William Ballantine Dorsey
William Ballantine Dorsey is active/lives in California. William Dorsey is known for landscape and coastal view painting.
William Ballantine Dorsey
Biography from the Archives of askART
The following is from Mary Dorsey:
Biography from Bluebird Gallery
In 1964 William B Dorsey
mapped the Copper River Delta for Fish and Game, tagged the fish in
wilderness area and painted Alaska. He homesteaded in Tutka Bay and
went Salmon seining in the summer and painting in the winter.
His paintings can be found throughout Alaska.
Landscapes of California are 'home' to the art of the plein-air
painter, William Dorsey. The dominant theme in the artist's oils
is the scenery he experienced while growing up in California.
Come rainy season, William would traipse with his father, meteorologist
Herbert Grove Dorsey, on weekly trips along the coast to maintain
weather station gauges. The Dorseys meandered behind locked gates
on ranches, from Pine Mountain Summit to San Simeon and Hearst Castle
when it was still a private ranch, around Lake Nacimiento, and even
along the Melville Mine Road near Big Sur. The trips ended but
not the memories, and hidden trails through meadows and eucalyptus
would become recurrent themes in the artist's work.
Biography from Stewart Galleries, Inc.
That same pristine beauty of the pre-war landscape that impressed
early-day master impressionists similarly transfixed Dorsey. "I
was seeing a lot of California that was disappearing," Dorsey
recalls. His wife, Mary, says that her husband sometimes paints
on location but more often paints from memories. She cites
Harmony, a tiny Central Coast town, population about 10, as remaining
"much the same." But nothing else is so unchanged.
Light and color are essential in plein air, or painting in the open
air. Twilight is a favorite Dorsey time. "It's not painstaking
detail but what you can accomplish in strokes. I try to recreate
a moment," says Dorsey, who paints standing up. "You don't even
have time in that moment to mix colors." Titles of paintings in
Dorsey's portfolio reflect nature and specific locations such as "Grace of Eucalyptus" and "Coachella Valley, Winter Homestead."
Dorsey's father was in the Air Force, prompting almost yearly moves and
major adjustments for a young kid. "Travel was in my blood.
I didn't develop a lot socially because I was kind of cross-eyed,"
recalls Dorsey. He lived in a number of states before landing in
the Southland. Dorsey's attachment to art was clear even at
Nordhoff High in Ojai, where he devised ways to circumvent conventional
classes: "I took two art classes a day and hid the rest of the
time. I created a huge body of work hidden away in Ventura County
schools somewhere, he says.
Fleet of foot as well, Dorsey found jobs, one arboreal in nature.
"I trimmed almost every eucalyptus tree in Ventura County," he
said. "Now, I just paint them."
Dorsey would go on to graduate from the Famous Artist Course in
Westport, Connecticut. But gallivanting about the countryside is
a lifelong habit. "My dad went to Harvard. My mom went to
Smith. My sister went to Berkeley, and I went to Alaska. I
thought that would handle my BA and MFA."
His major influences have been the early California Impressionists, as
well as Alaskan painter Sydney Laurence. The eclectic Dorsey brims with
talent in many other areas, from being a pilot to writing songs (sung
by such groups as the Monkees) and playing the keyboard. Dorsey
calls his wife Mary an important stabilizer. "She runs the other
end of the zoo. If I had to worry about the phone bill, I couldn't
paint." The prolific master can even count posters in his stable of
works, but the medium of painting is still his most cherished. "When
you have one of these scenes, it opens up the world," he says
William Dorsey was born in 1942. As a twentieth-century
California painter, Dorsey has had work in auctions alongside early
California Masters of plein-air painting.
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Dorsey is a 1960 graduate of the Famous Artist Course, Westport,
Connecticut, and is currently a resident of Ojai, California, and Red
Mountain via Homer, Alaska. He was influenced and inspired by
Alaskan painter Sydney Laurence and the early California
Painting oil landscapes primarily of California and Alaska, Dorsey
travels extensively. He has painted and exhibited his work in Stowe,
Vermont; Taos, New Mexico; Sun Valley, Idaho; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; as
well as California and Alaska.
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