Charles Reid
1937 - 2019
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Charles Clark Reid
August 12, 1937 - June 1, 2019Charles Clark Reid, the celebrated American watercolor painter, died on June 1st at his home in Green's Farms, Connecticut. He was 81 years old.
Through an almost sixty-year career, Mr. Reid worked as a fine artist, illustrator, author and teacher. He was a member of the National Academy of Design and the Century Association. His work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States, and is included in the permanent collections of Smith College, Brigham Young University, the Century Club, the Yellowstone Art Center and the National Academy of Design. He also wrote eleven instructional books on painting.
Charles C. Reid was born August 12, 1937 in Cambridge, NY. He was educated at the South Kent School in Kent, CT, and attended the University of Vermont and the Art Students League in New York City. He insisted that his most valued educational achievement was his Eagle Scout badge.
Mr. Reid resided in Westport, CT during the1940s, while his father, David G. Reid, a former fighter pilot, worked for Pratt & Whitney on developing the Chance-Vought F4U Corsair fighter aircraft.
At the close of World War II, the Reid family relocated to Greenwich, New York, the home-town of his mother, the late Peggy Van Kirk Reid. Charlie and his brother, the late Gordon V.K. Reid, spent bucolic years learning woods lore with the Boy Scouts in the Adirondacks, target and trap shooting with their father, and riding their American quarter horse, Dixie.
Charles Reid could have become a cowboy, since he early mastered the key aspects of that trade, being both a superb horseman and crack shot. Certainly one of his earliest artistic influences--aside from John Ford motion pictures--was the Western artist Charlie Russell.
Mr. Reid met his future wife, Judith Hendrickson, while attending the University of Vermont, taking her to Sigma Phi formals in his MG TC. Although he left UVM to attend the Art Students League in New York, he continued to pursue Miss Hendrickson, sometimes literally. While Miss Hendrickson was traveling by bus with a group of fellow schoolteachers in France, Mr. Reid trekked over the Alps from Italy, driving his 125cc Lambretta scooter through icy mountain passes in sub-freezing temperatures to join her.
Mr. Reid served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1958 to 1960 as a large-wheel mechanic. When a non-commissioned officer noted his nascent artistic ability, he was employed in making signage for the Fort Dix motor pool. Mr. Reid was briefly re-activated during the Berlin Crisis of 1961.
Miss Hendrickson wed Charles Reid later in 1961, and they traveled on the steamship S.S. Constitution to the island of Madeira, where, thanks to a small bequest from an aunt, they enjoyed a year-long honeymoon. Mr. Reid painted daily during his time on the island, developing the skills that would serve him in good stead for the rest of his career.
Upon returning to the United States, Mr. Reid took a job with Famous Artists Schools in Westport, instructing students through mail order courses. In 1963, Charles and Judith also purchased the circa-1727 colonial house in Green's Farms where they would reside together throughout their married life.
In Westport, Mr. Reid was able to pursue his love of sailing and wooden boats. He purchased a Danish-built Folkboat in 1968, and named it Pickle, after the H.M.S. Pickle, the sloop of war that brought the news of Nelson's victory at Trafalgar to England. He captained Pickle during numerous multi-day sailing expeditions during the 1970s and 1980s with his family. He was a skilled sailor, with a natural feel for wind and tide that allowed him to take the un-powered Pickle into even the trickiest harbor.
Mr. Reid left Famous Artists Schools in 1973, and struck out on his own as a fine artist. He won many awards for his work in subsequent years, including the Childe Hassam Purchase Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters. Mr. Reid also won numerous awards at the National Academy of Design, including the 1st and 2nd Altman Prizes for Figure Painting, the Julius Hulgarten Award, the Clark Prize, the Salamagundi Award, the Ranger Fund, and the Emil Dines awards for watercolor and oil. Mr. Reid was awarded a gold medal by the Portrait Society of America, and a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators. He holds the Samuel Blumenthal Award and High Winds award from the American Watercolor Society.
In 1972, Mr. Reid was chosen to design an 8-cent postage stamp for the United States Postal Service on the theme of Family Planning.
Mr. Reid was the author of eleven instructional books on watercolor and oil painting, including the titles Painting What You Want to See, The Natural Way to Painting, Painting Flowers in Watercolor, Charles Reid's Watercolor Secrets, Portrait Painting in Watercolor and Figure Painting in Watercolor.
Mr. Reid's commercial work appeared in American Heritage, Harper's, Sports Afield, Reader's Digest Books, the Franklin Press and the L.L. Bean catalog. The Maine-based catalog company used a Charles Reid watercolor painting of a pair of Bean boots as an illustration in their catalog for many years.
One of Charlie Reid's callings was as a teacher, and he led watercolor workshops all over the United States, as well as Europe, Australia and Japan. He maintained particular friendships with his students and fellow artists Tony Bennett and the late Gene Wilder. He also enjoyed many painting trips to Trinidad with his good friend, the author Bob Waterman.
Another painting destination was Baccaro, Nova Scotia, where Mr. Reid purchased a run-down lobsterman's cottage in 1970. That property became a second studio for him, and a focus of his artistic development. He would summer in Nova Scotia every year from the late 1970s to the end of his life, and many of his oils and watercolors depict the rugged coast and flat light of the Canadian Maritimes. In between painting sessions, he would spend hours messing about in his boats, sailing his skiff or catboat around the Baccaro estuary, and out into the Atlantic.
Charles C. Reid is survived by his wife Judith, daughter Sarah Worth Reid and son-in-law Rob Pristash; son Peter Van Kirk Reid, daughter-in-law Dara Reid and granddaughter Willow Rain Reid; sister-in-law Betsey Mast Reid, nephew David Van Kirk Reid and niece Suzannah Reid.
Mr. Reid was predeceased by his cat Brutus, who passed away in 2005.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Westport-News on Jun. 7, 2019.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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47 entries
November 15, 2020
After reading the most current entry, I am so blessed that I had the opportunity to go to many of his workshops. He is truly the most remarkable painter I have ever painted with. I have every book / even two of the same that I keep in a very special place on my book shelve. A remarkable man and painter......
November 14, 2020
I came to this page wanting to learn more about Charles Reid, because I am currently reading his book "Flower Painting in Oil" (1976). A friend had recommended this book and I bought it a long time ago. It sat on my shelf and I finally picked it up. (Most of the book is in black and white and I have scores of newer books, of course). Once I started reading I understood why my friend recommended it so highly. "I don't believe in focal points", Reid wrote. Well, after 10 years of people telling me that focal points are an absolute requirement, my interest was piqued. The deeper I've gotten into this book the more I realize what a rare genius Charles Reid was. It's difficult to describe how much I've gotten out of the book and I just really like him! Often throughout the book he writes things like: "I shouldn't have placed that there" or "This would have been better if I had ...(whatever)". How refreshing is all that, that he would admit to sharing the same issues as the very people reading his book. I was very pleased to read that he had such a rich life and that he helped legions of people to learn to paint. Through this book I am one of his students, even though he has gone from this earth. The remarkable thing is, that he is still here through his warm, generous (and honest) writing.
Candy B
June 29, 2020
He was my watercolor hero. I have his books and teaching discs. Never, did I think such an artist could pass in my lifetime. His passing left a watercolor 'mark' on me. Rest in peace Mr. Reid.
Judith Durling
June 1, 2020
My heart goes out to Charles family and friends. He is greatly missed!
Scott Bovard
June 1, 2020
For some reason I arranged all of his wonderful books that were in my studio yesterday. I especially like the one about flowers. FLOWER PAINTING IN WATERCOLOR . Dedicated to Judy. In this book on page 115, 5/4/78 Charles Reid said "Astors Frost Flowers Judy's Birthday" .. Charles was a great painter and a wonderful person, I do miss his workshops and I am so glad in my life that I got to go to quite a few. Thank you Judy and family for carrying on his memory. Alway Char Cee
charlotte colosia
May 28, 2020
He conducted a watercolor workshop In Macon Georgia, we were impressed with his skills and concern for his students
Martha H Tisdale
May 25, 2020
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Lynda Lanker
November 29, 2019
I never knew Charles Reid, but he touched me. His paintings are magic and joy and his books gave me hope that I could learn to express the wonder he did with splotches of paint on paper.. He let go with color and stroke and showed me how, better than any other author I'd read or class I had taken.

Thank you for all the paintings I've studied and bios I've searched. You don't know it, Mr. Reid, but you helped me take a journey. Godspeed on yours.
Jeffrey Chirchill
November 5, 2019
GOD!!.....I love you watercolors!!! I learn you style 10 years, and I bought you books 4. I missing you Charles Reid.
Kylin Alan Lau
September 30, 2019
I am so sorry for the loss of a great artist and also a wonderful wife, Judy who I may not see again because Charles's workshops are over. I am glad to have known him and Judy for a very long time. I am sure he is up in heaven and that he took all his easel and chair with him.. I am looking forward to his book in December and I am glad I purchased a special one from Judy at the New Orleans workshop... Always, Judy you are on my mind and your lovely daughter, who also I am glad to have met. His legacy truly lives on.
Char Cee.
Char Cee Colosia
September 30, 2019
I feel blessed and fortunate to have studied with Charles Reid in Provence around 1992. I loved watching his beautiful ways with paint and the incredible touch he had with a brush. A couple of years ago, I studied again with Mr Reid in New Orleans. Frequently I start my day with a cup of coffee and watch one of his videos. My thoughts are with Judy and the children. Rest in Peace and know you were loved.
jean osher Summers
September 16, 2019
I am very very sorry for your loss and all our loss as well. I was very fortunate to have study with Charles many times. I would like to personally address Judy for all of her thoughtfulness and caring when she began assisting with the classes. As we who had the privilege to be in the presence of a true genius this opportunity will not come around. again. I was fortunate to have purchased a painting very early on in my tenure with Charles and I will appreciate this lovely work forever
One of my best experiences was when Some of us were invited to Sue Gellers 80th birthday with a surprise guest. None other than Charles Reid who proceeded to do a demonstration for just a select few. This genius will be sorely missed. My fondest regards to Judy and the
Family. Diane Estrada
Diane Estrada
August 31, 2019
Dear Mrs Reid,

I was so sorry to hear that Charlie had died earlier in August. He certainly had the most amazing and illustrious career, and not only were his paintings so admired, but he was just the nicest and most encouraging teacher ever! I took classes from him at Silvermine, and also posed for him in some of his classes, It was truly a privilege to have known him. (thank you for sharing the story of his pursuit of you over the alps on his motor bike).

Having lost my husband two years ago after 56 years together, you have my deepest sympathy,

Wendy Stone
Wendy Stone
August 29, 2019
Dear Judy and Family,

Next to my husband, Mr. Reid holds a place in my heart! I have been devouring his books ever since I discovered his Painting Flowers in Watercolor--and then every book that he published, I guess i have! They are all read and re-read so many times with such admiration for his one-of-a-kind paintings and also his words of expertise on how to paint! I was fortunate to take two of his workshops--they were wonderful and can still hear his voice and see him painting with his slow, deliberate style! There is no one that can succeed him or his talentI I considerer myself to be so lucky to have witnessed his beautiful and talented style of painting! Also, Judy, you could tell that you were an invaluable asset to making his workshops run so smoothly! You are adorable and I loved reading about your courtship- what fun you had! Also, loved reading bout Mr. Reid's life growing up--he had such great experiences did he not?! My dear friend and painting buddy, passed away a few days before your husband--we would talk about his painting style and paintings almost daily from the time we knew about him. I do remember calling your number years ago just wanting to hear his voice--is that not so funny? I think you answered and I am not sure what we asked you!! He was a celebrity in his own right! Anyway, there was no way to tell Karen that Charles Reid had also passed from this earth--it was a very weird feeling for sure! Know so much of my genuine love for you and your husband and my sorrow for you at his passing. With love and respect, Crystal L.Dunn
Crystsal Dunn
August 15, 2019
I was very fortunate to take a workshop from Charles in Long Island, New York a few years ago. I drove two days from Chicago to attend and was not disappointed. His demonstrations were terrific. I met his lovely wife and was lucky enough to share a meal and a glass of wine with them. After the workshop, when I was driving back to Chicago Judy made me call her at every stop for the night so she would be sure I made it safely home. What a lovely lady. Today, I received my Watercolor Magazine and was sad to learn of Charles' passing. He had such a lovely painting style and a masterful command of the medium. His passing is a great loss to those of us who looked to him to show us the way in watercolor. Every time I asked him for advice he always had the same response..."use more paint." I am trying Charles, I am trying! My sympathies to Judy and his entire family
Marjorie O'Dea
August 11, 2019
Dear Judy,
I am so sorry for your loss. It was such an honor to study with Charles October 2015 in Santa Fe. You were lovely also. Charles helped my art a great deal and will continue to.
Kate Sladen
August 10, 2019
Dear Judy,
I am so very sorry for your loss of your dear Charles. I am thinking of you. I was incredibly fortunate to have been taught by Charles October 2015 in Santa Fe. I wish that I had known of Charles when I was in art college in the 80's, because he taught far better than any of my professors. Charles lives on in his gorgeous paintings, in his books, videos, and in our memories. I am thrilled that I have a painting and a sketch by him. At the workshop, I also loved your warmth, leadership, and how you would wisely tell Charles when to stop working on a piece! Much love.
Kate Sladen
August 4, 2019
I had the great pleasure of studying with Mr. Reid at the Katonah Art Center one summer and meeting his lovely wife Judy. It was a dream come true to have met and learned from him. I am so grateful I had the opportunity. God bless him and his family.
Karen Keeler
July 27, 2019
Clayton CA
Charles you are and will always be missed. Your beautiful art lives on as does your teaching. Your workshops were always awesome, your kind demeanor and focus unmatched. Your lovely wife Judy would take care of us students allowing you to concentrate on the task at hand. You are sorely missed but I cherish the time we had together. Thank you for your dedication to your art and your humble spirit. Your critiques were always encouraging and inspiring leaving no one discouraged the sign of a great teacher. How fortunate I was to look on the internet net and discover your art. Thank you Charles!
Scott Bovard
July 20, 2019

I am so sad to hear of his passing. I had the great opportunity to participate in one of his workshops at Cheap Joes. I have taken from many instructors but was so nervous to be in his. You see, I had read most of his books and watched his DVDs multiple times so I felt like I knew him and was in awe of his drawing and painting skill and his apparent loose style. As the most famous and decorated instructor I've been with, I found him to be humble and funny in a quiet way.
I am still learning from his lessons and am so thankful for his excellent teaching. My condolences to his dear wife and family, and his friends.
Jeanette Dean-DeJesus
July 19, 2019
I went to a workshop in April, 2019 in upstate new york. I absolutely loved his style and understanding of color, form and just how to create beauty. Certainly an inspiration to thousands of people. I loved his book as a kid. His wife was lovely also.
Patricia O'Rourke
July 17, 2019
Charles Reid at workshop in Ponte Vedra Florida
Pablo Rivera
July 17, 2019
Many years ago, I was fortunate enough to take a workshop with Charles Reid, whom I was in awe of, in Staten Island, NY. Several of us students and Charles went out for lunch, and when it came time to pay, he discovered that he had left his wallet behind. I quickly paid for him, and thereafter was able to brag to my fellow watercolorists that I had taken Charles Reid to lunch!
Carol Z. Brody
July 14, 2019
I will never forget his and Judith's kindness as they taught a workshop I attended in Seattle....I continue to learn from Charles Reid each time I pick up his books...he was truly a master and I was just fortunate enough to be taught by him... you will be missed, but I know you are now painting the heavens and they are the lucky receipients❤
Carla Palmer
July 12, 2019
my yankee doodel from a workshop with charles in Hilton Head...
thank you Charles for inspiring me to paint. i have hundreds of "how to books" but would trade them all for a single one by you. I enjoyed your workshops tremendously, including September 2018 in Maine.
Rest in Peace, but keep painting!

russ thibeault
laconia nh
July 11, 2019
Thank you, Charles, for sharing your art and your way of painting, teaching and inspiring so many followers as I was for a life.
My condolences to the family.
Fernando Medina Encina
July 9, 2019
I am from New Zealand and have, since the 1980s, been inspired by Charles Reid. When I visited Connecticut mid 1990s, I was able to meet with him in his studio. A quiet reserved gentleman. We spoke of art and we spoke of his father's war time flying as could been seen from the photos in the studio. I have books and art tutorial CDs. His art tutorials inspired me and other.. Thank you Judy for your support and inspiration which I know Charles valued. May he Rest In Peace and continue to colour the skies.
Pamela Absolum
July 8, 2019
When I was newbie watercolourist, discovering his artwork on Internet inspired me much. Though I never got to study with him he seems like such a gentle soul with a naturalistic approach based from years of wisdom. Rest In Peace and many heartfelt Thanks for sharing your knowledge. Condolences to all the family. Thanks for the recent photos and paintings posted on Facebook for his legacy. Much respect.
Becky Chinn
July 6, 2019
Charles tought me how to paint, to see and to feel my subjects. Always helpful, with good cheer and kind advice. To this day, I hear his admonition, "Tom, easy on the darks." All of us who knew Charles treasure his teachings and his friendship.
Tom McCobb
July 1, 2019
Dear Judy,
Please accept my condolences for our beloved Charles, who besides a dear friend was a great person, great teacher and the finest watercolorist artist. I am sad and will miss him and his sincere friendship.

Sergio Bitici
July 1, 2019
He was a generous and kind teacher. His great sense of humor and philosophy of life made learning from him so easy. I am forever grateful. I send my thoughts and condolences to his wonderful family. Peg Anderson, Mendocino Ca,
peg anderson
July 1, 2019
I had been fortunate enough to have attended one of his workshops in Macon Georgia. We will miss his talent.
Martha Tisdale
June 27, 2019
Charles Reid was one of my all time favorite teachers. I took 6 workshop classes with him in Mendocino Ca., He inspired me and so many others in art. He was a great artist and teacher.
Sally Cataldo
June 24, 2019
Deborah Joyce (Le Lait)
June 24, 2019
Thank you, Charles, from your devoted student. My heart is with you, Judy and family.
Deborah Joyce (Le Lait)
June 17, 2019
I enjoyed and was inspired by Charles on our art workshops in Italy and the Baltic coasts. Two of his watercolours now adorn the walls of our home.

My condolences to Judith and family.

Ian and Liz kaye-Eddie
Perth Western Australia.
June 17, 2019
So honored and inspired by you, your approach to watercolor painting and your talent, what a great loss to all of us who had the privilege of attending your workshops. you will be truly missed.
Pablo Rivera
June 14, 2019
Charles, you were and are an inspiration. Thank you.
Don Brown
June 14, 2019
I enjoyed my workshop with Charles at Hilton Head in 2005. I learned so much. Charles was a wonderful teacher in addition to being a magical painter.
Anita Lovitt
June 13, 2019
Charles Reid and Ray Ferrara (our model) in March at Ringling College of Art and Design.
deborah healy
June 12, 2019
Charles and Judy, you both have been an incredible influence in my life. Charles, we will always remember the gifts you gave us for so many years. Those of us who got to experience your workshops and gentle personality are so fortunate, for you truly inspired all of us to set our sights high in our art endeavors. Your art, your books, your personality, and your commitment to teaching is unmatched. Your legacy will live on forever.
Leslie Wilson
June 12, 2019
Leslie Wilson
June 12, 2019
He was such a generous teacher, great artist, and funny kind man. I'm so glad to have known him, and so grateful to have gotten to know you better, dear Judy. I send my condolences to you. ....I hope Charles is with Sargent and finally getting the inside story on John Singer's palette. Love to you Judy with gratitude for your great kindness to me and sadness for the loss of this beautiful, gifted man.
deborah healy
June 11, 2019
You were loved by everyone, God bless you and your beautiful family.A loving hug to you dear Judith.
lynn wessel
June 10, 2019
Sincerest condolences to the Reid family. Charles was a great artist, teacher and friend to The Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists. In 2010, he co-judged our portrait exhibition with the recently decease Everett Raymond Kinstler who specifically requested Charles Reid to work with. May they both rest in peace and find wonderful things to paint in heaven.
Jeanine Jackson
CSOPA President
June 10, 2019
Farewell Too Soon Bouquet
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June 9, 2019
It was a privilege to have met and learned from you in Savannah, GA. You will be missed, but always remembered by all the people who enjoyed your talent. Vin Filosi
Vin Filosi
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