- Last Updated on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 10:50
- Published on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 05:50
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There are few people who have had the intimate relationship with this area that artist Bill Martz has. For more than 35 years he’s portrayed life in his part of the Chesapeake Bay area — the five counties of the Northern Neck of Virginia — through his drawings and paintings.
On any given day and in any season you can find Bill in some part of the Northern Neck watching and transferring what he sees and feels to his painting.
Tromping through marshes and woods when the landscape is crusted with ice allows him to better express the cold of the season in his paintings. Likewise his paintings of boats in summer reflect the heat of the day they were painted.
Some days Bill is out at dawn to catch the special light of morning. Other times he paints the golden rays of a setting sun. As one patron commented, “It’s like the sunshine got caught on the canvas.”
Many know him for his pen and ink notepapers that were sold throughout the area for many years. Others know him for the five commissioned county Commemorative prints that have become treasures of the area. Each print involved thousand of hours of work as Bill sketched the homes and historic landmarks of each county.
The Watermen’s Commemorative Print, released in the year 2000, reflects the hundreds of hours spent with the watermen to learn the weight of their work so that his portrayal of them would be accurate. It remains one of Bill’s most popular and beloved works.
In 2003 Bill released a limited edition book — The Northern Neck Illustrated Journal. Its 135 drawings and four color paintings recorded what life here is like. More than 60% of the edition was sold prior to release.
Because of his special eye for capturing nature, he was commissioned to paint Washington’s Birthplace and make available through his paintings areas of the park that are usually not seen by the public. After 18 months of painting, a special exhibit and reception was held in 2008 at the Log House that overlooks the river at the Birthplace.
His hundreds of oil paintings and watercolors are held mostly by individual collectors. Many of these works can be enjoyed at his website, www.BillMartz.com.
His upscale line of tees, shirts and caps are available online at BillMartzshirts.com and at his Shop and Gallery by appointment.
Over the years his works have included calendars, letterheads, logos, seals, and product design for counties, environmental groups, various publications and even a well known department store in Williamsburg. He’s illustrated books, taught at both branches of Rappahannock Community College, and was one of 86 artists in the United States to be chosen to take the Master Class of internationally acclaimed artist, Robert Bateman.
Bill’s last one man show was held at Swan Point Country Club in Maryland in October of 2011. He is currently working towards an invitational exhibit in November of this year at the home of a patron in Westmoreland County.
For more information about Bill or to receive an invitation call Theresa (Bill’s wife) at 805-529-7486.