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 Evelyn Rose Hamilton Keith  (1915 - 1992)

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Lived/Active: California/Maryland/Tennessee      Known for: Romantic realist painting, cities, missions, landscapes, clowns

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Evelyn Rose Hamilton Keith ( June 23,1915- July 11, 1992)

The combination of natural art ability and a great love of God's created world , brought Evelyn Rose Hamilton Keith to the career of artist and instructor in fine arts at an early age . She moved from Knoxville, Tennessee, her birthplace, to Baltimore, Maryland during grade school.  Beginning her art education at the age of 12 at the Maryland Institute of Art in Baltimore, she worked in many mediums, themes, and techniques.  Her versatility showed itself in many approaches to representative paintings of the beautiful world around her which she loved to present to the discriminating public.

Evelyn was continually queried about her most popular style which she had developed completely, and which in self-defense she had to give a title.  This she called, "Keith's method" which she uses primarily in paintings in "Romantic Realism'.  She often painted series of paintings on one subject if she became quite interested in that theme; such as "Of the City Series", "The Pedro Series", "Romance of the Mission Series", "Seascape & Landscape Series", the "Clown Series", and the "Yorba Linda Ranch Series".  Many of her creative works pertained to the element of time; the past, present, and the promise of the future.

In her mid twenties during one of her visits to Santa Barbara, she met her husband S.L. Keith, who was working as a life guard at Miramar Beach.  They married in 1945 and later settled in Anaheim where they raised two sons, Jon Michael and Ronnie Hamilton.  In Anaheim, Evelyn maintained a studio for 17 years where she taught art classes for all ages.  She was an instructor and art chairman for the Anaheim Ebell Club art class for many years of which she was a member.

Early on in her career, she was recognized by her contemporaries as one who did much to make Orange County "Art Conscious".  When she arrived in Anaheim, she found the area lacking in art endeavor and appreciation.  She then became proactive in her community when she could take time out from rearing her two sons, fulfilling duties of the PTA, the Junior Ebell Club, and as Boy Scout Den Mother.

To stimulate local interest in art, she began looking for outlets through which original art of amateurs as well as professional painters could be displayed.  She initially began arranging exhibits at Anaheim restaurants.  Shortly thereafter, a bank chain contacted her about placing displays in their institutions which led to other businesses deciding they liked the idea of acquiring art displays for public viewing.  For numerous years, many establishments in Anaheim, Garden Grove, Buena Park, and Santa Ana exhibited paintings of Orange County Artists in part due Evelyn's vision and donation of time to the cause and appreciation for art in the county.

In fulfillment of a life-long dream, she became a resident of Laguna Beach in 1963 where she resided on the ocean-front at El Morro Beach.  There she put her love for the sea on canvas to share with others.  Her summers were spent on trailer road trips throughout the Western United States and Canada during which her husband was very accomodating to "pull over now " so she could capture the beauty of nature which stood before her eyes.

Evelyn was a proud holder of a life membership in the Laguna Art Association and frequent exhibitor at the Laguna Festival of the Arts in addition to being a member of the Orange County Art Association.  She continued her art education throughout the years at various schools including Athenaeum, studying abroad while traveling, and learning from her peers.

She established the "Keith Gallery of Paintings" which was first located at #153 and then at #326 North Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California on Gallery Row.  There she became a close friend with the official "Town Greeter of Laguna Beach ", Eiler Larsen, whom she often depicted in her oil paintings with the scenic coastline in the background which they both adored.

Evelyn has been recognized for her works, exhibited , and received awards over the years at the Orange County Fair, the Newport and Orange County Juried Art Shows, the Orange County Art Association festival, the Orange District of Women's Clubs, and other various art associations, festivals, and exhibits.

She often demonstrated her techniques at exhibits including the Costa Mesa High School Parent Teacher Association sponsored art exhibits.  Here she exhibited along with other well known artists including Rex Brandt, Hans Burkardt, Robert Wood, Earl Daniels, Leon Franks, Alfred DuPont, Joan Irving (Mrs. Rex Brandt), Larry Kronquist, Robert Martin, EttaNear, Bob Ramsey, Bill Payne and David Rosen.  She has won awards in all media including oil, water color, pastel, pencil drawings, pen sketches, charcoal, and casein.  Her subject matter was as diverse as her media and included landscapes, seascapes, Missions, portraits, and abstracts.

She learned as an artist to be was versatile and open minded.  On one specific occasion, she got a big surprise when she entered a painting to be juried for a major coastal art show.  The painting, "Dead End", was done as realistic style, however, the jury decided that the picture made a better abstract piece so they rewired the piece and hung it sideways for the exhibit. She accepted the verdict of the judges and continued to hang the painting "sideways" in subsequent shows.

Among her numerous awards , her oil painting "Yorba Linda Ranch Scene" (included in book) won first place in a competition sponsored by the professional division of fine arts of the Orange District of Women's Clubs.  Her oil painting, "Sad Clown", was an award winning painting at the Orange Plaza Junior Show, Rex Brandt as juror.  As a teacher, artist, and member of the Anaheim Ebell Club, she received awards from the Orange County District of the California Federation of Women's Clubs.

Her vibrant past is highlighted by her numerous one-person exhibits and awards as well as the opportunity to demonstrate her painting technique for organizations and aspiring painters which is turn was a great source of inspiration to her.  In her later years as arthritis in her hands posed a challenge to continue painting as she had, she danced to her heart's delight while living in Newport Beach, which is where she suffered a life threatening illness while dancing.  Shortly thereafter, she was led "home" to her creator on July 11, 1992 having lived a very fulfilled happy life.

Selected Collections:
Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA
Barnett Bank, Miami, Fl
United California Bank, San Francisco, CA

Selected Exhibitions:
Pierotti Pavilion, SF, CA
Palm Beach Gallery, FL
Marshall Field Gallery, Chicago, lL
California Legion of Honor, SF, CA
Monterey Peninsula Museum, CA
Wichita Falls Museum, TX
Pioneer Museum, Stockton, CA
Concord Ctr. For the Arts, CA
Maryville College, TN
No. Arizona Univ., Flagstaff, AZ
Washburn Univ., Topeks, KA

Source:
The artist's son Jon Michael Keith and her daughter-in-law Kathy Marie Keith

This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Evelyn Rose Hamilton Keith was born in Knoxville, Tennessee on June 23, 1915.  Evelyn grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and attended the Institute of Art there. 

She married S. L. Keith in 1945 and settled in Anaheim, California.  For 17 years she maintained a studio there where she taught small classes as well as at the Ebell Club.  In 1963 she settled in Laguna Beach and became active in the local art scene. 

She died there on June 11, 1992. 

Exhibited:  Laguna Beach Art Ass’n; Orange County Art Ass’n; Orange County Fairs.

Source:
Edan Hughes, "Artists in California, 1786-1940"
Census; Death Record.
Nearly 20,000 biographies can be found in Artists in California 1786-1940 by Edan Hughes and is available for sale ($150). For a full book description and order information please click here.

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