Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Things as the are

A wonderful person and fine artist, William (Bill) Reese left this earth recently. Bill was a 'salt of the earth' type of man and will be sorely missed in life and in the art world. You would recognize him if you happened to be in the same room with him. He would be at the center of the group of people having the most fun discussing art and sharing stories and gregarious laughter. What a generous soul and an inspirational painter. The last time I saw him he was at a large table at an OPA event in Kirkland, WA. Even with his oxygen flowing to aid his breathing he would be telling stories that made everyone else laugh until they were out of breath. He and his family welcomed strangers as if family. You may have been one of his many students over the years, shared some stories, or visited his website. In any case he is a memorable painter who lived up to his reputation as a fine artist. An API member, Susan Greaves who attended Bill's funeral shared the poem that he had requested be read at his service. Yesterday a good friend of mine was able to recite this poem from memory when I mentioned the title: "When Earth's Last Picture is Painted." I would like to share it with those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure of hearing it. What a fitting tribute to one sitting in a golden chair....
When Earth's last picture is painted
And the tubes are twisted and dried,
When the oldest colors have faded
And the youngest critic has died,
We shall rest, and faith, we shall need it
Lie down for an eon or two
'Til the master of all good workmen
Shall put us to work anew.
And those that were good shall be happy.
They'll sit in a golden chair.
They'll splash at a ten league canvas
With brushes of comet's hair.
They'll find real saints to draw from,
Magdalene, Peter, and Paul.
They'll work for an age at a sitting
And never be tired at all.
And only the Master shall praise us.
And only the master shall blame.
And no one will work for money.
And no one will work for fame.
But each one for the joy of working,
And each, in his separate star,
Will draw the thing as he sees it
For the God of things as they are.


  1. Reese Genius. Kipling Genius. Your sky is a beauty. I'm linking to this post!

  2. I'm visiting from Celeste's link.
    Love the poem; thanks for sharing this tribute.

  3. Yes, guess we artists have to make hay while the sunshines...Love being a part of this world of genius's and those who've gone before us. Thanks for taking the time to comment and Feel free to share...

  4. I found your blog via Celeste's blog. Beautiful tribute. William Reese must have been an exceptional artist and person. I did not know him personally, but I've been to workshops where his name was mentioned and always in ways in which I felt like he was a man I would like to know. He was not only a great artist, but shared his knowledge. And, as you said, he had a wonderful sense of humor. He's going to be missed by those who loved him.

  5. I'm also linking from Celeste's blog. I'll print out this poem to have in my studio. It's a wonderful way to start this day--any day. Looking forward to checking out William Reese, too. We need more good souls like him!

  6. Sorry for the loss of your friend. First time here and I love your artwork. I'll be back.