James Patrick (1911-1944)


James Patrick grew up in Southern California and attended high school in Hollywood. In the late 1920s, he received a three-year scholarship to study at the Chouinard Art Institute.

During the 1930s and 1940s, he was considered an important figure in the development of the California Style. His paintings were exhibited with the California Water Color Society as well as many juried and one-man shows both locally and nationally. In 1942, he served as the California Water Color Society’s president.

After graduation, James Patrick taught figure drawing and landscape painting at the Chouinard Art Institute. He often took groups of students to various locations in the Los Angeles area and taught them to do spontaneous watercolor paintings of local city scenes. He also worked on several large mural projects at various times with Millard Sheets, David Sisqueiros, and Leo Katz. In the mid 1930’s to 1942 he was color director for the Charles Mintz Studios (eventually the cartoon division of Columbia Pictures). He was color director of final release prints for Technicolor Studios as well, working on such classics as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs & Pinocchio.

During World War II he worked in collaboration with Phil Paradise producing a book for the United States Army Air Corps on the art, detection and recognition of camouflage. He and Paradise served as civilian instructors for the Air Corps as well, training fledgling bombardiers in aerial target recognition and concealment deduction. In addition he was assigned "Chief Camoufleur" by the Western Defense Command for the Pacific Coast. He was tasked with the planning & concealment of all the facilities vital to the war effort that could possibly be targets for enemy attack.

Perhaps less known was that Patrick was a passionate print maker. He excelled in pre-printing techniques involved with producing lithographs and prepared his own stones. He produced a large number of limited editions on various subjects. His most illustrious is a suite of six lithographs of the "Native Trees of California" that were used as covers for WESTWAYS Magazine in 1940. "California Big Tree" and one other litho entitled "This is Your Enemy" are in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress.

For a career cut short in its prime he managed to create a fair representation of his talent and craft. Unfortunately while still in his prime, he succumbed to tuberculosis in December of 1944.

Untitled | watercolor | 330.16.05
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All Art © by The Artist