William Ternes


I met William Ternes in 1983, introduced by Nancy Furino, who was exhibiting at my newly opened gallery, Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art. Bill was still a Sunday painter then, still involved in the financial career he soon left to become a full-time painter and teacher. He joined my gallery, where he continued to exhibit until a few years ago.

Menemsha, watercolor, 14.75" x 10.75"

Menemsha, watercolor, 14.75″ x 10.75″

Bill out painting became a familiar sight around the Island, sometimes along with a group of students, sometimes with a single friend or two, rarely alone. That was his personality — generously sharing his knowledge and a good joke besides.

He taught painting workshops here every June, September, and eventually in October from the 1980s until a few years ago — first watercolors, then oils as well. His students were devoted, many of them following him to the Bahamas in the winter, to Ireland and Italy, as well as from Edgartown to Menemsha. Bill was a master member of the Copley Society of Boston, a member of the Guild of Boston Artists, and a signature member of the New England Watercolor Society and the American Watercolor Society.

Although he began as a watercolorist, his oil paintings of later years retained the sparkle of his watercolors, rendered in the layered depth that oils allow. His love of color and the natural world animated his work, mostly all painted plein air until the last years of his life.
Bill died this past February. In his honor, I will host a memorial exhibition and sale of some of the paintings he has left behind. It will be nice to see a lot of the people who have loved and collected Bill’s work over the years, those who wish they had, those who painted with him, those who knew Bill and his wife, Pat.

An opening reception will be held on Sunday, August 10, from 4 to 7 pm, at Hermine Merel Smith Fine Art, 548 Edgartown–West Tisbury Road, West Tisbury. Paintings will remain on view through September.

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