Pastel Artists Who Inspire | William Truman Hosner

There are some paintings that linger in our memories like a favorite song, playing over and over again. I saw one such painting at the annual Pastel Society of America exhibition in New York City this fall. As I entered the Grand Gallery in the National Arts Club and began my tour, I was again reminded of just how far the medium of pastel has come. Each painting was fascinating, but as I arrived in the back portion of the gallery and glanced to my right, a certain painting immediately captured my full attention. At that moment, the  exhibition was relatively quiet with only a few observers quietly strolling through, but there was a group of admirers huddled in front of this painting. Even at a distance, I could recognize whose work it was: William Truman Hosner (Bill to his friends).


Winter’s Trimmings (pastel) by William Truman Hosner


As I made my way closer to the large (24×36 inch) pastel landscape, titled Winter’s Trimmings, I could see why the group had gathered. It was stunning! Bill decided years ago to forego photography and instead work directly from life, and his devotion to plein air painting is evident in the sensitivity and luminosity of his paintings. I was first introduced to his work in 2000 when he won the top award in the Pastel Journal’s Pastel 100 competition. I have since seen his technique evolve from a softer application into the direct (alla prima) bravura that can be seen in his work today. Bill describes it this way: “During a painting session, everything is always changing. The light is constantly modulating and then my painting slowly evolves, becomes dynamic; it pulsates energy and exuberance.”

Bill has earned Master Pastelist designation with the Pastel Society of America and is a Distinguished Pastelist with the Pastel Society of the West Coast, and has received numerous international awards and accolades throughout his artistic career. His plein air adventures take him across the world from his home state of Michigan to European destinations. Two years in the planning, Bill recently organized and delivered the works of a delegation of 11 American pastelists to Oviedo, Spain, as the Guest Country of Honor at the Pintores Pastelistas Espanoles International Salon (ASPAS), on view November 21 through December 7, 2013.

“I have been making art in one form or another for over 40 years. Ultimately, the years have led me to try and put any pretentiousness aside and give commonplace things a sense of poetry. I seek a noble vision of mankind, of nature . . . what you see is part of my journey.” — William Hosner

None of us create art in a vacuum. All of our senses are constantly being stimulated by outside influences. Having had the opportunity to see the pastel works of Bill Hosner will have a profound effect on any pastelist. Observing his application technique, masterful compositional design, ability to capture the luminous effects of light, you will have a hard time getting his song out of your head. To learn more about the artist, you can visit his website at


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