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 E. Colin Williams  (1935 - )

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Lived/Active: British Columbia / Canada/Australia      Known for: landscape, mural painting, printmaking

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Ad Code: 4
AskART Artist
from Auction House Records.
Rocky Mountain Lake Scene
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
The following information was submitted in August of 2006 by Nicole Tate-Stratton, the artist's daughter.

E. Colin Williams, NDD, A.R.C.A.

Born in 1935 in Ryhope, U.K., E. Colin Williams has worked in all media and is an accomplished printmaker, but most frequently paints with oils and in a representational manner.  From his earliest years, E. Colin Williams never saw himself as separate from the landscape that contained him.  Some of his earliest sketches were like simple topographical maps, others were drawings of the world around him – the pit heap in Ryhope, the docks at Sunderland, the rugged coastline and the North Sea.  As a child he drew obsessively: the streets of the village, the sea, the coast, the farms, fields, roadways, and rocky outcroppings of the County Durham of his childhood.  By the time he was fifteen, there was no doubt he could ever be anything other than an artist.

Between 1952 and 1961 (with the exception of two years of compulsory military service), Williams studied art at the Sunderland College of Art and the Royal College of Art in London on full scholarships, graduating with a degree in Painting in 1961 and receiving the designation of ARCA (Associate of the Royal College of Art). 

In 1962 Williams moved to Australia where he taught at the National Art School in Sydney from 1962-1969.  During his time in Australia, the artist won thirty juried art prizes (including the prestigious Mosman Art Prize) until he was asked to stop entering the competitions and serve as a judge himself.  Williams also exhibited in numerous group exhibitions and one-man shows including at the Darlinghurst Gallery, Dennis Gittoes Studio, Dominion Art Gallery, and the National Art School.

In 1969 Williams was invited to become the first Artist-in-Residence at the Banff School of Fine Art (now the Banff Centre).  Exhibitions soon followed in Banff, Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.  Williams’ intimate depictions of the Canadian landscape soon found homes in some of Canada’s most well-respected public (the National War Museum, the Lord Beaverbrook Gallery), corporate (Sony Canada, IBM Canada, the Royal Bank of Canada), and private collections.

In 1974, Williams was selected to participate in the Canadian Armed Forces Civilian Artist Program. This trip resulted in a one-man show at the Currie Barracks near Calgary that featured sketches and oils recording the day-to-day work of Canadian forces in the Middle East. 

Between 1975 and 1988, Williams exhibited widely in the USA and Canada with works being selected for inclusion in exhibitions as diverse as the National Oil Industry Art Exhibit at the Mitchell Museum in Mount Vernon, Illinois and various galleries across Canada.  Paintings were selected for reproduction by organizations like the Calgary Flames, the Canadian Olympic Committee (limited edition commemorative lithograph of Mount Allen), and the Royal Trust.

In 1987 Williams began to work as a muralist, and since then has completed numerous works on a grand scale in BC, Alberta, Washington State, Illinois, and Nevada.

Following several years of caring for his wife during a lengthy illness and later, recovery from his own open-heart surgery, Williams has returned to the work he enjoys most – exploring the landscape through the creation of large oil paintings.

Colin's main subjects are land- and cityscapes, occasionally with industrial themes. While on assignment for Canada's National Defense Department, his paintings incorporated military personnel and equipment. In Australia, Williams was the winner of numerous art prizes and, more recently, he was awarded a medal in Florence at the Caterina d'Medici International Painting Competition.

Williams' work has been reproduced in a number of limited edition lithographic reproductions including a sold out edition of Mount Allen, created to commemorate the opening of the 1988 Olympic Games in Calgary, Alberta.

In 2002, Williams' design won an open competition judged by the Chicago Art Institute for the inaugural mural in the Ottawa, Illinois mural program.  The historical theme depicts the role of the Pelletier Glass factory in the city's development.  Other commissions with historical themes include a 7'6"x 35' mural for the Chemainus (British Columbia) Festival of Murals, a 7'x 14' wall painting for The Calgary Exhibition and Stampede, and the first mural to be painted in Ely, Nevada. In 1988, Colin produced a 14'x 45' mural for the Centennial Mural Society, Long Beach, Washington.  In 1990 he carried out a commission for the LacLaBiche, Alberta, Historical Society, tracing the area's commerce from its beginnings in the fur trade through to 1920.

Illustration and Design:
Using a humourous cartoon-style, Williams illustrated Wordplay (Sono Nis Press, 1997).  Williams also provides the illustrations for the syndicated Wordplay columns that appeared in newspapers from Victoria to Calcutta and Papua New Guinea.  His line drawings illustrate the novel, Battle for Carnillo by Nikki Tate.  He has also created designs for projects as diverse as corporate logos, commemorative coins, parade floats, and stage sets.

1952 – 1956    Studied at the Sunderland College of Art, U.K, receiving the National Diploma in Design (NDD) and Teacher's Certificate.
1956 – 1958    Compulsory Military Service, including 18 months' active service on Cyprus
1958 – 1961    Studied at the Royal College of Art, London, U.K., receiving ARCA (Associate of the Royal College of Art)
1962 – 1969    Taught at the National Art School in Sydney, Australia
1969 – 1971    Artist-in-Residence at the Banff Centre, as well as sessional instructor at the University of Calgary, Alberta
1971 – 1977    Worked as full-time artist
1977 – 1982    Artist-in-Residence at Keyano College, Fort McMurray, AB, also developing new programs, such as University Transfers
1982 – on  Working as full-time painter from his home in Victoria, B.C., Canada.

Some of the collections in which the artist's work may be found:
The National Collection, Canberra, Australia
The Canadian War Museum
Alberta Art Foundation
Lord Beaverbrook Gallery, N.B.
University of Ottawa
The Banff Centre
Keyano College, Fort McMurray, Alberta
Government of the Province of Alberta
Royal Canadian Legion, Alberta Command
The Devonian Foundation

Royal Bank of Canada, Vancouver; Bank of Montreal, Calgary; Banque du Canadien Nationale, Montreal; Royal Trust Company, Calgary; Foothills Hospital, Calgary; Shell Canada Resources; Dome Petroleum; Petro Canada; Syncrude Canada; Nabor's Drilling; Hudson's Bay Oil And Gas; Canada City Services; Gulf Oil Canada; Canadian Superior Oil; AMOCO Canada; Chevron Canada Resources; Alberta Energy Company; Pan Canadian Petroleum; Sceptre Resources; Comstock International; SONY Canada; IBM Canada; Abitibi Paper Corporation; Alberta Government Telephones; Coca Cola Canada; Alberta Wheat Pool; Canada Safeway; Pittfield, McKay, Ross; Clarkson Gordon; Unilever, Australia

Williams’ work is also held in dozens of private collections in the United States, Canada, Japan, the UK, and Germany.

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