McClanahan’s quest for understanding and reflecting creativity in life as much today a mystery as it was when he first began painting. As he continues to move through life, a puzzle of shapes, hues, textures, emotions, and complexities of our environment keeps him striving toward some mysterious goal. He believes all moments in art, as well as time, converge upon the here and now ready and waiting for the artist to capture. His paintings are mere hues and designs of random energies upon which he imposes his sense of experiences that he gathers and seeks daily for assimilating into a visual product.
Art has taken so many different directions in his life. He began his formal studies receiving his bachelor’s degree, BSE, from Arkansas State University and his graduate degree, MFA, from the Instituto Allende, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Twenty of his earlier years, he was an instructor of art from the secondary levels of education to under graduate and graduate levels. Also, during this period he received his signature membership from the National Watercolor Society and the Mid-Southern Watercolor Society. His work has taken many avenues of techniques and media. He began as an oil painter then on to develop his skills in acrylics, watercolors, gouache, and in the past three years returning to oils. Also, he has to his credit the production of a series of etchings, copper enameling, and sculpture but always returning to his choice media of painting.
Winning top awards in exhibitions in and around the United States and Mexico, he has been accepted in exhibits such as the National Wildlife Federation, the Annual Delta Exhibition, Mid-Southern Watercolor Exhibition, the Arkansas Artist Registry’s Exhibition: Small works on paper 2008 which his entry received a purchase award and was selected to be used as the poster for the exhibit and travel exhibit, all in his native Arkansas. He also exhibited at the Adirondacks National Exhibition of American Watercolors, Old Forge, N.Y.; the Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio; the Bluegrass Painting Exhibition, Louisville, Kentucky; the Terrance Gallery, New York City, N.Y.; the National Watercolor Society, Los Angeles, CA; the Watercolor Art Society Exhibition, Houston, TX; the Texas Fine Arts Exhibition, Austin, TX; and was one of three Americans accepted in the “Lo Mejor de Color, Agua, y Papel” exhibition sponsored by Sun Chemical corporation of Japan (the exhibit toured Mexico, Northern Europe, and Japan for a year). A recent undertaking whereby a series of his pre-Hispanic Mayan paintings were used to illustrate the book “Ohne Spuren In Der Nacht” by Stefanie Tutepastell which was published in German and released in 2005. It is at present being released in Spanish, English, and French. Also, to his credit articles and work in newspapers and magazines such as Art in America, Southwest Art, Viaje, Arkansas Gazette, and the Mexico City News.
“San Miguel de Allende Thrives as Art Center” by John Maxim, Mexico City, the News “…At the Galeria San Miguel… , I saw, among the works of many artists of note, the accomplished watercolors of William M. McClanahan, a good draftsman, who succeeds in making the tonalities of his medium possess the textural strengths of oil or tempera paints. His compositionally complex works are characterized by homogeneous figures embellished by baroque and filigreed forms and objects. His “Pyramid of Palenque” in a different mode catches the lushly and foreboding sylvan beauty of his subject. McClanahan’s works are imaginatively conceived and well executed.”
McClanahan was selected to be one of the exhibiting artists in the Art in Embassies Exhibition at the United States Embassy in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo in 2008-09. From this honor his represented gallery, Galeria Atenea, in San Miguel de Allende, Gto. Mexico, produced a special retrospective exhibition of his work as well special press coverage by J. Zimolzak (Atencion, Friday, July 3, 2009), titled: William McClanahan: visual diplomat.
He is currently represented by two galleries: the Galeria Atenea, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where he has shown since 1988, and the Conway Art Gallery, Conway, Arkansas.