Grace Carpenter Hudson (1865 – 1937)

Titled Little Miss Mendocino watercolor on paper unsigned Measures: 14.75"h x 12.5"w Farhat Art Museum collection

Titled Little Miss Mendocino
watercolor on paper
Measures: 14.75″h x 12.5″w
Farhat Art Museum collection

Raised in Potter Valley, near Ukiah, California, Grace Hudson became an acclaimed painters of Native American subjects, especially the Pomo Indians, independent tribes of coastal and inland Northern California. She left over 684 oil paintings and numerous pieces in other media including weavings, hooked rugs, and monochromatic sketches. The Grace Hudson Museum in Ukiah has the largest body of her remaining work.

As a child, she migrated with her family including a twin sister from Kansas Territory in 1857 and settled first in Grass Valley, California, and in 1860, they moved to Potter Valley, among the only white settlers. The Pomo Indians had much suffering and early death, and she early developed a sympathy and concern for them.

Her mother was also one of the first schoolteachers among the tribes and collected their baskets because of her respect for their workmanship. Her father had a business as journalist and photographer, and from him, she learned about the effects of light and composition.

Grace began art studies at age thirteen at the San Francisco Art Institute and later studied at the California School of Design with Virgil Williams and Raymond Yelland. From Williams, she learned classical techniques of drawing and modelling from plaster casts in classical motif for sculpture. The landscape class with Yelland was distinctive because it was held at the only art school in the country where pupils went into the outdoors directly to paint with their teachers.

Hudson got a reputation for working very rapidly and skillfully in her classes, and by age sixteen, won the Alvord Gold Medal, presented by the President of the San Francisco Art Association for the best full-length study in crayon.

In 1884, at age nineteen, she eloped with William Davis, a man fifteen years older. Her parents were extremely upset, and the marriage ended a year later. She returned to Ukiah to paint, teach and illustrate for magazines including Sunset and Cosmopolitan, and Overland Monthly, and her work from that time period carries the signature “Grace Carpenter Davis.” She opened her studio to the public and exhibited her work which had no particular focus and included genre, landscapes, portraits and still lifes in all media.

In 1890 with her parents’ blessing, she married John Wilz Napier Hudson, a physician for the San Francisco and North Pacific Railroad Company who gave up practice to research the Pomo Indians and follow his deep interests in archeology and ethnography. They shared a sense that the Indians were a vanishing race and should be portrayed with sensitivity and respect for their culture.

In 1891 a visit to her studio by H. Jay Smith opened the door for her recognition far beyond her own region when he ordered work by her for the Minneapolis Art Association exhibit where it got much attention. A year later, a painting Little Mendocino, got much attention at the Midwinter Fair in San Francisco, and the following year it was hung at the World’s Fair in Chicago. There she received a diploma for honorable mention on the work. From that time, her reputation was established, and she meticulously photographed and documented her oil paintings for posterity, one of the reasons being for copyright purposes because other artists tried to copy her popular work.

By 1900, her national reputation was secure, but she was exhausted, and she spent three months alone in Hawaii and then rejoined her husband, who had been named Assistant Ethnographer of the Field Columbian Museum. She traveled widely with him and documented many other Indian tribes including the Pawnee in Oklahoma Territory. Sadly many of her paintings and their extensive collection of Indian artifacts left behind in California were destroyed by the earthquake and fire of 1906.

In 1912, they moved into a Hopi style house in Ukiah and, with the exception of a trip to Europe in 1925, lived the rest of their lives there, active in the cultural life around them. She had a unique studio with an elaborate system of moveable skylights which she manipulated from skills learned from her father. She painted from Indian models who came to her studio.

Her husband died in 1936, and she died a year later on March 23, just after her seventy-second birthday. They had no children and left their possessions to a nephew, Mark Carpenter who made their home with over 30,000 objects a museum that has expanded into a lasting public memorial to his unique aunt and uncle.

Paul Sternberg, Art by American Women

James Vetter (American artist)



Jim Vetter’s interdisciplinary path explores landscape painting, assemblage, “combine” construction and photography, along with poetry and performance art. His self-described goal is to “push landscape painting beyond what I have experienced to date.”

Vetter’s artistic world was shaped early by his grandfather, who was a welder, tinkerer and outsider artist. In his grandfather’s junkyard as a child Vetter recalls, “I would attempt to build functioning rockets to go to the moon using sheet metal, wood, wire and tar.” As an adolescent, he began skateboarding as a creative outlet- reinterpreting the urban playground and becoming part of a larger community of like-minded individuals. At sixteen, skateboarding blended with the artist/punk-rock scene. On the verge of not graduating high school due to his poetic rebellion contrasting the formalities of the English structure, he embraced ceramics, photography, painting and physics. Additionally, at sixteen, he enrolled in Psychology and B/W Photography at Shasta College in Redding, California, which solidified a lifelong passion for the arts and culture.


At Shasta College under the guidance of Richard Wilson, Vetter developed craftsmanship, draftsmanship, and his concept of an artist in society. There, he began to understand form, color and design, including the tactile nature of the entire process of painting. At the suggestion of Wilson, he transferred to study at San Jose State University (SJSU), working regularly with professors Patrick Surgalski, Sam Richardson, Rupert Garcia and Wilson’s mentor Frederick Spratt, SJSU Professor Emeritus. There he gained invaluable insight characterized by intensive experimentation, exhibition, performance, as well as artistic and professional development, while experiencing the thriving arts culture first-hand at the Citadel Studios artist community, where he lived and painted, amid the boom and bust backdrop of the Silicon Valley tech bubble.


Frederick Spratt recalls becoming familiar with Vetter’s work in 1996, “It was an abstract work, to be sure, but it looked like it barely made it to the wall…Either it was simply terrible or it was pretty good-independent and refreshing,” referring to his first purchase of work by the young artist. Spratt visited Vetter’s studio soon after, igniting a professional and personal relationship. Formally apprenticing with Spratt for two years, he honed his craftsmanship via constructing frames from scratch for high-end fine art, installed art for gallery exhibitions and in homes of collectors throughout the Bay Area. Through late night conversations over dinner about art and jazz, Vetter was able to learn directly from Professor Emeritus Spratt, and by 1998 had established himself as a respected local artist in San Jose, joining the Frederick Spratt Gallery.


In 2000, Vetter launched the 706gallery out of his living room at a new location on South 8th Street, becoming a catalyst in the underground downtown San Jose art scene, featuring nineteen monthly art exhibitions, four live music performances, three performance artists and film presentation by international filmmaker and photographer Fan Ho. A majority of the artists showing at 706gallery have become professional artists, gallery owners, college and high school art instructors, etc. Jack Fischer, San Jose Mercury News Art Critic wrote, “And while it is the Park Avenue joints that get the notice, I happen to think the real virtue usually lies closer to Jim’s end of the spectrum.”


Additionally, while in San Jose, Vetter performed solo multi-media performance projects, exhibited his paintings as the culmination of a three-month Artist-In-Residence program at the WORKS/San Jose Gallery, maintained professional representation with Frederick Spratt Gallery, and was an Art Educator for the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara.


In the wake of the tech-bust, Vetter moved to Sacramento, establishing a reputation as a respected and diligent artist, while maintaining his professional relationship with the Frederick Spratt Gallery through 2004 into Spratt’s retirement. One of Vetter’s most meaningful experiences began in 2004, co-launching the SKYLAB Youth Development Program for 200 homeless youth in a permanent-supportive housing project in Sacramento. Over six successful years as the SKYLAB Youth Development Program Director, he designed multiple programs incorporating elaborate arts curriculum, service-learning, leadership development, while building a dynamic team of employees and network of partners, and securing sustainable funding through writing several successful grants and the follow-up analysis. Blending his passion for nonprofits and the arts, Vetter became a volunteer Board Member for Chalk It Up! Sacramento, where he planned and facilitated an annual three-day event to raise funds for children’s arts education, serving approximately 20,000 attendees.

In 2013, Vetter secured his second BA Degree, in Anthropology, with an emphasis on culture. Specific aspects of his more recent academic studies began to inform his approach to painting, including Folklore, Linguistics, Archaeology, Human Behavioral Ecology and Origins of Agriculture, adding a depth and complexity to his work. By understanding concepts like vernacular architecture, literary structures such as Propp’s narratemes in storytelling, or variations on a theme like in 1950’s free jazz, Vetter translates, adapts and makes reference to a wealth of rich material.

In 2014, following two years as a K-12 Art Teacher for YoloArts, serving public schools throughout Yolo County, including Dan Jacobs Alternative School at the Juvenile Hall in Woodland, Vetter joined the Performing and Fine Arts Academy at Natomas Charter School as the new full-time Visual Arts Teacher, teaching drawing and painting to middle and high school students. He continues to live, paint and exhibit in the Sacramento region.

Phe Ruiz (American, b.1965)

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Phe Ruiz began her academic studies at the University of Iowa in 1982 and continued
to explore art at different universities until she reached the San Francisco Art Institute in 1990-1991. Her work, reminiscent of abstract expressionism, is completely uninhibited by a nearly chaotic out-pouring of her own instinct for balance and order. Working through personal struggles on the canvas, Ruiz creates deep, rich impasto surfaces that show her love of the medium and her trust in her own process. Powerful saturated colors of thick paint create a pattern of textural illusions that energize the surface of the canvas.

Solo shows include the Frederick Spratt Gallery, San Jose with Larry Evans James Willis Gallery, San Francisco and the Santa Cruz Government Building Santa Cruz , California .
Group exhibitions at the Triton Museum of Art; the Missions Cultural Center, San Francisco; the San Jose Center for Latino Arts, San Jose and the National Writers Union Juried Exhibition, Carmel CA.

Ernest Posey (1937 – 2007)

Geometric Composition Dated 1971 oil on canvas signed and dated lower left Measures : 32.25"h x 32.25"w Farhat Art Museum Collection

Geometric Composition
Dated 1971
oil on canvas
signed and dated lower left
Measures : 32.25″h x 32.25″w
Farhat Art Museum Collection

Ernest Noel Posey (Dec. 25, 1937 – Dec. 25, 2007)
well-regarded abstract artist of Northern California during the 60s, 70s and 80s, Posey had over two dozen solo exhibitions of his paintings and mixed media, including shows at the Palace of the Legion of Honor, the San Jose Museum of Art, and numerous private galleries, including the Allrich, Kay Kimpton, and Ebert Galleries in San Francisco, and the David Cole Gallery in Inverness. Posey’s work is included in a number of important collections, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Oakland Museum, the New Orleans Museum of Art, the New Orleans Collection and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, as well as such varied collections as the Achenbach Collection, Chase Manhattan Bank, AT&T and Architectural Digest.

Born and raised in New Orleans, Posey earned a degree in Fine Arts from Louisiana State University and a degree in Architecture from Tulane. He then moved to New York City to pursue his painting career while working in advertising. His first solo exhibition was in 1966 at the prestigious Henri Gallery in Washington, D.C. In 1968, he moved to San Francisco, where he had another solo show at the well-regarded Galeria Van der Voort. He taught at the California College of Art and the San Francisco Academy of Art University where he was Chairman of the Department of Fine Art. He was business manager for the California Federation of Art Teachers, and a mediator-arbitrator with California Lawyers for the Arts. Mr. Posey was also a filmmaker, public television director, author, graphic designer and book illustrator–a recent collection of his “sand painting” illustrations can be seen in Janine Canan’s Walk Now in Beauty: The Legend of Changing Woman.

Posey’s artistic pursuits eventually took him to Mendocino County where he bought a small cabin and later built a large working studio. He moved permanently to Mendocino County in the late 1970s and worked exclusively on his paintings, drawings and assemblages for the next 30 years, creating a significant body of work. Mr. Posey passed away in December of 2007.

Posey was a superlative conversationalist with an encyclopedic knowledge of the arts and literature, a ready wit and a joie de vivre who inspired all those he met and who generously shared his work and his genius with students, colleagues and admirers alike. He was especially fond of and skilled at conversing with complete strangers whose lives were brightened and whose horizons were forever expanded by the meeting. A true metaphysician, he celebrated the esoteric wonders of being in his art, as well as in all aspects of his life, and believed that “in our times, the artist’s studio has succeeded the alchemist’s laboratory.”