The San Mateo County History Museum will open an exhibit entitled Peninsula Watercolors: The Art of James W. Crawford on October 16, 2018. It will run through January 27, 2019. Crawford died in 2005, after which his widow, Shirley, donated 81 of James’ paintings, done between 1970 and 1981, to the History Museum. Nineteen of these, depicting iconic Peninsula landmarks, will be on display.
Long-time San Carlos resident, James W. Crawford, was born in 1920 in Evanston, Illinois. Crawford retired in 1991 after 26 years at the University of California, San Francisco, where he served as Public Information Officer for a decade, and later as manager of the Campus Tours and Speakers Bureau. Following U.S. Naval service in World War II as Commander of a PT boat in the South Pacific, Crawford joined W & J Sloane in San Francisco as Advertising Manager. He later served as public relations consultant to the Swedish Consulate in San Francisco. He also worked at Lockheed Missiles and Space Co. and was president of the San Francisco Aquarium Society at the California Academy of Sciences for many years. Crawford’s volunteer activities included Chairmanship of the communication committee and as a board member of the San Francisco Unit of the American Cancer Society. He was also a program officer with the International Visitors Center in San Francisco and a docent at Filoli in Woodside. Other activities included volunteering for the International Diplomacy Council in San Francisco and the Bechtel International Center at Stanford University.
Crawford’s hobbies were watercolor painting and pen and ink art work. He had never had an art lesson until his wife taught him how to use this medium. He painted every Saturday and Sunday beginning in 1970, and she saved all the works he didn’t sell. All his paintings featured locations in the San Francisco Bay Area.