Bill Farnsworth Illustrator Biography at Wisdom Tales

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Home > Children’s Authors > Bill Farnsworth

Bill Farnsworth
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Bill Farnsworth is a nationally known illustrator, painter, and educator of art. He has spent the last thirty years creating paintings for magazines, advertisements, children’s books, and fine art commissions of portraits and landscapes. Bill has illustrated the upcoming book The Hunter’s Promise: An Abenaki Tale (coming in September, 2015) for Wisdom Tales. The Hunter’s Promise, written by Joseph Bruchac, is a retelling of an Abenaki (a northeastern American Indian tribe) story of a hunter who battles magical forces in order to return to his true family. Bill Farnsworth's paintings and illustrations are recognizable for their beautiful colors, careful attention to various types of light, detailed rendering, and often for their outdoor themes and settings. His paintings convey the power of nature in one way or another, and this will certainly make for a perfect complement to Joseph Bruchac’s tale set in the deep forests of the Northeast.

Bill Farnsworth was born in Norwalk Connecticut. He graduated from the Ringling School of Art and Design in Sarasota, Florida, and began his career in the field of art. Bill spent most of his life in New Milford, Connecticut painting landscapes of the rural area, while supporting himself and family with his growing illustration career.

Bill’s work as an illustrator is so widely known because he has illustrated more than fifty books for children, many of which have won awards as well as starred reviews (i.e. featured reviews) in Publishers Weekly. His extensive work as an illustrator of children’s books includes the Kaya books from the American Girl series and many, many more. This is not the first time that Bill Farnsworth and Joseph Bruchac have worked together on a book: they created the book Buffalo Song back in 2007. Bill Farnsworth’s children’s books have won such awards as a Teachers Choice Award, the 2005 Patricia Gallagher Award, and the 2007 Volunteer State Book Award.

Besides his illustrations, people have come to know and appreciate Bill’s paintings and art through the many national shows, galleries, private collections in which his work has appeared over the years. His illustrations have been included in the Society of Illustrators Annual Show, and his paintings in the Oil Painters of America National Show.

Bill Farnsworth’s paintings have appeared at many galleries, at which his fine art paintings are often featured. He has won numerous awards for this work, such as awards of excellence from the Oil Painters of America 2006, 2007, 2011 Eastern Regional shows and the 2007 National show. He won first place in the Fifth Biennial National Show in Punta Gorda, and won two awards for Narrative Excellence from The National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society. Bill won Best in Show in the 2010 Cashiers paint out. Then, in 2010, Bill was awarded Signature Status from The American Society of Marine Artists. In 2011 he was awarded Signature Status from The Oil Painters of America.

The following is the “Artist Statement” from Bill’s website (the link is given below), in which Bill Farnsworth shares some of his thoughts about life and art:

As an illustrator for more than thirty years, I have told many stories with my paintings that have helped me in my cross over to gallery work. Every day life has a story no matter how small and deserves telling if it has the right light. The light is what makes something very special or just forgettable. Cool overcast light can have a beautiful soft edge look, were as sunny warm light can create interesting patterns and color.
photo of artist Bill Farnsworth working outsideIllustrator, painter, and educator
Bill Farnsworth working outside
In order to get this on canvas and convey it's honestly to the viewer, an artist must have the skills of visual language. Having the technical skill will give them the ability to express. If you travel to another country and don't know the language, no one will understand you. This goes for art as well. A painting with bad values, shapes, and edges will not convey to the viewer how the artist feels about the subject. My illustration work over the years has been the best training to put a picture together. Tight deadlines and being asked to paint everything under the sun was a great motivator to be resourceful.

So today the learning process continues, and with it comes little steps of improvement. For me this is what makes painting so rewarding and fun. Moments in life pass by us all the time and if we can capture the great ones honestly in paint and canvas then maybe it will make our lives better.

Living in Southwest Florida has been a great environment for my art. The beautiful surrounding and easy lifestyle has helped me create some of the best art of my life.

Bill Farnsworth lives with his wife Debbie in Venice, Florida.

Awards Won by This Author’s Books

  • The Hunter’s Promise, retold by Joseph Bruchac:
    • Finalist in the 2015 Foreword Reviews INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards, in the category “Picture Books, Early Reader”
    • Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award

Author Extras & Links

  • Illustrator and fine artist Bill Farnsworth has his own website. The site offers a number of sections, including a biography, a listing of galleries that carry his work, workshops for artists conducted by Mr. Farnsworth, a blog of particular interest to fans of Farnsworth’s work and to aspiring artists, an online gallery with extensive images of Bill’s work, and more. Click here to explore his multi-faceted web site.

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