About the Artist
As a child, Billy Solitario would look out of his bedroom window and across the water to a sliver of land on the horizon. The island in the distance, known as Horn Island, would become a major inspiration for Billy throughout his career as an artist. Born in 1972 in Southern California where his father worked for the Apollo space program, Billy and his family would later relocate to Ocean Springs, Mississippi, the home-town of famed artist, Walter Anderson (1903-1965). Inevitably, Billy soon realized his passion for nature and art through the work of Walter Anderson and the landscapes surrounding his beachfront home.
Billy possesses a degree in art from the University of South Florida and Tulane University in New Orleans. However, he credits his classical foundation in painting to the New Orleans Academy of Fine Arts, where he has taught landscape and portrait painting since 2005. Today, Billy still finds time to paint plein air style, which he favors over studio painting. Painting outdoors gives Billy the opportunity to enjoy his two passions at once, nature and art. Plein air painting also allows for an authenticity of color and scale that photographs or memory may fail to reproduce. Billy is well-known for his landscape paintings, but most notably, his cloud paintings. Cloud formations were something Billy learned to appreciate in the 1990s, but the unpredictability of those gaseous shapes posed a challenge for the plein air painter. Unfixed and fluid by nature, clouds taught Billy to work quickly and efficiently as he learned to master the voluminous cumulonimbus cloud, his favorite to paint.
Billy has gained notoriety for his work and has been highlighted in “PleinAir” magazine along with “Boat U.S.” magazine. Billy currently resides in New Orleans, not too far from his childhood home of Ocean Springs, Mississippi. Even now, years later, he occasionally visits Horn Island to gain inspiration from the billowy dunes and ocean sounds that inspired both him and artist Walter Anderson. Perhaps if you fancy a boat ride to Horn Island, you can find Billy behind his easel, toes in the sand, brush in hand, gazing at the cloud formations above.