Charles Reid — a nationally celebrated watercolor painter, and a native Westporter who returned here to create art and raise a family — died last week, at his Greens Farms home. He was 81.
For almost 60 years, Reid worked as a fine artist, illustrator, author and teacher. His art hangs in permanent collections around the country. He designed a US postage stamp, and his work appeared in American Heritage, Harper’s, Sports Afield, Reader’s Digest Books and the LL Bean catalog.
He also wrote 11 books on painting, and was on the faculty of Famous Artists School.
Reid’s daughter, Sarah Worth Reid, recalls his Westport life:
My dad was born in 1937 in upstate New York. But his parents had lived here since 1935, and came back when he was a baby.
He lived near what is now the Westport Historical Society until he was 10. His parents moved back to upstate New York to care for ailing parents, then returned to Westport when my father was in college.
My parents bought their own house in Westport in 1962. It is one of the oldest houses here — built in 1727.
My father rented studio space with other great artists like Chip Chadbourn, Bob Baxter, Burt Dodson, Ann Toulmin-Rothe and Gene Holbrook at the factory on Richmondville Avenue. They called it Studio 2. They paid models, and painted oils on large canvases.
They cooked lunch once a week, and drank wine and beer with the meal on that day. They were all hard working, and made their livings as artists full time.
Sterling Hayden came to the studio, and my father painted him.
My father had 2 galleries in NYC, and the openings were always memorable. One time we met a homeless cowboy with a dog. He said we could take the dog home. My parents let us do it. We named him Roko after the gallery.
My father was an Eagle Scout and a scout leader, for my brother who was a Cub Scout for a few years. My father went with me on the 6th grade camping trip to Camp Mahackeno.
We kept a sailboat at Compo for several years before moving it to Southport.
My father’s mother loved Chez Pierre, and went there from 1935 on (whenever it opened). My father was a regular at Klein’s, Max’s Art Supply and the downtown YMCA for years. He loved to swim. He took us there for swim lessons.
There are so many memories in this town.
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. He was predeceased by his cat Brutus, who died in 2005.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Front Range Equine Rescue, PO Box 8807, Pueblo, CO 81008; Ever After Mustang Rescue, 463 West Street, Biddeford, ME 04005, or Wildlife in Crisis, PO Box 1246, Weston, CT 06883.