Saying Goodbye to a Master

Charles Reid has long been considered a master of the medium of watercolor. His paintings are fresh and spontaneous, displaying his profound understanding of light and color and expert drawing ability. The viewer is immediately drawn into his rich compositions. His figures are beautifully rendered, in a simple, direct and natural, gestural manner that reveals his interest in painting the light as much as the person.

Reid was born in Cambridge, New York, and studied art at the University of Vermont and the Art Students League of New York. He won numerous awards, including the Childe Hassam Purchase Prize at the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Academy of Design and the American Watercolor Society. In 1980 he was elected to the National Academy of Design. Public collections of his work include Smith College, Yellowstone Art Center, Brigham Young College, Roche Corporation, and the National Academy of Design. In addition to painting, Reid teaches workshops around the world. He wrote 11 books on painting in watercolor and oil. Awards also include a Purchase Award from Shanghai International Biennial Exhibition in 2013 and a Gold Medal from the Portrait Society of America in 2013.

He passed away on June 1, 2019.

Watercolor Paintings by Charles Reid

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Kelly Kane
PleinAir Magazine and American Watercolor Weekly Editor-in-Chief With more than 20 years experience in art publishing, Kelly Kane has served previously as Editor-in-Chief of Watercolor Artist magazine and Content Director for The Artist’s Magazine, Drawing, Acrylic Artist, and Pastel Journal. She has interviewed many of the preeminent artists of our time and written numerous articles about painting, drawing, art education and art history. She is now the Editor-in-Chief of PleinAir Magazine and the American Watercolor Weekly newsletter. Click here to send her an email.


  1. Whenever I think of Charles REID…I think of CADMIUM RED! He encouraged me to add this brilliant red to my palette…to get out of my comfort zone…to loosen up! His passing is like missing a brilliant color from our palette of life…RIP, CHARLES,

  2. His workshop at Ringling was one of the best I’ve taken. The art world will be dulled without his spontaneous colors ~ a truly gifted artist.

  3. At his Coastal Maine workshop last fall, he was suffering the ravages of illness and advanced age, but still, he was a superb teacher and brought out the best in me. My heart goes out to his family and to all the many followers who revere him.
    Goulart, M.D.

  4. I waited over a decade to be able to attend a workshop by Charles Reid. Finally my chance came in 2007 in Bend, Oregon. What a wonderful week! I brought all my books that he wrote and he graciously signed each and every one. I have notes from that workshop posted all over my studio for encouragement, advice, and courage. We will miss him.

  5. Charles Reid was one of my earliest inspirations. I studied his painting on the back of a magazine so many times, yearning to find my own beautiful loose style. We never met, but I consider him a mentor.


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