shapes. Light and shadow allow the painter to not only represent the subject in an accurate fashion, but also to present an underlying abstraction, combining representational and non representational styling within the same work.
Within my own body of work, I try to represent and connect to subjects familiar to me, and it is the effect of light, shapes, and design created that I am drawn to and strive to capture. These shapes and designs are given greater personal importance because I see and study them day after day, under many circumstances, and draw and paint what moves me. Often it is the same subject at a different time of day. My goal has always been to be able to express mood and feeling through each piece, whether portrait, architectural, or still life, and even tell a story, albeit a private one.
My own home and studio here in Florida have been the focus for many of my paintings for the past 25+ years. The majority of these works have been still life, and architectural, but during this time I have also painted work based on other Florida subjects, including landscapes and portraits, as well as works based on time spent in Maine with friends who lived there. At my core though, I am a native Floridian and my personal history has led me to focus on paintings that motivate me to paint them far less for commercial reasons than for personal. I have always felt that we paint best that which we know best, even if it is only a matter of motivation.
Like most artists, my work reflects the influences of those who’s works I have admired and studied for many years. Artists like Andrew Wyeth, Edward Hopper, and Winslow Homer, as well as Jamie Wyeth, Stephen Scott Young, and Henry Casselli to name a few. Each has inspired me in their own way. We all learn from each other, but, In the end, each true artist must develop their own distinct style. Their work must be their own way of seeing, captured through their own choice and use of technique.”
“Like a number of fine artists who for whatever reason are termed “realist” or “traditional”, William Wofford paints immediately recognizable subjects that speak to us in many ways and on more than one level. These works are at once simple and beautiful. Likewise, they may be complex and narrative. Often his control of color and composition implies, but does not actually include, the figure, an architectural structure, or a portion of a landscape. These may be located just outside of the horizon. In my view these personal discoveries greatly strengthen the paintings. His approach to painting, his skill at his craft, the maturity and confidence he shows in his autobiographical subject matter says a great deal about this artist, his influences, and his life”
“To begin with, Bill’s work has always impressed me with it’s restrained color, elegant brushwork, and deceptively simple composition. His subject matter always seems to include a bit of architecture- a window ledge or a few carefully observed wooden planks- which leads the viewer’s eye along a path of abstract geometric design. Like most successful artists, he understands that a painting is not a representation of nature, but a construction after nature. In his case, the abstract clarity of form is guided by a precise illusionism. These descriptive fragments suggest a larger world, one the artist feels an affinity with. Bill celebrates the poetry of things in themselves, and does so with an economy of means that underlies the very best watercolors. One senses the artist’s warm interaction with the objects of everyday existence, and this quality radiates from all his work.”
Prof. James J. Murphy, Ph.D., First program director of Atlantic Center for the Arts, Independent curator to arts organizations and author of reviews, articles and catalogue essays.
“I have had the pleasure of watching William Wofford’s work develop and have presented his work on exhibit at various arts venues over the years. He is an important Florida and American artist capturing various subject matter from still life, to landscape with subtle color variation changes while recording the unique and dynamic qualities of light in Florida. One of the hardest things I have heard to paint successfully is an egg on the beach at high noon. That type of difficult artistic exercise is what his painting masters so well while telling a story with a sense of place so engaging to the viewer.”