View Full Version : Bill Hosner

05-06-2007, 02:34 PM
Has anyone taken a workshop with Bill Hosner? I just bought his DVD painting figures plein aire. I am wondering what surface he is painting on? it looks like white Wallis, but his technique is so direct that I wonder if it is another paper. He does no underpainting or laying in with hard pastels or such. Would love to have more information but he does not offer an e mail address for such inquiries.


05-06-2007, 02:56 PM
i think i read somewhere that he does use wallis, but that's odd it doesn't say on the dvd! maybe you can find his website and ask there

Deborah Secor
05-06-2007, 04:58 PM
Let me look at my interview notes and get back to you. I did a feature for The Artist's Magazine on Bill a couple of years ago.


Deborah Secor
05-06-2007, 05:01 PM
Here's part of the article:

He sometimes tones the entire sheet of paper with one color, or with large blocks of color, or he may work on an untoned, white sheet of Wallis paper. “There’s a purity to the white. I can get cleaner colors. I prefer the Professional grade, which is a little rougher and less refined than the Museum grade. It allows me to work into the paper longer and I can get a dry brush effect. The white lets little sparkles appear, even in the shadow areas. I like the way that bit of sparkle across the whole painting ties it together, though I have to be careful not to let it get distracting in the shadow areas. Working on pure white is pretty unorthodox, and I don’t suggest it for beginners, but it’s my favorite way to work.”

His unconventional beginning utilizes some well-considered and traditional steps, however. “I do a proportionally correct but un-detailed drawing of the big shapes, for placement only. Then I like to establish the center of interest where there’s a dark value and a sharp edge, and paint out from there. I find the lightest light, darkest dark, the most chromatic color, and the sharpest edge. I’ve trained my eye to see shapes and their values accurately enough to separate them out from the subject and paint them, even if they’re still surrounded by a lot of white.”

Hosner’s palette consists of several brands of soft pastels, ranging from hard to very soft. “I probably have one-third to one-half Rembrandt and the rest are Unison, Ludwig, and Sennelier. At one point I found I didn’t have enough darks, so I added quite a few. I select a pastel stick to use in my painting based on its color and value, not hardness or brand. Materials aren’t consequential to me. I decide what I want to do and then find the right material to do it. “

In his five-day workshops Hosner’s emphasis is on classical Impressionism. He demonstrates how to paint the figure, still life, and landscape using pastels, although he accepts students who work in a variety of media. “I don’t consider myself anything but a painter. In my workshops I teach technique, so it’s exactly the same approach for any medium. Everything is explained by the light. It dictates what you do where, whether it’s a gray day, a sunny day, evening or morning, indoors with north light, or outside in bright sunlight. It’s a way to see and think. So often when I’m painting I’ll think, ‘Ah, yes, that’s why it’s that way!’ I’m a very honest painter. I’ve become an interpreter of the information that comes to me very directly. You get different things from the direct read of something. You know, it’s a bloody battle out there and you can’t always win. I either come in bloodied having won or bloodied having lost, but always bloodied,” he notes dryly. “Simplifying is still the hardest part. I really subscribe to the idea that less is more, and I try to paint what I see, not what I think. It gets easier to see more, the longer I look. Seeing takes practice.”
(c) Deborah Secor


Hope that helps...it's info from 2004.


05-12-2007, 09:12 AM
Thanks, Deborah, that reads like exactly what he is doing on the DVD. Unfortunately, the DVD (see latest Pastel Journal) is sold through another source and there is no email contact on his website. Also, he seems to have removed all references to any workshops he is holding on the website. It is necessary to call to get any information (long distance).

Kind of poor planning, don't you think?

05-12-2007, 09:22 AM
Deborah, could you give me info re: which 2004 issue it was in? Would like to order an archive copy.

Deborah Secor
05-12-2007, 11:10 AM
I'll see if I can talk to Bill today and find out what's up with his workshops and e-mail for you and others.

The article was in the January 2005 issue of The Artist's Magazine.


05-18-2007, 04:05 PM
Have you tried Goggling him? Lots of links to his material including his site: