|William F. Reese|
The painter William F. Reese died in 2010, but I recently came across a video presentation he gave in 2009 that I want to share with you in a moment. It contains good advice for those of us who have unrealized ambitions.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Reese, but he was a mentor of my mentor, Ann Templeton, who is also now gone. Reese was an award-winning Western painter, sculptor and teacher. Known for his rich color and lively style, this Washington artist painted en plein air whenever he could -- even after the disease Alpha-1 took hold.
Alpha-1 (Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency) is a hereditary disease that affects liver and lungs. For the lucky ones, it may mean COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) in later years and the need to be on oxygen. For the unlucky, it may mean liver or lung transplants at an early age. It's estimated that 1 in 2500 Americans have Alpha-1, and it is often undiagnosed. Reese was fortunate in that he was diagnosed in 1985 and managed to live a full life, on oxygen, until the end. When he died at 72, he was in the middle of creating an instructional DVD on how to draw and paint horses.
Reese, who was active in the Alpha-1 Foundation, was scheduled to give a presentation to the group's annual conference in 2009. He was so sick by then that he was unable to appear in person but taped the following impassioned presentation. Although it doesn't contain footage of him, it does contain a slide show of his work with him speaking. I hope you'll listen until the end; I did, and it really made me think about my future.