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 William A. Schneider  (1945 - )

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Lived/Active: Illinois      Known for: portrait, figure, landscape and still life painting

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Ad Code: 4
William A Schneider
from Auction House Records.
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following, submitted January 2004, is from the artist's website,

William Schneider is a representational artist working in oil and pastel. He views figures, landscape, or still life as opportunities to explore the effects of light on form. Painting from life, he seeks to capture the feeling of a particular moment and place. He admires the work of Sargent, Zorn, Sorolla, Croyer, Cecelia Beaux, Elizabeth Sparhawk Jones, Ilya Repin, and Nicolai Fechin as well as contemporary masters such as Richard Schmid and Dan Gerhartz.

Schneider initially studied art at the University of Illinois at Urbana. However, upon graduation he began a career in the music business (records on the Roulette, MGM, and Titanium labels). In the '80s, he entered finance and became co-owner of an investment consulting firm.

Returning to his first love, art, he enrolled in evening classes at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1989 but grew disenchanted with the lack of technical training. He learned of the American Academy of Art in Chicago where he studied figure drawing with William Parks and oil painting with Ted Smuskiewicz for the next eight years. He has also studied with Dan Gerhartz, Scott Burdick, Harley Brown, Ramon Kelley, David Leffel, Richard Schmid, Cyrus Afsary and Ralph Oberg. He lives in northern Illinois with his wife Caren and their three youngest children.

Bill is a member of the Northland Area Art League, The Community Arts Council of Crystal Lake, IL, Oil Painters of America and the Portrait Society of America.

He was awarded OPA signature status in 1998.

Awards and Special Exhibitions:

* Exhibit '93 at McHenry County College
* Woodstock Fine Art Fair ("Best of Show" in 1994)
* Acres of Art - Crystal Lake, IL. (second place in 1996 and 1998)
* The Midwest Regional Oil Painters of America Juried Exhibition 1997 and 1998
* Oil Painters of America National Juried Exhibition 1997 through 2000.
* Art in the Barn 1999 - Barrington, IL
* Oakbrook Center Invitational Fine Art Exhibition 1999 - Oak Brook, IL
* American Plains Artists Year 2000 Juried Exhibit and Sale - Midland, TX
* Woodstock Opera House
* The Union League Club - Chicago
* The Tavern Club - Chicago

From time to time, beginning painters have asked my advice. So, here are a few thoughts that I hope are helpful:

1. Draw Every Day
Inaccurate drawing is the number one problem in beginning artists' work. There is no substitute for practice.

Drawing is measurement. As Bill Parks, my life drawing teacher at the American Academy used to say, "How far does something go before it changes directions." Find something to use as a unit of measure and compare everything to it. For example, is the figure you're looking at six heads high or is it six and a half? How wide is the eye compared to the length of the nose?

What is the angle you're seeing? Think of the hands on a clock. Is the nose at 1:00 or is it 1:30? Check alignment. Are the eyes level or is there an angle? Is the corner of the mouth straight below the pupil?

Step back from your drawing and view it from a distance. From time to time, look at it in a mirror. Errors become obvious when you change your vantage point.

2. Paint from life
Yes, it is much easier to use photo references. However, working from photos will cripple the beginning artist. Even in the best photograph everything is wrong. Values, colors and edges are all distorted. The human eye is infinitely more sensitive than a camera. Unlike the camera, you can see in both the dark of a starlit night and the glare of noon or a snowfield. The camera tends to make the three or four lightest values turn into white and the three or four darkest values become black.

Furthermore, since the camera is one-eyed, most photographic edges are hard. If you paint that way you work will look flat; the subject will look "pasted-on."

Color is also distorted by the camera, particularly the color temperature of light and shadow. Color temperature is purely relational. That is, one color is warm or cool only in relation to what's around it. For example, a greenish gray may look quite cool next to a yellow or red color, but the same green-gray may look warm next to a blue. Capturing accurate temperature relationships is essential to creating a sense of veracity.

All the great artists say the same thing "Work from life." I'll venture the opinion that a beginning artist who works predominantly from photos will never get good.

3. Find a competent instructor and listen to him.
"Competent" means that they can draw or paint well themselves. Secondly, they should talk clearly about basic principles: how to measure, how to evaluate value and color temperature relationships; etc. My experience is that "teachers": who spend much time spouting arty abstractions have little to convey.

Follow y our instructor's suggestions. Hopefully, he can see what you need to work on next to further your artistic growth.

4. When your painting is not working
Here is a nugget of wisdom (stolen from Mr. Parks). Ask yourself this four-part question.
1. Is the shape right?
2. Is the value right?
3. Is the color temperature right?
4. Are the edges right?

(You can answer questions 2 and 4 more easily if you squint at your subject and identify the lightest light, darkest dark and sharpest edge. You can them compare all other values and edges to those extremes.)
5. Helpful books

These books may be helpful but remember you cannot grow as an artist by reading about art, you must practice.
* Alla Prima, Richard Schmid, Stove Prairie Press
* Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, Betty Edwards, J.P. Tarcher, Inc.
* Fill Your Paintings With Light And Color, Kevin Macpherson, North Light Books
* Oil Painting Secrets from a Master ( the teachings of David Leffel), Linda Cateura, Watson Guptill
* Oil Painting Step by Step, Ted Smuskeiwicz, North Light Books
* Portraits from Life, John Howard Sanden, North Light Books
* Timeless Techniques for Better Oil Paintings, Tom Browning, North Light Books


William Schneider was honored with an Award of Excellence at the Oil Painters of America 2004 Eastern Regional Juried Exhibition.

Source: American Artist, March 2005

Biography from Tree's Place Gallery:
William Schneider, born 1945 in El Paso Texas, initially studied art at the University of Illinois at Urbana, from which he received his bachelor's degree.   After graduation, he began a career in the music business, and then in finance as the co-owner of an investment consulting firm.  But in the late eighties, his love of art drew him back into a partial, and more recently - after the sale of his investment firm - full time career as a painter.

His further art education was at the American Academy of Art, and with a number of individual teachers.

Schneider is a member of the Pastel Society of America, the Portrait Society of America, and is a Signature Member and an officer on the board, of the Oil Painters of America. 

He has placed in The Artist's Magazine annual Portrait competition the last three years in a row.  He has had works exhibited in numerous national juried exhibitions, including those of The American Artists Professional League, the Audubon Artists, the Pastel Society of America, and the Oil Painters of America.

His work has appeared in two major "how to" books, one on pastels, and one on plein air oil landscapes.

Biography from Dassin Gallery:
William Schneider is a representational artist working in oil and pastel.  Painting from life, he seeks to capture the emotion of a particular moment and place.  Sargent, Zorn, and Sorolla have been influences.

He attended the American Academy of Art in Chicago and continued his education through workshops with such masters as Dan Gerhartz, Harley Brown, and Richard Schmid

Schneider has been featured in Art of the West, Southwest Art, American Artist, International Artist, The Pastel Journal, and The Artists' Magazine.  In addition his paintings have appeared in numerous books including: The Art of Oil Painting, Pastel II, Pure Color: The Best of Pastel and 100 ways to paint People & Figures.

He has received awards in exhibitions including those of Oil Painters of America, The Pastel Society of America, Portrait Society of America, and Salon International.  Schneider was awarded signature status in OPA in 1998, American Plains Artists in 2004, NOAPS in 2005 and the Pastel Society of America in 2007.

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