Painting and Drawing

The first official Professor of Drawing and Design at Scripps College was Jean Goodwin Ames. Born in Santa Ana in 1903, Jean Ames first studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, and UCLA (B.E. ’31). Ames worked in ceramics and mural decoration during this period, and taught art at the high school level. In 1937 she returned to school for a M.F.A. from USC. At USC she also met her future husband, Arthur Ames, with whom she had a lifelong artistic collaboration.

After USC, Arthur and Jean joined the mural division of the W.P.A. and were among the first to use mosaics in California. In 1940 Jean was appointed by Millard Sheets to the faculty of Scripps and the Claremont Graduate School. While at Scripps Jean and Arthur (who was a professor of design at Otis Art Institute) began working in enamels, setting up a kiln for copper enameling in the ceramics studio. Jean’s subjects were often whimsical and her style influenced by Scandinavian design, which was popular at the time.

Jean taught at Scripps and CGU until 1969. She was the recipient of numerous awards, and was selected as Woman of the Year in Art by the Los Angeles Times in 1958. Her work can be seen around the campus, including the drawings in the lobby of Human Resources and the Dance of Destiny tapestry triptych by Jean and Arthur Ames in the lobby of the Garrison Theatre.

In 1950 another drawing Professor arrived at Scripps: Paul Darrow. A Pasadena native, was Professor of Art at Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School, where he taught Mixed Media and Advanced Drawing for over 30 years (c. 1950-1980). He was educated at Colorado Springs Art Center and the Claremont Graduate School, and was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Printmaking Society. He was head of the Printmaking Department at Scripps and CGS for many years.

The Painting Department

Millard Sheets was Director of Painting at Scripps from 1936 to 1955. He was born in Pomona in 1907, and studied at the Chouinard School of Art before joining the faculty at Scripps College. He was simultaneously Director of Fine Arts Exhibition at the Los Angeles County Fair from 1931 to 1956. In the following years he was artist-correspondant for LIFE Magazine and Director of the Otis Art Institute.

In addition to his painting, Sheets has also created over 100 murals and mosaics. He has had an impressive career in architectural design as well, including designing the Home Savings and Loan Buildings throughout California. Many of Millard Sheets’s drawings, paintings, and prints are in the art collection at Scripps College. For more on Millard Sheets, see the department history.

Henry Lee McFee was born in Missouri in 1886, and received his first formal art school training at the School of Fine Arts in St. Louis. In the summer of 1909 he studied at the Art Students League in New York, which led to McFee’s introduction to Cézanne, which influenced his work throughout his career.

In the teens McFee became one of the first American painters to create cubist-inspired paintings. These works ended around 1923, when a more mature style, influenced by the work of Cézanne, developed. Throughout the twenties and thirties McFee taught at the Art Student’s League. During this time McFee began working in realism, which he continued to explore for the rest of his career.

McFee moved to California in 1940 where he taught summer school at the Claremont Graduate School and then at Chouinard in Los Angeles. After receiving a Guggenheim grant in 1940, McFee came to Claremont in 1943 to join the art faculties of Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School. He made his home in Claremont until his death ten years later. His still lifes, which were a prevailing theme during his career, reflected the plants and settings of the region.

A nationally exhibited painter, his work is hung in the permanent collections of museums around the United States, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of Modern Art, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. Medals from the Paris Salon, the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts are among the numerous awards won by McFee paintings. The Scripps College Ruth Chandler Williamson art gallery has eighteen McFee paintings.

Phil Dike was born in Redlands, California in 1906. He studied at Chouinard School of Art (where he met Millard Sheets) from 1924-28, and the Art Students League in New York (1929). He was influenced greatly by Clarence Hinkle at Chouinard, who painted outdoors directly on the canvas.

In 1929 Dike became an instructor at Chouinard, but ended up leaving for Europe the same year. After spending two years travelling and sketching Dike returned to Los Angeles in the middle of the Depression. His work at this time began to reflect the beach and striking sunlight of southern California, subjects that continued through his career.

In 1933 Dike became color coordinator and story designer for Walt Disney Studios, where he worked until the end of World War II. During this time he continued his own painting, and in the thirties Dike emerged as a leading figure in the Southern California Regionalist movement. In 1950 Sheets invited Dike to join the faculty of Scripps College and the Claremont Graduate School. He taught advanced painting until retiring in 1971. Phil Dike was a leading member of the California Water Color Society, and co-founder of the Brandt-Dike Summer School of Painting in Corona del Mar. The mural at the Scripps College pool was created by Phil Dike in the 1960’s.