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 H. W. Parkhurst  (1905 - 1979)

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Lived/Active: Vermont      Known for: flower, still-life, portrait painting

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An example of work by H. W. Parkhurst
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This biography from the Archives of AskART:

The following was submitted by the artist's granddaughter:

H. Parkhurst (Harold White Parkhurst Sr.), born November 28th, 1905 , died March 7th, 1979

He was born in the house at the top of the hill in Taftsville, Vermont.  He was a 1923 graduate of Woodstock High School and attended the University of Vermont where he studied landscape design, architect and horticulture.  Mr. Parkhurst loved the outdoors and he loved the colors of nature.  He had a great talent for catching the true colors of nature and her movement in his art. Many of his oil paintings are owned by family members.  He was a self taught artist.

He started painting barns for a living with Paul, Paul and sons.  He also worked at Dartmouth College as an interior painter.  He began his own painting business and when a customer wanted a certain color, he would bring his tubes of pigment and mix in front of the customer to get just the right color. He was a Master Painter.

He served in the Navy Reserve in WWII.  He was in boot camp when he was struck with arthritis so badly,  that he was pulled from regular duty.  While in the barracks the Chief noticed his ability to draw and so he commissioned Harold to paint Insignia’s of most of the jobs such as mechanic on the entrance wall, inside the barracks in a large manner.  His arthritis got so bad that he was sent to Glenwood Springs Colorado Sanatorium for rehabilitation, and while he was there he would take his paints and easel and go outside and to one special meadow where he would paint the valley.  At the time everyone knew him as the painter who would cause no harm.  As some of the residents of the near by town feared the drug and alcohol abusers who were also at Glenwood Springs.

He was a member of the New England Art Guild and a member of the Northern Vermont Artist Association.

When he retired he began the now gone- Happy Valley Nursery in Taftsville, Vermont.  It was certified disease free from the Dept of Agriculture.  He had beautiful flowers shrubs and trees.

He loved to paint flowers, one in particular, Zinnias he painted with his pallet knife was taken to the Cornish Fair in New Hampshire where my father Harold W. Jr. tried to enter it into the art competition.  He was told that it would not be fair to the other exhibitors because the painting was of museum quality.  So my father took it home, with a big smile and proudly hung it in his computer room.  His brothers and sister have wondered for years who had the Zinnias and now they know, with jealous hearts.

Another painting “Spring Shadows” was entered in the Northern Vermont 17th Artist Competition. January 24, 1947.  The painting is signed and dated H. Parkhurst 1946.  The oil is of a plum orchard in bloom.  My father has several paintings in his possession. Also, a still life of two vases each holding a different varieties of ivy, a black ashtray and an apple with stem and leaves dated 9/7/1944. Included in the collection is a triptych panoramic view of the San Francisco Bay area which includes, one of the Golden Gate Bridge, one of the Bay Bridge and one of possibly the San Rafael Bridge done on a visit to Treasure Island Navy Base dated 1944, done in sullen shades of gray. He also painted a rather small oil of the “Isles of Shoales.”

He painted one of his sons, who posed for the portrait, a rather large oil of “John Blowing a bubble with gum”. Owned by John Parkhurst

One painting of “A Storms a Coming” done at Sherburne Flats, VT which is near Killington, VT.  My father remembers sitting with my grandfather as he painted and when he was about done he said “see those clouds” and he hurriedly mixed the colors and applied them to the canvas as the storm clouds came rumbling in, and then they ran for cover as soon as the rain hit.  My uncle owns the “Grey Barn” and one of my Aunts has the “Red Barn” I remember a large painting of a forest filled with wild life and every time I saw it, he would say: " Find the new critter." (1975)

My grandfather had painted in his spare time towards the end of his life and hung and sold a few at a small diner in Bridgewater, VT to the fall tourists.  He always signed his works H. Parkhurst and dated them.


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