I had finished working last night and was curled up in my bed when I decided to take one last spin around Facebook on my phone. There I saw a post that painter Lee Boynton had died of colon cancer at age 62. That matters far more than anything I was planning to say about pigments this morning.
I can’t tell you how I met Lee—some event somewhere along the coast, I imagine. I didn’t know him well, but he was an awfully nice guy. In 2014, Howard Gallagher of Camden Falls Gallery offered to take painters out to see the start of the Camden leg of the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta, a three-day event featuring more than a hundred boats.
For lovers of wooden boats, that was like offering catnip. Lee and I took him up on the offer. Both of us filled the memory cards on our cameras taking pictures, but I checked last night and among the hundreds of boat pictures there isn’t a single shot of Howard or Lee. I doubt Lee would have been offended. Like me, he was there to drool over the boats.
Lee was a superb colorist and an expert draftsman, and he painted with easy assurance. He is eulogized here, in the Annapolis paper. His daughter Margie Boynton called him “a faithful man.” Christian faith isn’t something painters talk much about, and yet there’s so much reason to believe in a creator god when one looks at creation every day.
Take a moment this morning and peruse Lee’s paintings, here and here. Artists make a lot of sardonic jokes about being appreciated after we’re dead, but the truth is, Lee will never lift another brush this side of heaven. Take a moment to enjoy his work while you can, to appreciate this kind soul and his love of the natural world. And then, in his honor, go out and do something wondering and wondrous on this, the day you’ve been given.