ARTIST ROBERT CARLETON HAS LIVED IN
CORTE MADERA SINCE 1956
CORTE MADERA SINCE 1956
ABOUT THE ARTIST...
During the sixty years he has lived in Corte Madera, artist Robert Carleton has captured many long-gone Marin County images in his vibrant watercolor paintings.
Although in recent decades he worked almost exclusively in watercolor, Carleton’s experience with other techniques ranges wide and deep, from copper plate etchings, wood block prints, and oil painting, to sculpture and design illustration.
Born in Indiana in 1921, Carleton was orphaned at an early age and was raised by kinfolk in Illinois. He recalls his early classes in a one-room school where he won his best grades in art. He illustrated high school yearbooks with cartoons. But he wasn’t seriously exposed to art until he was able to visit the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C, during World War II.
After six years of Navy service in the Pacific and China, Carleton began studies at Texas A&M on the GI Bill, working summers in railroad bridge maintenance and retail store display. While at Texas A&M he met Dorothy, and they were married in 1943.
The young couple then moved north so Carleton could study at the Chicago Art Institute, where he graduated and did Master’s work before coming to California in 1954. Settling in the Bay Area, they bought a home in Corte Madera in 1956.
A half-year in Japan followed, to study wood block printing under the master Toshi Yoshida. On their return to the Bay Area, Carleton went back to school at San Francisco State for a teaching credential and taught art for several years in what he describes as a “large, state-run private school”—San Quentin Prison.
Carleton and his wife, Dorothy, were among the original home-buyers on Harbor Drive in Corte Madera, where he still resides. They had been married for 72 years when Dorothy passed away a year ago.
He still paints often in his studio at home, and reads a stack of books each week from the Corte Madera Library.
Carleton has been active with art groups for many years, including the Marin Society of Artists, where he served as president, and the Marin County Watercolor Society. He remains an active member of both groups.
Click youtu.be/W2MI6f0CU88 to view the 28-minute video-recorded visit with Robert Carleton in April 2016.
Below is a 2012 photo of Carleton with the pellet-marked stop sign he saved in the early 1960s when the new freeway replaced the old highway that had required drivers to stop at the sign before crossing from one side of Corte Madera to the other.
In February 2015, Robert Carleton was the first featured artist in the new gallery at the Corte Madera Library, as described below:
Below are snapshots of two paintings that were in the 2015 retrospective exhibit of Robert Carleton's watercolor images of lost scenes of the North Bay.
At the retrospective exhibition of his artwork in the Corte Madera Library during February and March in 2015, many of Carleton's friends and neighbors were there to admire his paintings and share good memories.