R. Brownell McGrew

(1916 - 1994)

Biography

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R. Brownell McGrew

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Known for highly realistic Indian portraits with rich skin tones, as well as Southwest and California desert landscape paintings, R Brownell McGrew showed early art talent in his home town and birth place of Columbus, Ohio.

He moved to California with his family when he was a child and enrolled at the Otis Art Institute, studying with Ralph Holmes. Although he preferred portrait painting, he won recognition for landscapes and was so proficient technically that he spent his last year at Otis teaching.

He worked as a commercial artist for M.G.M. and Columbia movie studios and then discovered a love for desert painting. He was also challenged by portrait painting, especially Navajo and Hopi Indians subjects from Arizona and New Mexico.

His goal was to have a painting look wet after it was completed, and to achieve this effect, he mixed his colors to get a luminosity by mixing oil paint, linseed oil, and turpentine, but he never used glaze or lacquer.

He lived in LaQuinta from 1960-1965, when he and his wife moved to Cottonwood, AZ, and from there to Quemado, NM, 1972-84. From 1984 until his death in 1994, they lived in Sonoita, AZ. .

Sources:
AskArt: http://www.askart.com
Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940, (Gail McGrew Eifrig, daughter of the artist)
Peggy and Harold Samuels, Contemporary Western Artists