Requiem for Bill

Bill, the love of my life, died in 2018 after a long illness. I created these portraits in his honor. They represent Bill's struggle with his fatal illness during the last months of his life when he was in hospice.

I have been through a profound experience as a witness to my partner Bill's illness and death, and these artworks are my visual testimony.

At the hospital, where Bill spent the last months of his life, a great drama unfolded. I attempted to catch fleeting images of it with my camera. Bill died with tremendous gravitas, seeming to transcend the condition of a helpless victim of a dread and fatal disease. It was as if I, in witnessing this event, as a mere conduit, a mere medium, were transported to another and a greater, though mysterious, dimension of existence. It was a humbling experience. I wondered at how it could be so sorrowful and at the same time so beautiful.

During that time, I took hundreds of photos of Bill on my cell phone and with my digital camera, planning to create 2D artworks derived from them in the future. It was with this intention that I had many of the digital jpegs reproduced into photographs - usually 4x6" - and it was from these photos that I worked freehand to create these drawings.

Thus, the drawings were not created onsite. The final drawings were often inspired by a patchwork of the photos, the face often lit from different directions, and the hands accompanying the portrait were often taken from entirely different photos. Despite my reference to the photos, realism, especially photorealism, has never been my goal at all. In this case, the photos were a means to another end and not an end in themselves. My goal was to attempt to express and render in visual lines and tones my appreciation of Bill's spiritual struggle as I perceived and witnessed it.

I extend my deepest gratitude to my friends and fellow artists in my artist support group led by the intrepid Adria Arch for encouraging me to continue this drawing project and to share it with the world.