Evan Wilson

Evan Wilson was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He studied at the Maryland Institute College of Art with Joseph Sheppard and later attended the Schuler School of Fine Arts.

In the catalog accompanying his 2001 exhibition Encounters at the Huntsville Museum of Art, Wilson credited Sheppard with inspiring him to become a realist artist (Baldaia 2001). “He was such a great teacher,” Wilson said of Sheppard. “I remember that he would come up and take the palette and brushes out of my hand and make a correction to the ear of a portrait I was working on. . . . The tone and color were always just right, and the drawing simply fantastic. I was lucky to find a teacher who was doing something that completely fascinated me.” With Sheppard’s encouragement, Wilson applied for and received a grant from the Greenshields Foundation to study realist painting in Florence.

Wilson also praised Sheppard for inspiring the artists of the Legacy exhibition to follow their own artistic paths (Legacy 2004). “As a teacher, Sheppard never said, ‘Do it exactly as I do.’ What he said was, ‘learn to draw and learn to paint correctly, and the self-expression and the art will follow,’” explained Wilson. “I think the hallmark of a good teacher is when you look at their students. And if you look at this group of students, you don’t see imitators. You see a lot of independence; you see a lot of versatility.”

Wilson is known as a skilled painter of portraits, still lifes, and interior scenes. He has been featured in American Artist magazine, where he described his artistic processes and aims. “As I stand beside my easel looking at the furniture and objects I’ve selected to include in an oil painting, I think about the experiences people might have had while using them,” said Wilson (1990). “If I can convey some portion of that experience in the finished painting, then I have done my job as an artist.”

Although he currently lives in Hoosick, New York, Wilson’s recent work has found inspiration in the South, where Wilson was born and raised. His interest in the American South is reflected in his 1999 painting Down to the Water, Alabama Baptism. Wilson did 10 years of research for this painting, attending baptisms and studying photos and videos. The painting took six months to complete. “This is a ritual that has been going on for 2000 years and its still being done the very same way it was then,” Wilson said (Legacy 2004). “So I can truthfully say I’m a contemporary painter, painting my contemporary times.”

Wilson’s paintings have won several prestigious honors and awards, including the Gold Medal of Honor from Knickerbocker Artists, the Macowin Tuttle Memorial First Prize Award from the Salmagundi Club, and the Alabama Arts Award from the University of Alabama Society of Fine Arts.

In the last 30 years, Wilson has had group and solo exhibitions at numerous galleries and museums, and his paintings are in the public collections of the Greenville County Museum of Art, Greenville, South Carolina; the Gulf States Paper Corporation, Tuscaloosa, Alabama; and the Morris Museum of Art, Augusta, Georgia.


Baldaia, Peter. 2001. A window into beauty: the rarified world of Evan Wilson. Encounters: Evan Wilson. Huntsville, Ala.: Huntsville Museum of Art.

The Legacy: a tradition lives on. 2004. Produced and directed by Joseph Sheppard. 35 min. Videocassette.

Wilson, Evan, with M. Stephen Doherty. 1990. Create a world inside a painting. American Artist, 1 November.

Visit Evan Wilson's Website Here

Anita and Elliot, 40x53
Repose, oil on canvas, 40x53
Down to the Water, Alabama Baptism, 40x53