Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Art of Dora Colby

Clear Lake in Lake County, California
by: Dora Colby 1945
Dora Colby (Glenn’s great grandmother) painted landscapes in England as well as after arriving in California.  She would sketch scenes, sometimes out of her imagination, and paint them in her studio under her home on Ridgemoor Drive next door to where Stephen and Arthur Langton grew up.  Arthur would often go in and watch her paint.  Glenn’s great Grandfather Colby bought the molding, made, and painted the frames.  Dora never painted portraits and rarely people.  She would often copy other paintings or photographs Glenn’s Grandfather Langton took on family vacations.
Dora Colby's paintings evolved over the years.  Her later works were much brighter and the colors more vivid.  As a young woman, she also sang in Gilbert and Sullivan operettas staged in small theaters with no electronic amplification, so she knew how to project her voice.  When hymns were sung in church, you could always tell if she was in attendance.  She also painted china and a fire screen now kept with Arthur Langton.  She played the piano and was involved in several civic groups in Studio City, California.
During World War II she organized the Ridgemoor unit of British War Relief which made clothing for merchant seamen crewing merchant ships in the battle of the North Atlantic, the longest and most critical battle of World War II.  She organized the fund raising parties to buy the materials and recruited the women to cut and stitch the material, and knit sweaters and watch caps for sailors.  The British government supplied the patterns.  The resulting clothing was packed into boxes that coffins returned in and sent off to the war.  She was a very good organizer and not someone you wanted to fool around with or annoy.  At the war's end, she was awarded a medal by George VI, actually the British government, one of the few people to receive the honor in Southern California.

This painting is likely a copy of Tuner's Poppy Fields
by: Dora Colby 1940

Unkown Coastline
by: Dora Colby 1937


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