William Alexander (artist)
2 April 1915|
Prussia, German Empire
|Died||24 January 1997
Powell River, British Columbia, Canada
William "Bill" Alexander (2 April 1915 – 24 January 1997) was a German painter, art instructor, and television host. He is best known as the creator and host of The Magic of Oil Painting and the The Art of Bill Alexander, television programs that ran on PBS in the United States. In the latter series, Alexander teamed with other wet-on-wet painters, including Lowell Speers, Robert Warren, Buck Paulson and others.
TV host and prolific painter Bob Ross studied under Bill and there learned his wet-on-wet technique, a method of allowing oil applications to run together rather than waiting long periods for each layer to dry. Ross dedicated the first episode of the second season of The Joy of Painting to Alexander, explaining that "years ago, Bill taught me this fantastic technique, and I feel as though he gave me a precious gift, and I'd like to share that gift with you [the viewer]".
Born in East Prussia, Alexander's family escaped during World War I to Berlin. Apprenticed as a carriage maker, Alexander was drafted into the Wehrmacht during World War II. Captured by Allied troops, he made himself notable by painting portraits of Allied officers' wives and he soon made his way to the United States.