1909 – 1969
Theme/Style – California Style landscapes, Regionalism, portraits, figurative art, genre scenes, marines, still lifes, illustration
Media – Oils, tempera, watercolors, murals, graphic arts
Artistic Focus – A major figure in California Style watercolor painting, Tom Craig was an award- winning painter who was facile with subjects ranging from landscapes to portraiture. While best known for his rural scenes often depicting fog or ominous clouds and rain, Craig was able to communicate subtle richness in his portraits and other subjects.
Career Highlights –
- Thomas Theodore Craig was born in Upland, California, in 1909.
- Craig studied botany at Pomona College, but maintained an interest in art and later attended Chouinard Art School in Los Angeles where he studied with, among others, Millard Sheets and Barse Miller.
- In 1928 Craig’s studies at Pomona were interrupted when he contracted tuberculosis and relocated to the desert climate of Palm Springs to recover. It was during this time that Craig started to paint seriously. Upon his recovery he continued his art studies.
Watercolor became Craig’s favorite medium, and depicting the weather patterns of the rural landscapes he liked to paint was of particular interest and led him to paint in Northern California for a time.
- During the 1930s, Craig taught in the Los Angeles area at the University of Southern California, Chouinard Art School, and Occidental College.
- Craig had a solo exhibition at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco in 1937, and during the 1930s also exhibited at the Los Angeles Art Association, the Laguna Beach Art Association where he won 1st prize in 1936, the Oakland Art Gallery, the San Francisco Art Association, the Los Angeles County Fair, the Santa Cruz Art League, the California Water Color Society, and at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco.
- During World War II Craig worked as an artist-correspondent in Italy for Life magazine.
A Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship in 1941 allowed Craig to travel and paint throughout the Southwest where he depicted the impoverished in sympathetic character studies.
- Craig retired from painting in 1950, settled with his family in Escondido, California, and devoted his remaining years to cultivating and selling hybrid irises to support his family.
- Tom Craig passed away in his native Upland in 1969.
Bibliographic references are available upon request.