Rush Artistic Productions
A Native Texan's Unique Talent
The problem with meeting any Artist in Cyberspace was easily solved while reading
the various newspaper clippings of previous interviews with William Rush. What
better way to learn something of him as an artist than through his own words. This,
then, is a collection of questions asked Rush and his verbatim responses collected
from Public Art Exhibits, Galleries, Private Showings and interviews within his studio.
|From Published Interviews With The Artist:
|VOCATIONAL PURSUITS & PRIVATE INTERESTS: Rush has personally owned & flown five airplanes and a
helicopter as a Life Member of 'Aircraft Owners & Pilots Association'. He has also owned many motorcycles
and is a member of 'The Blue Knights' international motorcycle club. As an N.R.A. Life Member, Rush
enjoys Hunting, Fishing and Camping, and has hunted Elk on horseback in the rugged mountains around
Craig and Rifle, Colorado and Black Bear near the Pit River Indian Reservation in California's snow covered
Lassen National Forest. Rush collects books about History - especially about the Roman and Byzantine
Empires and accounts of 'The Great Crusades'; this interest extends to biographies focused on the American
Colonial Period, The Civil War, the struggle for Texas Independence, and the short-lived Western Cattle
Drive Era. When not painting or studying the violin and guitar, he writes songs, poetry and short stories.
Being 'a natural Thespian' since junior high school, Rush tirelessly performed throughout adulthood in Live
Western Theater and also appeared in Texas Army and other Living History Events (including both Public &
Private venues) for over three decades as his hero Colonel David Crockett of Tennessee. Rush is a Master
Mason holding a 32 Degree in Scottish Right Freemasonry. Since his recent retirement, due to disabling
injuries, Rush has dedicated most of his time and talents to Fine Art and Music.
Question: "When did you first begin doing artwork?"
Rush: "My Grandmother always told of me drawing very detailed pictures as early as age three. My first recollection of anything worth
keeping is when I painted pastel portraits of Sam Houston, Stephen F. Austin, Davy Crockett and Robert E. Lee when I was ten years old.
Those four paintings hung over the living room door next the fireplace in our old ranch house up until the time I went into the Air Force.
I've often wondered what happened to them."
Question: "Do you remember the first public recognition you received for your artistic talent?"
Rush: "From Grade School on. I was called upon to paint murals for the classrooms and hallways during holidays or special events. The
artwork was generally on rolls of construction paper and linked around the classrooms near the ceilings. For many years I kept one which
was a very detailed Thanksgiving theme with the standard 'Pilgrims, Turkeys & Indians." My fellow students would have me illustrate their
book jackets with ink drawings or some form of calligraphy. And always, there were the dreaded Posters and Signs for the School Billboards
and Athletic Events - plus Stage Props and Background Scenes. Then there was a self portrait I painted when I was 18. I was away in the
Service when my Mother entered that sixteen-by-twenty oil painting in an Art Contest in my home county - I won First Place 'en absentia'
and wasn't happy about it. I didn't like the painting and it was entered without asking me first. But I got over it."
Question: "How on earth can you put so much 'detail' in your artwork?"
Rush: "I'm not even aware of it until others carry on about it. To me, it is never enough detail and in fact, that is one struggle which I
don't really expect to win. You see, I am never really satisfied with any of my art and always feel that somehow I could have and should
have produced something far, far beyond what others see as 'finished artwork. To me, it is never finished!"
Question: "What levels of art training have you had and where all have you studied?"
Rush: "Here we go! I've never had a lesson of any type unless you count the one semester of Art History I had in college - the hardest part
of that was staying awake! I made an A, but it was really a measure of dealing with gross boredom. So much time was spent on 'Why' this
or that artist painted thus and so....when the truth is that most painted 'for the money' as was honestly stated by Michelangelo."
Question: "It sounds like you have been asked that question a lot of times. Have you?"
Rush: "Always and forever. The exact same question! For some reason people have a hard time believing that anyone could possibly
produce this quality of art unless they hold a Masters Degree in Fine Art, or they studied "abroad" or "under the Great Masters." My
question to them is "Who taught the Great Masters?" By the way, speaking of Art Training: I, who have never had a lesson, taught portrait
painting for several years in Houston. Only my native ability at portraiture qualified me to instruct and yet that fact didn't turn away one
student. People of all ages and all social strata were still waiting for an opening in my classes when I quit teaching. It was interesting and
very lucrative. I had a packed class nightly and could still continue teaching now - but that just isn't my calling. Besides, there were so
many very nice people who wanted desperately to be 'an artist' but who simply lacked talent and I didn't feel comfortable accepting money
while indefinitely prolonging their ultimate realization that they would NEVER be a portrait artist."
Question: "Who is the artist you most admire?"
Rush: "When I tell you, you will immediately say 'He was an Illustrator - not an Artist'. But, my all time favorite is Norman Rockwell.
Just take away the 'scenario' he created and the artwork itself is very, very exacting and realistic. Still, if you force another choice, it has to
Rush: "First and foremost, he painted humanity in it's most natural state - second, he was a very optimistic artist in both fine art and
sculpting - and third, because he was both a genius and an individualist. The Sistine Chapel is without argument the best fresco ever done by
any artist of any period in history. Lastly, by all I have ever read about him, he was able to keep a stable personality even under the burden
Question: "What Contemporary Artist produces the very finest professional artwork today?"
Rush: "According to my loyal Patrons, asking me THAT is tantamount to asking Nabisco who makes the best line of cookies today!
However, over the past year I have examined literally thousands of Websites exhibiting artwork of every subject, medium and style produced
by artists around our tiny spinning globe. There are some naturally talented and/or highly TRAINED men and women who produce quality
artwork. There is some outrageously priced portraiture and many inflated egos that are almost as embarrassing as the multitudes who have
art websites but no art talent whatsoever. All in all, there is not one contemporary artist that I would consider naming on the same page
with Rockwell and Michelangelo. Not one!"
Question: "Does anyone ever ask why you paint in so many mediums and why you don't specialize in just one subject?"
Rush: "That comes up now and then, especially when I have a Showing. But the only answer I can give is that I would be bored to tears just
doing Portraits, Landscapes, Pets, Still Lifes, or whatever - just as I'd grow quickly tired of oils, watercolors or any of the rest of the
mediums if I worked only in one. In fact, the spectrum of my Patrons reflect this approach by ranging from Multi Millionaires to someone in
a Double Wide living on a Pension! Something for everyone. So, I focus very hard in a wide variety of styles, mediums and subjects and
therefore I am always concentrating on something NEW. It gives me an opportunity to continually extend my creative milestones and reach
a greater diversity of people seeking unique and original art. To me this is synonymous to playing the violin; I PLAY ALL FOUR STRINGS
and cannot imagine the dreariness of being restricted to playing just one string - no matter how adept I would eventually become at playing
Question: "Do you have any specific works planned beyond pending Commissions?"
Rush: "There are some works which have waited for a long time. Two are already researched and laid-out on those two large stretched and
gesso prepped canvasses. They are ready for the oils! Both paintings focus on the brief period of history when there was a glut of Kings,
Castles and competing Knights." (Rush stood and removed the linen covers from both canvasses clamped to large easels on casters. The scope
within the 4 foot by 5 foot layouts was stunning!) "The research and drawings alone took over three months on each of these and they are
historically correct down to the knight's spur! I hope to finish them sometime this year. Another planned work is of Crockett's arrival in
the wild territory called 'The Texas' on his final great journey in 1836. Then there is a colorful painting I have had in mind for many years
honoring Col. Juan Seguin and his pivotal role in Texas History." (My examination of the carefully sketched heralds, horses, dogs, falconers and
fishmongers caused me to neglect many notes. The aromas of oils and turpentine blended perfectly with a Rockmoninoff album playing through
studio speakers. Rush lifted a preliminary sketch from an Art Portfolio and set it on his drafting table; he explained that the very detailed scene will
be re-drawn on canvass as the layout for even another oil painting.) "This is the site of the Great Falls as reported in the journals of the
incredible Lewis & Clark Expedition". (Rush seemed to forget all about the artwork as he began pointing out individual figures standing at the
foot of the falls, their strengths and weaknesses, the Indian Tribes in that area, and the great roar heard so far away creating the boiling clouds of
spray. Even at this early stage one cannot help but become captivated by Rush's passion, by his research, his breathtaking view of historical events
and ease at painting a verbal picture. Most remarkable I realized, looking around the studio, is that Rush can transfer every bit of his passion for
any scene envisioned onto a canvass.)
Question: "Along with the recognition you've received for your beautiful artwork, are there any 'regrets' connected with it?"
Rush: "Well, fortunately I never had a Client who was left with a regret. Never! But, regarding my own relationship with artwork itself
there are some regrets. I regret every painting which I have destroyed at some point between lay-out and framing because the production
was slightly off from what I originally envisioned. And there have been many! Also, I regret that much of my life's energy has been
directed to other pursuits instead of art. However, no matter how much and how far I have run from art - it has never tired of the chase.
I'm through running. Looks like it'll be linseed oil and turpentine from here on!" Smiling introspectively, he added "I've still got both ears!
(Rush re-draped the large canvasses and put on his cowboy hat to see me to my car. It was antiquated chivalry, like his habitual 'Yes Mam' and 'No
Mam', but it fit this tall, soft spoken Texan quite comfortably.)