William E. Shumway earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Massachusetts before moving to Oregon in the 1970's. Much of Bill''s work reflects his interest in nature and the many inhabitants (animal and human) of our planet.
About the Artist
I was born in Amherst, MA. I grew up in a household full of music. My dad taught our family the creative process using barbershop music as a medium to produce harmonic overtone releases while singing close harmony. That experience of letting go of self-awareness to harmonic creation has stuck with me as essential to visual creativity. I still seek a harmonic resonance between pictorial elements so that they resonate with the whole.
During my time earning an MA in painting at the University of Massachusetts, I apprenticed with master print maker, Jack Coughlin, for several years. Prior to making my home in Corvallis, OR, in the mid-seventies, I operated galleries and frame studios in Amherst, Northampton and Martha’s Vineyard, MA.
My art work evolved rapidly towards abstract expressionism after studying with Hui Ming Wang, Leonard Baskin, Walter Kamys and Chuck Close. Seeing original canvases by Van Gogh at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts in 1965 was a life changing experience. It was my first encounter with such heavily applied brush work. It was expressive, topographical and sensuous. Willem deKooning’s work displayed similar stylistic behaviors and reinforced a shift in direction for my own art work. In those early years, I often painted images emerging from my subconscious. Sometimes, I felt like a conduit as if the creative act was a lucid dream, a feeling that has continued to present. My graduate thesis works were based entirely on a single dream experience in which each art object was on display in a dream gallery. I measured and inspected how they were constructed and made notes. On waking, I transferred those notes to my drawing pad and made 20 painted canvas sculptures. I received best of show awards in several exhibits in locations on the east coast including Westfield State Teachers College, Smith College, Rhode Island School of Design, Springfield Technical College and the Hartford Antheneum.
When I arrived in Corvallis, I was deeply moved by the wildness of Oregon’s multiple landscapes. I decided to open up to new ways of seeing and painting while incorporating the elements of abstraction that I had previously embraced. It was very humbling to be in a community where no one knew me as an artist and where I had no body of work, no studio, no tools or supplies or connections. I shifted towards painting more directly and in the moment. At the same time, I experimented with all manner of processes and materials, like heated copy toners and teas, mixed media, such as carpenters’ crayons, acrylic and spray paints. Later, I discovered mica based interference pigments and still use them today to enhance luminosity and color shifting effects.
I operated Pegasus Gallery for 35 years until my retirement in August 2014. The gallery served regional and international artists over the years and generated collaborative events with other galleries. In more recent years, it has hosted large scale Cultural Connections exhibits with the Clark Gallery in Roseburg and the Giustina Gallery at OSU in the LaSalle Stewart Building.
I helped start and facilitate the Vistas & Vineyards en plein air program and co-chaired the art procurement committee for the Corvallis Arts Center annual Chocolate Fantasy fund raiser for more than a decade. I introduced many downtown business owners to the concept of hosting art work in their establishments so that new artists could get a start in less competitive venues. Happily, local patrons now expect to mix art with their shopping and dining experiences.
Some of my art work can be found at Pegasus Gallery; at my studio by appointment; in many ongoing regional exhibits and in personal and corporate collections on both coasts. Other gallery locations are the Clark Studio Gallery in Roseburg, Oregon; the Kevin Clark Gallery in Tokyo; the Yaquina River Museum in Toledo, Oregon; and the Blue Dome Gallery in Silver City, New Mexico. Local installation sites include: River Song, at the Corvallis library; Resonance, on the third floor of the Linus Pauling science building; and Resonance Junior, at Linus Pauling Middle School.
Today, I continue to paint and teach individual and group workshops. I enjoy doing commissions of subjects like landscapes and portraits of animals and people and large scale installations. Information on how to contact me about workshops, commissions or to view my work in person can be accessed on my contact page.