<font color="#808080">MORRIS, William C.</font>

More William C. Morris:    Federal Duck Stamp Print 

1945 - )

Bill Morris wasn't the first youngster to receive a whipping for drawing on the walls of his parent's house, but he is certainly one of the few who continued to develop those artistic inclinations to the point of becoming a full-time professional artist.

William Curry Morris, Jr., the youngest of the four children of Norma and William Morris, Sr., was born on June 8, 1945, in Mobile, Alabama. His interest in natural history during his early years was nurtured mostly through books on birds and animals. Being raised in downtown Mobile, there was little opportunity for him to roam the fields and woods of the countryside as so many of the more successful wildlife artists have done. His favorite book as a child was BIRDS OF AMERICA by John James Audubon. His fascination with it was such that he made pencil drawings of virtually every plate in the book.

In spite of his interest in art and the outdoors, he decided to become an engineer and after graduating from high school, enrolled at the University of South Alabama. From there he went to work for Chevron Oil as an engineering technologist. While at Chevron, a friend introduced him to Joanne Collins, a young lady who was working as a secretary for the local office of Bell Telephone Company. The chemistry was right; a little more than six months later they were married.

Soon after their marriage, Bill and Joanne decided to build their own house. They did such a fine job of it that others began to seek out Bill to build their houses for them. One house led to another and soon Bill found himself out of Chevron and into the home building business.

The only contact Bill had with art while at Chevron were caricatures now and then of other Chevron employees. However, just prior to his departure from Chevron, a co-worker bought a set of paints and began painting seriously. Bill was intrigued by the work his friend was producing and after leaving Chevron, the magnetism of the world of art began pulling very strongly on him.

One afternoon, he went to an art supply store and bought a set of watercolors. Never having used watercolors, his technique was less than ideal and his first attempt turned into disaster. His second attempt made up for any disaster that could have preceded it. He created a painting of the legendary Alabama football coach, "Bear" Bryant talking to one of the players on the sideline.

In the weeks that followed, so many of the people who viewed the painting wanted copies for themselves that Bill decided to publish a limited edition of 1,000 prints. To make a long story short, all 1,000 prints sold in four weeks.

Not one to tamper with success, Bill selected for his next painting the goal-line stand that the Alabama football team made against Penn State in the Sugar Bowl that year. Again, he decided to publish a limited edition of 1,000 prints. THE PRESS REGISTER, the Mobile newspaper, featured Bill and the painting, GOAL LINE STAND, on the sports page of the Sunday edition just prior to Father's Day. The result: the original sold for $10,000 and all the prints were sold in two days.

It is difficult to imagine that with such a meteoric start that things could get better. But better they got. He entered the Mobile Art Association show and won first place; in the Southern Wildfowl Festival in Decatur he took first, second, and third place; and then he took second place in the Alabama Duck Stamp Contest for 1983. He then won the 1984 Alabama Duck Stamp Contest and topped that by capturing the granddaddy of them all . . . the 1984 Federal Duck Stamp Contest.

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