It has taken me more than 10 years since William Blakesley died to realize he was the quintessential Vineyard artist. I’ve spent more than 60 years surrounded by his works, and 50 of those in his company. Yet it wasn’t until July 2022 that I looked at a tourist contorted into a crane-like position and realized I’ve been seeing the Island through his vision all my life, even as he documented mine and those of thousands of others.

There will be a retrospective of Blakesley’s work at Featherstone Center for the Arts, curated by his daughter Barbara, running Sept. 11 to Oct. 2. In conjunction, there is an exhibition at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum through Nov. 3.

Since the Blakesleys introduced my family to the Island in 1958, I have never had the perspective to be retrospective until now. I got to ride the Flying Horses while Bill sketched. In watercolor I’m another awkward teenager trying to simultaneously swim at State Beach and not get wet. Prints from Jump Rope Rhymes for Vineyard Kids are on family walls in several countries. There’s a sculpture in my parents’ den, silkscreens on the walls. And when Barbara needed help transferring her dad’s accumulated works from studio storage, as one of two not ready for knee replacement, I got to be the brawn.

The exhibit at Martha’s Vineyard Museum and the retrospective at Featherstone are just a sampling, in various media, of the Vineyard in all seasons. Low-bush blueberry picking, birds in the snow, daytrippers on the Island Queen, The Ritz on a Saturday night. From the Blakesley Gallery on upper Circuit avenue to the windowed studio on Montgomery Square at the main entrance to the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association, Bill’s work captured everyday life on the Vineyard (and, yes. beyond) that is timeless. The cameras are more likely iPhones now but the way of seeing the quirks of human nature in their body language has not changed.

William Blakesley captured the Island in ways that a camera could not, with his vision of unsparing humor. His was the eye of an Ohio-born World War II survivor who lived on an Island but had reason to fear the water.

My family was lucky. As a colleague at Muskingum College in Ohio (now Muskingum University), my father came into the orbit of the Blakesley family and was introduced to the Vineyard by the artist (who had been led by an earlier artist).

How many of us took his work for granted — David Crohan at the piano, young horseback competitors at the Agricultural Fair, the fisherman line casting at sunset? For the first time in half a century, the Blakesley Studio on Montgomery Square will no longer be owned by his survivors. Faced with piles of the sketches that he made every single day of his adult life, Bill would warn others: “There’s not enough time.”

He knew he wouldn’t be able to finish all that he wanted. The Featherstone Center for the Arts retrospective is wonderful but also, “not enough time.”

My family is still lucky. We own pieces of his art to give us the Vineyard no matter where we are. And I cannot look at tourists without seeing them through the eyes of William Blakesley, a quintessential Martha’s Vineyard artist.

Peggy Sturdivant lives in Oak Bluffs and Seattle, Wash.