William graduated from Yale with a BA in Fine Art in 1967 and subsequently served in the US Navy as a Junior Officer on the staff of the Commander of the Sixth Fleet, where he completed a portfolio of 25 paintings of fleet activities and portraits of two admirals. After the Navy he was part of the crew of HMS Rose, as Captain of the Mainmast, on her delivery from Lunenburg, Nova Scotia to Newport, RI. He grew up sailing in Newport, Rhode Island, and is the son of Norris Hoyt, sailing author, photographer, editor at large for Sail Magazine and English teacher at St. George’s School. Together they did one transatlantic race in 1963 aboard Ondine.
In the early 1970’s William moved to Vermont where he explored an alternative-communal lifestyle and discovered that he liked building with wood and along with a friend, moved to Barnard, VT to build a cabin for a Newport couple. The next four years found him painting in Vermont, accepting portrait commissions and exhibiting there and in Newport.
“There is a challenge and a joy in seeing something ineffably beautiful or moving and resolving to make a painting of it. The threads of the canvas, the sea, Vermont, family, friends, and Maine have woven themselves inextricably into my psyche and my work. Sometimes I go looking, often early in the morning before setting sail for the next harbor or toward the end of the day after we anchor and the harsh light softens. Other times a subject recommends itself unsolicited with the realization that a painting is staring me in the face. During the winter months I find things indoors that I want to paint and contrive arrangements. No matter the motivation or the circumstance, to me painting is a kind of meditation that helps me focus on the simple joy of rendering well a chosen subject.”
William sails and paints extensively in New England where some 300 of his paintings are in the former MBNA, now Bank of America, collection and are on exhibit in galleries in Newport and Vermont.