George F. McWilliams
“It feels like I’m there” is the comment that is heard most often and best describes the artwork of George F. McWilliams. Using a variety of mediums, he visually takes you to another place and creates a mood that causes other senses to fill in the blanks, whether it’s the smell of the water or the sound of leaves in a breeze. George’s inspirations come from his experiences growing up in Southern Maryland, boarded by the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay, to his present home on a farm in the hills of Palestine, West Virginia. With the move to West Virginia a whole new world of subjects and experiences opened up to the artists. Just as the water played a major role in his work while living in Maryland, the local landscape and rolling hills of Wirt County are now a driving force in his work. Many new pieces are taken straight from the homestead where he and his wife, Kathleen, work the farm raising chickens and beef cattle. He still, however, makes time to work on the maritime subjects that he became known for.
At an early age, George decided what he wanted to do with his life. While in high school, he began what was to become his career in art, selling his work to neighbors and friends to earn money for college. At the age of 17 he completed his first mural for a local marina. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Maryland in 1980. Soon thereafter he went to work for the Navy as a Dratfsman/Illustrator. The varied assignments ranged from small illustrations and presentations to large-scale site work, including a 12’x 20′ mural painted in oil on canvas. During this time, he began showing his work at a variety of craft shows and local galleries. In 1987 George left his job to pursue his art full-time. Since then, his work has been displayed in numerous exhibits, galleries and shows including; The Annapolis Marine Art Gallery; Chesapeake Bay Foundation; National Wildlife Federation; Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport; Waterfowl Festival; Southeastern Wildlife Exposition and most recently, he was accepted as a participating artist in the David L. Dickirson Fine Arts Gallery at Tamarack in Beckely, WV.
George has done a large variety of commissions throughout the years that range from portraits to homes and boats. There have also been a number of corporate commissions which include technical drawing, airbrush, fine art, printing and murals, including; The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, DC; Hampton Suites, Annapolis, MD and Ducks Unlimited. One of the most recent pieces was a mural for the St. Clement’s Island Potomac River Museum in Maryland that measures 7′ x 20′ and depicts the first landing of the Maryland colonists. His work has also been used for fundraising projects where he provided the original artwork as well as coordinated the production of prints for different organizations, ranging from museums and churches to volunteer fire departments and private collectors.