Steely Watercolors

“Bethlehem Skyway,” 2018, watercolor on paper, 24 1/2 x 30 image, 33 x 38 in. framed

Throughout his painting career, William Matthews has maintained a tradition of respect for working people. Early on, he focused on the working cowboys from the great ranches throughout the West, later turning to other cultures and people from China to the rural Amish, working their lands. Most recently, he’s turned his attention to the steel mills of Ohio and Pennsylvania.

“The Slag Ladle,” 2018, watercolor on paper, 23 1/2 x 18 image, 34 x 27 1/2 in. framed

This rich and varied subject matter provides a fertile backdrop for the artist to display his approach to watercolor. In this series, he contrasts cold, flat planes of steel mill rooftops with interior compositions of red-hot cauldrons filled with molten steel along with dramatic portraits of workers emerging from plumes of fire, steam and smoke.

“Rusted Cauldron,” 2018, watercolor on paper, 23 x 22 1/2 image, 34 1/2 x 34 1/2 in, framed

Thirty paintings from this series will be on view in the exhibition STEEL, on display at William Matthews Studio in Denver, Colorado, through February 6, 2020.

For more must-see shows like this one, sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter.

Previous articlePlaying By the Same Rules
Next articleWatercolor Wisconsin
Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here