Bill Bateman

oil paintings & watercolors
Artist Statement  
Contact Information

2 West 90th Street
New York NY



Artist Statement

The images in my paintings are created from the most simple of beginnings: processes that mimic the simple act of looking at clouds and imagining forms, the playful creation of figures mindlessly doodled on a sketch pad, and the pure pleasure of mixing up batches of color. I have never constricted myself to a particular style of painting, preferring to explore as many possibilities as my imagination allows. Below I will broadly describe several variations of my work. What remains a constant in these variations are the content of imagined figures and forms, all discovered in the act of drawing and painting.


The earth-toned paintings are created by applying a transparent cloud-like wash of paint over the canvas from which more structured forms are imagined and developed. The images in these paintings appear to recede from the surface and suggest a density of connected forms, hidden from view. They are like cross cuts into a earthly world, revealing a dark unknown. I do not ascribe any symbolic meaning to these images but reflect at times whether this simple process of creating might in some manner replicate the first imaginings of fabled creatures and gods, residing in night’s shadows or billowing clouds.

Many of the cartoon like images I create are through the simple act of doodling. They are comprised of gadgets, vehicles, figures, weapons, and other contraptions that could not possibly function or exist in real life. They poke fun at all our modern day possessions which do less to enhance our lives than to distract us from the more simple wonders of being alive. There is a light-hearted pointlessness to each image. Collectively, on one canvas, they are an emphatic joust at our material reality.

The third grouping I may describe as an elegant form of doodling, combining a dance of lines and forms with a bright interplay of color. Each figure is in motion with one another in rhythmic choreography across the canvas surface. I believe there is a musicality to these paintings, often created to the sounds of jazz and classical music. These are perhaps my most challenging works to paint.


Each of these groupings, while divergent in appearance, develop from very close and common seeds. Perhaps like varieties of species, the images have adapted to unique processes and places of mind.