His art was in many ways contradictory, as was he. The mix of qualities seemed to contradict each other in ways that may have left some missing the uniqueness of his work. I identified with that myself, whether justifiably or not.
He was the same way in person, an extremely tall man whose physical presence alone made him seem like the literal "grown up" in many situations, yet with a childlike face (not untypical given his Irish heritage) and a manner just the opposite of "overbearing"—as some physically dominant people can sometimes be.
He had a sharp wit coupled with a basically gentle spirit, and his art reflected all those qualities and more.
I knew him best in my New York days, but after I moved to Southern California in 1982 we kept in touch and I'd see him on my visits to Manhattan. Then he came out for a show in a gallery in the summer of 1990 and asked me to write the monograph for it, which I did.
Here's one of the more subdued pieces from that show (it was an edition of 12 screen prints hand colored with pastels, 18x36 inches, I have one hanging on my bedroom wall):
That's not really reproducing very well, unfortunately. The original is much smoother and more subtle. Scanning it has created those wavy almost pixilated lines through it (I'll try to find one on the web and add it below) At any rate, here is what I wrote about him and that show as he was in the process of creating it:
You'll be sorely missed Bill. I'm grateful we still have your art.
[PS: Here's another one of the prints from that series (on the right) and the only one I could find online, but you can see in it compared to the one above at least a touch of the beautiful variety he brought to this serial project, so controlled and yet energetic, subtle yet in its quiet way demanding our attention...I could go on but will resist.]