Marion Kavanaugh Wachtel

Marion Kavanagh Wachtel

Armand Cabrera

Marion Kavanagh was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1876. Her mother was an artist who encouraged Marion to pursue an artistic career. Marion studied at the Art Institute of Chicago and then with William Merritt Chase in New York. Chase was a proponent of outdoor painting and instilled in his students the importance of working from life. Marion returned to the Art Institute in Chicago to teach for several years before heading out west to study for a short time with William Keith in San Francisco.

When Marion decided to travel to Southern California in 1903, Keith advised Marion to look up Elmer Wachtel, a landscape painter whom Keith admired. When Marion arrived in Los Angeles she took Keith’s advice. Wachtel and Marion were married in Chicago in 1904. Once she was married, Marion began signing her paintings “Marion Kavanagh Wachtel”. She held solo shows of her work and also exhibited with her husband. Her watercolors were popular and she regularly exhibited in group shows on the east and west coasts. To avoid competing with her husband, Marion chose to paint only in watercolor until Elmer’s death.

Marion’s watercolors have a unique pastel color sense and atmospheric quality, separating her from most of the other painters of that time. Her diverse oeuvre includes portraits, California Coastal scenes, the Sierras and Sonoran desert. She was a founding member of the California Watercolor Society and was active in the Pasadena Society of Artists and the Academy of Western Painters as well as the New York Watercolor Club.

After Elmer Wachtel’s death in 1929, Marion took a hiatus from painting for a few years. When she picked up a brush again in 1931, it was in oils. Her oils show the same mastery her watercolors demonstrate with atmosphere and color. Marion died in Pasadena in 1954.

All Things Bright and Beautiful California Impressionist paintings from the Irvine Museum.
Irvine Museum

Plein Air Painters of California the SouthlandRuth Westphal

Maynard Dixon

Maynard Dixon

Armand Cabrera

Lafayette Maynard Dixon Was born in 1875 in Fresno CA. He began drawing at age seven and was encouraged by his mother and grandfather to develop his talent. Growing up on his grandfathers ranch Maynard had plenty of subject matter for his art. At sixteen his father died and the family soon moved to Alameda CA where Maynard enrolled in the San Francisco School of Design across the bay to study under Arthur Mathews. His time at the school was short though. Maynard who was used to working from life felt stifled in the classroom working from castes and after a few months he quit school.

He became acquainted with Raymond Yelland who helped Dixon with oils and watercolors. Maynard acknowledged Yelland as the only worthwhile professional help he received as an artist.
In 1893 Maynard made many sketching trips in California and moved to San Francisco to pursue a career in Illustration. He began working for the Overland Monthly and the Morning Call. It was in the pages of these magazines where Maynard sharpened his picture making skills. In 1899 He accepted the position of Art Director for William Randolph Hearst’s San Francisco Examiner. In 1900 Maynard began to feel the strain of constant deadlines and began taking trips to the rest of the western states around California. His travels throughout the Southwest solidified his connection to the Native American culture that had intrigued him his whole life. It was during this time he adopted the symbol of the thunderbird replacing his signature with this icon.

In 1905 he married Lillian West they had one child. Displaced by the great quake and fire of 1906 in San Francisco Maynard lost almost everything he owned. He headed to New York with his family to work for Harpers and other National magazines but the big city was not for him by 1912 he was back in San Francisco.

Maynard gave up illustration to pursue easel painting and mural work. He divorced his first wife in 1920 and Married Dorothea Lange a successful photographer, they had two children.

When the depression hit in 1929 Maynard worked on murals for the WPA in 1935 he divorced again and married artist Edith Hamlin in 1937.
Maynard had always suffered from asthma and rheumatism and as his health deteriorated he moved to Tucson to help his illness. He and his new wife split their time between Tucson Mount Carmel Utah. Maynard Dixon died in Tucson in 1946 at the age of 71.



Desert Dreams: The Art and Life of Maynard DixonDonald J. Hagerty
Peregrine Smith Books

Maynard Dixon Artist of the West
Wesley Burnside
Brigham Young University Press

Quote My object has always been to get as close to the real thing as possible- people animals and country. The melodramatic Wild West idea is not for me the big possibility. The more lasting qualities are in the quiet and more broadly human aspects of Western life.
-Maynard Dixon

Harriet Randall Lumis

Harriet Randall Lumis


Armand Cabrera

Harriet Randall was born on May 29, 1870, in Salem Connecticut. After the Civil War, Salem was a small and prosperous farming community. Harriet attended school and showed an interest in the various arts, including music, drawing and dance.

In 1892, at the age of 22, Harriet married Fred Lumis, a 29 year old architect. The couple moved to Springfield, Connecticut. It was here Harriet pursued formal art education. The couple enrolled in the Evening Free Hand Drawing School through the Springfield public education system. Harriet continued her instruction with Leonard Ochtman.

In 1910, Fred Lumis was appointed City Building Commissioner in Springfield. The new position allowed the Lumis’s to buy a house and build Harriet a studio. She became active in many regional art clubs and entered her work in numerous exhibitions.

At the age of 50, Harriet enrolled in the Breckenridge School of Art and studied there for three years. Under Hugh Breckenridge, Harriet’s work became less restrictive and more colorful—adopting a more impressionistic style. Her work employed broken color and vigorous brushwork.

In 1937, her husband died after an operation at the age of 76. Harriet was left with no income except her painting sales which were not enough to provide for her. Teaching became her best solution. Harriet held classes outdoors and at her studio for the rest of her life.

An outspoken opponent of the new painting styles predominant at the time, Harriet never chased the trends of Modernism. In 1949, with a group of like-minded artists, she formed the Academic Artists Association. The purpose of the group was to “encourage the showing of realistic works of art in local museums and promote the interests of artists who work in a realistic manner”.

The last years of her life, Harriet continued to paint and teach, spending much of the time in her formal gardens that surrounded her studio. She died in 1953 at the age of 82.


Harriet Randall Lumis 1870-1953
An American impressionist

Richard Love
Exhibition Catalog 1977

I like to get the color notes and form in one sitting… I have an occasional picture that has been completed in one sitting under especially favorable circumstances, but more often than not there are days of study and repeated trips to the scene.~Harriet Lumis

N C Wyeth

Newell Convers Wyeth

Armand Cabrera

One of the most famous illustrators from America’s Golden Age of Illustration was Newell Convers Wyeth. Also an accomplished easel painter, Newell Convers Wyeth was born on October 22, 1882. He was the eldest of four sons of Andrew Newell Wyeth, a farmer, and Henriette Zirngiebel. Growing up in a rural setting gave the young “N.C.” a deep love for the land and a great understanding of the human form in motion. N.C. had a keen ability for recalling the smallest visual details of a scene—something that would serve him well as an illustrator.

It was N.C.’s mother who encouraged his artistic ability and she who convinced his father to allow N.C. to attend art school instead of an apprenticeship to a New Hampshire Farm. N.C. attended the Mechanic Art School in Boston, graduating in 1899. He continued his studies at the Massachusetts Normal Art School and the Eric Pape School of Art in 1902. Through a fellow student, he was encouraged to apply for the Howard Pyle School in Delaware.

Howard Pyle was the most famous Illustrator of his time. His school was free to anyone who met Pyle’s standard for artistic excellence and hard work. Within 4 months, the 20 year old N.C. rose to the top of his class. Pyle encouraged his students to paint from life, whenever possible.

Although N.C was marginalized by other artists during his lifetime because he chose illustration as his occupation, his illustrations have stood the test of time as great paintings. N.C. became one of the most successful illustrators in America, illustrating such classics as Treasure Island, Last of the Mohicans, Robin Hood and Robinson Crusoe.

Throughout his career, N.C. would return to his passion for the land and people close to his homes in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania and Port Clyde, Maine. These canvases not only have his illustrator’s skill of exceptional facility, but also a deep understanding of the land and the people who worked it.

N.C. Wyeth created what is one of the most impressive art families in America. His sons and daughters went on to become successful artists in their own right. His son, Andrew, and his grandson, Jamie, are continuing the legacy to this day.
N.C. was tragically killed with his grandson, Newell, when his car stalled on the train tracks near his house in 1945.


Not For Publication: Landscapes, Still Lifes, and Portraits by N.C Wyeth
Brandywine River Museum 1982

N.C. Wyeth A Biography
David Michaelis
Knopf 1998

N.C. Wyeth: the Collected Paintings, Illustrations and Murals
Douglas Allen and Douglas Allen, JR.
Bonanza 1972

I don’t want to be rated as an illustrator trying to paint, but as a painter who has shaken the dust of the illustrator from his heels!! ~Newell Convers Wyeth

Richard Parkes Bonington

Richard Parkes Bonington

Armand Cabrera

Richard Parkes Bonington was born in Arnold, England in 1802. His family moved to Calais, France in 1817, then moved again to Paris. The young Bonington spent time copying pictures in the Louvre. He met Eugene Delacroix in Paris and the two artists became lifelong friends. At fifteen, Bonington entered the studio of Baron Gros. Bonington rose quickly in the ranks. His bravura painting and excellent drawing facility garnered much praise throughout his career. The Academic schedule of drawing from casts soon bored Bonington and he found himself at odds with his teacher. By 1821, the relationship reached its breaking point and he set out on his own path of study.

Bonington preferred to paint on location and record nature and modern life. Longing to break from the stylized stage settings and mythic genre of most academic landscapes,
Bonington set out on a sketching tour to Normandy. He explored painting and sketching from life, focusing on coastal scenes. In 1822, he illustrated travel books for Parisian publishers. The success of these illustrations led to his demand with publishers, dealers and collectors. During this time, Bonington studied the art of lithography and received financial backing to publish his own set of lithographic views of Normandy.

Bonington received a Gold Medal for his entry in the Salon of 1824. The Salon was a turning point for landscape art. Young painters sought to overthrow the restrictions on subject and finish set by the Academics. Leading the attack were the English painters.

Although Bonington’s career spanned less than ten years, his influence on French painting was profound. Bonington was skilled in watercolors and oils and also created fine lithographs and engravings. He was the link between the English landscape painters, Turner and Constable, and the Barbizon School and the Impressionists.

Bonington fell ill during a sketching trip and contracted a complication of pulmonary consumption. He died one month before his 26th birthday.

Richard Parkes Bonington ‘On the Pleasure of Painting’
Patrick Noon
1991 Yale University press

Quote Lithography is drawing itself. In it we discover the hand, the thought of it’s author: it is not a faithful copy; to our mind it is the echo of the model, it is a mirror that reflects and multiplies the original.~ R.P. Bonington