This biography was written and submitted by George K. Arnold:
Born 1895, Died 1983 in Eustis, Florida
Catherine Stockwell was born Catherine Haynes in 1895. Her earliest art training was at Stetson University in Deland, where at age 13 she was a student of Florida landscape painter Harry Davis Fluhart (1861-1938). The earliest Stockwell paintings are signed Catherine Haynes. After marrying Mr. Stockwell in 1922 (a prominent banker in Eustis who retired from The First State Bank as Senior Vice President in 1963), she bore two daughters, and managed to raise her family and devote much time and travel to painting local scenes plein air. These paintings are generally signed Stockwell; however sometimes the Stockwell signature will be surrounded by one or two letter "S".
Stockwell's earliest works are done in a distinctive post-impressionist style, with areas of texturing and paint build-up achieved by use of the pallet knife. These early paintings are moody, and often incorporate a darker palate and greater detail than what is found in her later works. These early paintings often depict the final minutes of a sunset on a Florida swamp or river landscape. They clearly show the influence of her brilliant teacher and mentor, Harry Davis Fluhart. Stockwell's later works depart from the Fluhart formula, and are generally of a lighter, brighter color; more loosely painted, and employing the use of many shades of green and brighter colors.
Some of Stockwell's favorite subjects were views of Alexander Springs, Lake Eustis, Trout Run, New Smyrna Beach, Juniper Springs, The Dora Canal, and the picturesque " Loop" area in Ormond Beach. A trip to Palm Beach produced a few paintings containing coconut palms. The local Negro community was also of special interest to Stockwell. Local Negro children would be paid a nickle to pose for a small portrait, in the days when a nickle meant a lot in a poor rural community. Stockwell's rare Negro portraits are a true and unembellished record of those she painted. The Negro carpenter who proudly holds his hammer, the young girl in her yellow "Sunday Best" dress, the elderly lady who proudly wears her tall blue hat, the delighted child with a juicy slice of watermelon.. all have a poignancy forever captured in canvas and paint. They are a wonderful reminder of a simpler time in rural Florida. Her negro cabin scenes are among some of her most interesting and desirable works. Stockwell also painted floral still lifes; capturing in paint the large waxy blooms of the Magnolia, the delicate petals of the Cherokee Rose, oranges and blossoms, and bouquets of native wildflowers.
In addition to painting Florida scenes, Stockwell and family would travel north in the summers, where she captured New England scenes with her ever present paintbrush. But Stockwell's heart was clearly in Florida, and her Florida works are unquestionably her best work.
Over the length of her career, Catherine Stockwell won many awards and prizes for her paintings. Several retrospective exhibits of Stockwell paintings have been held since her death, the first in Cocoa Beach in the 1980's, and most recently at the Maitland Art Center.
At the time of her death, Catherine Stockwell's charming moss-draped old Spanish style home studio in Eustis was filled with a lifetime accumulation of art, antiques, and memories. Sadly, her home and studio is now gone... replaced by a parking lot and retention pond.
The Eustis Historical Society has a rare collection of early Stockwell paintings on permanent display.