Reverberation continues from our cover story on Mobile artist William “Bill” Morris (June 11, 2014). One reader contacted us to say that Morris’ name is no longer listed atop the pecking order at the Watercolor Society of Alabama (WSA).
At the time of our cover story, Morris was still listed as president of that group on their website. There was also a June 11 letter outlining the requirements for WSA’s recent 73rd annual competition bearing Morris’ signature at the bottom as president.
A current check of the WSA website reveals some changes. Morris is now absent among a slate of current officers and listed as one of the former presidents with the year of his term listed as 2013.
Intriguing is that Morris’ letter to the members about the recent show has been replaced with another document listing requirements. It’s missing Morris’ previous statement about “copies or likenesses of another’s work (i.e. painting, drawing, photograph, digital image or print),” and “artwork derived from any published source” being strictly prohibited.
More curious is the aforementioned bylaws also say in Article Four, Section C the president and other officers have two-year terms. Yet Morris is listed as a former chief executive along with 21 others who apparently served one-year terms.
Article Five goes on to say “elections shall be held at the annual meeting.” It’s not apparent how that would work with ostensible two-year terms.
Elsewhere on the web, Morris’ disputed work appears in some auspicious places. A May 29 photo on the Facebook page of Orange Beach’s The Compleat Studio shows a wall decorated with Morris paintings. One of those featured is the painting of the cat that Oakland artist Karen Frey said she created before it was copied by Morris from a magazine. Both works were also shown in our June 11 issue.
Another Morris painting he called “Little Big Mountain” won Best of Show at the Tallahassee Watercolor Society’s 23rd Tri-State Juried Water Media Competition that ran May 16 though July 3. Morris compatriots Phyllis Henson and Susan Howell have both displayed paintings they each painted of the same individual, with Henson winning Best In Show at the Watercolor and Graphic Arts Society’s show of 2012 for hers, which bore the same name. Howell has not entered her painting into competition.
Howell and Henson explained they and Morris worked from the same photograph with understanding as to where each might enter their work.
Updated July 24 at 5:43 p.m. to include additional information.