Inspiration has always come to me from nature in all its’ variations: animals of all kinds, ocean, beach, river, lake, desert, mountain and the human form.  I remember when I was 11 years old my Grandmother took me to Yosemite National Park (in her new 1963 Thunderbird!).  Nana knew how much I loved the beauty of nature and she wanted to share one of her favorite natural places.  After entering the Park, I’ll never forget Nana pulling the car over at the scenic turnout after emerging from the tunnel.  It is there that you get the first and most famous view of Yosemite Valley.  As we stood together at this breathtaking vista I looked up at Nana and she was crying.  I thought something terrible was wrong so I asked.  She smiled and said, “I always cry when I see truly beautiful things”.  Well, I can’t say I always cry, but I know where a big part of my reaction to the beauty in nature comes from!Bill Monaghan

The experience of traveling to Yosemite with Nana set an example that I would carry throughout my life: experiencing nature everywhere, from the backyard to road trips to beautiful places.  My wife Kit and I love to go on scenic drives, whether it’s the local back roads or our annual two (or more) weeks trip to different areas and National Parks throughout the US and western Canada, always sketching, painting and taking lots of photos.


Bill has been drawing since he was a child.  His first love in art was always wildlife (lots of dinosaurs!).  His parents bought all the wildlife and nature books he asked for and his father would bring home reams of old construction drawing prints; the back of each was clean white bond paper.  Bill filled hundreds of these pages with drawings of animals, landscapes and people.  Throughout his life Bill has continued to draw and paint in many different media.  Watercolor was the focus through the 80’s and 90’s with all these artistic media being pursued as a relaxing “serious” hobby.  

Bill Monaghan grew up in Southern California in the city of Long Beach, married his high school sweetheart, Kit, and has two beautiful daughters, Brooke and Jody.  The Monaghan’s moved to San Jose in 1982 to take advantage of opportunities in Silicon Valley.  In 2003, with the girls in college, an opportunity to retire for Bill, and a promotion/relocation opportunity for Kit, the Monaghan’s decided to sell their home in San Jose and moved to El Dorado Hills, CA.

Bill’s 25-year career as an Industrial Designer required him to continue honing his drawing and sketching skills since these were needed while developing new product designs and ideas.  What is an Industrial Designer?  Industrial Design is a degreed profession that is best described as an “Architect” for products:  designing products to look and function better through the use of form, materials, manufacturing techniques, color, graphics, ergonomics and human factors. 

Most people don’t realize that Industrial Design surrounds them at all times.  Nearly every man-made object is “designed” to look and function a certain way, from automotive interiors and exteriors to cruise ship interiors and exteriors.  All appliances, lighting, furniture, toys, power tools, phones, computers, medical equipment, etc., are touched by Industrial Design.  These skills have given Bill a strong understanding of composition, light and shadow, texture, color and overall balance: whether it’s a three dimensional object or two dimensional art.
Since temporarily retiring in 2003 Bill has pursued a lifelong dream of making a living through his art.  He has always been intrigued by impressionist paintings from both the past and today.  In wanting to learn to oil paint with the rich colors and techniques of the impressionists, Bill bought a book that had the techniques he was looking for.  After practicing many lessons from the book, he went to the Internet to try to find workshops to learn more.  Serendipitously Bill found a link to Susan Sarback (see “Contacts”) and her internationally renowned “School of Light and Color” in Fair Oaks, CA, only 16 miles from his home in El Dorado Hills. 

Susan Sarback founded the School of Light and Color in 1986 and is internationally recognized as a master in the use of color and the luminous “full spectrum painting” technique that Monet used when he painted.  All paintings are oil paint, using a palette knife, and done “en plein air”: essentially painting outside in the open air, on location, to capture truer color and light.

Bill spent most of 2005 taking classes at the School of Light and Color.  He began studying under Rhonda Egan, Master Artist Member of NCA, and then taking classes and workshops with Susan Sarback. 

In 2006 Bill also began showing and selling his work at juried fine art fairs throughout northern CA.
To see a list of shows see the “Events” page.


Because I am embarking on a new career as a full-time artist I will use my past working profession in Industrial Design to illustrate my experience, accomplishments, and dedication to succeeding. My Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design required a combination of many art classes augmented by mechanical design and the study of various materials and processes used to commercially produce products.  For new product designs drawing and sketching was used for quick concept visualizations.  For more detailed and formal presentations, felt markers, pastel, Prismacolor pencil and other media were used to create photo-realistic renderings of products before they exist.  After1990 computer aided 3-D rendering software was also used.


  • Fourteen national and international Industrial Design awards from 1986 through 2001:
         Five - “if” awards from Hannover Faire, Germany
         Four - from ID Magazine, USA
         Five - “G-Mark” awards from Japan including 1 “Best of Show” and 2 “Best of Category”

  • Product designs featured in over 20 international publications
  • Six patents.

I expect to update the above awards list with new accomplishments from my painting career! 


2003-Present  Artist

1986-2003       Misc. Private Industrial Design Consulting

2001-2002       Hewlett-Packard, Inc.: Tandem Division

1997-2001       Compaq Computers, Inc.: Tandem Division

1982-1997       Tandem Computers, Inc. Cupertino, CA

1978-1982       Creative Design Center, Laguna Hills, CA – Industrial Design consulting office.

Industrial Design experience includes: corporate product image strategies; future product concepts; corporate and individual product market research and strategies; corporate lobby desks and interiors; trade show exhibits; corporate technology displays; ergonomic and human factors studies; baby products and children’s toys; surgery room equipment; ultrasound devices; industrial and medical lasers; home/personal medical equipment; home lighting; desktop and laptop computers, printers, large mainframe computers and telecommunications equipment; credit card and fingerprint scanners; instrumentation control panel design, layout and graphics; logos and product graphics; construction site equipment; desktop office supplies; and many other products.


1998    MBA/Technology Management       
University of Phoenix

1978    BS Degree in Industrial Design                    
CA State University at Long Beach

Copyright 2006 Bill A. Monaghan
Bill Monaghan Studio, El Dorado Hills, California USA. All rights reserved. All art shown on this website may not be copied, duplicated, reproduced or distributed in any media or by any means without the expressed written permission of the artist.      So call me! .

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