Canvas work

Jim Watson-Gove | Head of Port Townsend

Jim Watson-Gove passed away in the wee hours of Monday October 4, 2021. My loved one is gone but left me with the poetry / memories and abstract colors / paintings of our life together. Wish her luck. Lewy body dementia was no fun disease for him. I didn’t like Jim perfectly, but I liked him very much and deeply! (Remarks by Eleanor Watson-Gove on Facebook)

Jim was born in Los Angeles in 1933. He was the middle child (only son) of James Gove and Ruth Wells. He attended Los Angeles public schools and, after graduating in 1951, joined the United States Air Force. After two years of service, Jim found employment with AT&T, GTE Sprint and Sprint Communications, where as a telephony engineer he had a long career that has earned him financial success and a highly regarded skill set.

In addition to expertly filling in the linear “left brain” aspects of his engineering job, Jim had poetry writing in his repertoire of talents. In 1965 he found homes in several publications for several of his poems, and also edited and published the work of other poets in his various magazines: Showcase, Lemming, and Minotaur.

A true lover of artistic expression, Jim welcomed the college graduate poet, as well as the unknown and often invisible street poet to participate in his places. He corresponded with famous poet and filmmaker James Broughton throughout the 1960s and 1970s. During the 1980s Jim developed a strong and mutually respectful friendship with one of Alaska’s poet laureates, Joanne. Townsend, who was a staunch poet in his magazines. Jim’s poetry is archived in several academic collections, including Brown University.

Jim retired in 2002 and moved to the Pacific Northwest with his wife, Eleanor. He quickly found camaraderie with other artistic souls like himself – one of whom, Bill McMasters, owner of Lehani’s in Port Townsend – expressed great enthusiasm for reading poetry in his cafe. Thus was born the famous Friday Night Series, which continued as a much loved and popular venue until 2008. Jim also founded the Northwest Arts Poetry Series, whose original goal was to celebrate local poets. His successors now invite poets from Seattle and beyond, while continuing to include – as part of Jim’s legacy of giving voice to important but lesser-known writers – the treasure trove of local talent from the Olympic Peninsula. .

Jim also enjoyed the great satisfaction in abstract painting. Like his mentor, Richard Allen Morris, who was also born in 1933, Jim was a self-taught artist whose inspirations came largely from the work of Hans Hoffman, Jackson Pollock and Judy Chicago.

Jim described himself as an “accidental painter” – a term first used in the art world among artists such as David Alfaro Siqueiros who discovered his “accidental painting” technique in the 1930s. Jim identified with the simplicity of the process of pouring paints of different colors onto a canvas or panel, or painting with paper towels instead of a brush, allowing the different colors to spread, to coalesce melt and seep into each other. Jim found it pleasantly exciting to allow the painting to take control – as if it represented a personal accomplishment of “letting go” and bowing to the greatest power in the universe.

A member of the Sequim Arts League, the Port Ludlow Arts League, Jim became the holder of membership card # 001 to the young Northwind Arts Gallery in 2003. While passionately pursuing his life as a poet and painter, Jim completed his busy life by volunteering as treasurer for several local organizations. Like collectors in Washington and California who are privileged to view Jim’s works every day, supporters of these local organizations will no doubt remember the enlightened extent of Jim’s high level of commitment and dedication.

With his passing, Jim not only leaves a precious legacy in the arts, but also an offspring of family wealth. Although predeceased by two sisters, he is survived by his beloved wife, Eleanor; his daughter, Pamela Butler-Gove; son-in-law, Steve Butler; his granddaughter; Hillary Perez and three great-grandchildren, Zoe, Itzabella and Gabriel Perez. His son Glenn Gove has passed away, leaving Jim with two grandsons, James and Adrian, and a great-grandson, Malakai. Jim also survived his step-sons, Robert and Edward Pickering; Robert’s wife, Nita; grandson Zacharie; granddaughter Sarah; Edward’s wife, Funke; and their three children, Sade, Ayo and Akin.