The Artist within the Artist 4

Backstage with William Lee Golden

William Lee Golden began his musical career many years ago in rural South Alabama by singing on his grandfather’s weekly radio show. From those beginnings, he developed a lifelong love of music and harmony, especially the type performed by country, gospel and pop quartets. While he performed regularly in local venues, his musical career took a meteoric leap when he joined the Oak Ridge Boys in 1965. Since that time, William and his bandmates have sold more than 30 million records, including over a dozen No. 1 singles as well as more than 30 additional top 10 hits.

While most people are aware of the musical artistry of William, few are aware of his other artistic accomplishments. In addition to his musical creativity, he is also an accomplished painter and photographer.

According to William, he has always had an appreciation for the visual arts. 

“I have been blessed to know a lot of painters and photographers over the years, and I have always admired their styles and their attention to detail,” he says.

After many years of observation, he finally decided to try his hand at painting when his son was a baby. 

“I had always wanted to try my hand at painting, but I put it off for years,” he says. “Finally, I decided to give acrylics a shot to see how well I could do.”

Over the next dozen years or so, William painted a lot of different landscapes and outdoor scenes as he traveled the world. 

“I did all of my painting on the road,” he says. “Each day, I would pack my supplies into hotel rooms. I would set up my canvas, and I would spend the day painting until I had to get ready for our shows.

“I was going through a lot in my personal life and painting helped me take my mind to beautiful places that soothed me.”

However, despite the joy that he found in his art, he began to get increasingly frustrated with the slow painting process. 

“Most of my paintings took three to six months to complete, with some of them taking over a year,” he says. 

One day, he realized that he could get just as much satisfaction from photography as he could from painting. 

“It was an eye-opener,” he says. “I had always used photographs to paint from, and I suddenly realized that I enjoyed taking the pictures more than the painting. Plus, the process was much faster.”

Through the years, William has refined his photographic skills, and he has received widespread recognition for many of his images. These days, he primarily images landscape and scenic views from around the country as he tours with the Oak Ridge Boys. He has also become quite proficient at sharing his images on social media. 

“I want everyone to see what I am seeing,” he says.

"I love simplicity. It is both beautiful and sophisticated at the same time. I find simplicity in painting and photography."