Thunderbird Foundation for the Arts

About Artist Milford Zornes (January 25, 1908 - February 24, 2008)

Artist Milford Zornes established a reputation as not only one of the West Coast's preeminent watercolor artists and teachers, but nationally as one of the important American artists as well. As a leading figure in the California Style watercolor movement, Zornes received much attention for using large sheets of paper, applying the transparent medium with sweeping, broad brush strokes and leaving planned areas where the white paper would show through to define a shape or color. Essentially, he and other members of the group were "painting" with watercolors in new and creative ways, as opposed to the traditional use of watercolors to add color to detailed pencil drawings.

After his involvement with the California group and serving as an official artist in World War II, Zornes continued to aggressively pursue a career in fine art. His unwavering dedication to mastering the difficult watercolor medium led to a large body of outstanding works that earned his place of honor among influential American artists.

In 1963, artist Milford Zornes and his wife Pat purchased the Maynard Dixon Summer Home and Studio from Maynard Dixon's widow, Edith Hamlin. At that time, Milford established a regular watercolor workshop, which was attended by a number of well-known, established artists as well as students from neighboring colleges.

Although Zornes had residences in both Southern California and the Maynard Dixon Summer Home in Utah, he spent little time at home in the last thirty years of his life. He taught watercolor painting workshops in China, Alaska, Mexico, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Hawaii and many other locations.

Artist Milford Zornes's watercolors are represented in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Butler Institute of Art, National Academy of Design, San Diego Museum of Art, Laguna Beach Museum of Art, U.S. War Department Collection and Library of Congress Collection. Zornes has been an active member of the National Academy of Design (A.N.A.), American Watercolor Society (past president) and West Coast Watercolor Society.

On June 2, 2009 a memorial plaque was placed on a rock on the hillside overlooking the Mount Carmel area that Milford loved so much. Friends and family paid their last respects to this giant of American art, as his ashes were placed there.

Source: -Taken from Milford Zornes by Gordon T. McClelland and Milford Zornes, Copyright Hillcrest Press, Inc. 1991.



Zornes Artwork Available Here
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