Ellen Easton, who represented the artist in her Easton Gallery in Santa Barbara, Calif., graciously shared her obituary with me. I’ll print it here in full.
A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its loveliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Born in Morristown, N.J., in 1948, Glenna Hartmann, the daughter of Erhard Hartmann (a scientist involved in the top-secret nuclear submarine project), studied mathematics and physics at Wells College in New York. Answering the call of her adventurous spirit, she transferred to the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts where she was awarded a Schiedt traveling scholarship for independent studies in Europe and mural painting school in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. When she moved to Carpinteria in the 1970s, her mural painting skills were put to use in the high school and at city hall. For a period of time she concentrated on painting animal portraits in pastel and gradually moved to painting the landscape on location.
In her twenties, she battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After that, her strong spirit willed her often-frail body to amazing feats of achievement. She and her former husband, Albert Stevens, spent considerable time exploring Baja California. Their many whale encounters and experiences diving with dolphins inspired Glenna to paint numerous large paintings of marine mammals, including a collaboration with fellow Oak Group member, John Iwerks, on a mural for remote Santa Barbara Island.
In 1987 Glenna was invited to join the fledgling Oak Group. She quickly became an indispensable force helping the group fly and then soar. She joined many other groups and participated in invitational trips that took her to the Forbes’ Chateau de Balleroy in Normandy, a rafting trip in the Grand Canyon and to many other places, but her passion and commitment remained with the Oak Group and their causes. Of particular importance to her was the collaboration with the Nature Conservancy’s Santa Cruz Island project. She conceived the audacious idea of having a yearly art show on the island’s main ranch to benefit the island and its creatures.
Glenna enjoyed painting the historic ranchos and remote ranchlands of Santa Barbara and Marin counties; she also collaborated closely with her good friend Ellen Easton in the realization of a series of books published by the Easton Gallery, where her work was represented for 18 years. Many of Glenna’s painting adventures culminated in important shows and sometimes in national art magazine articles. Ray Strong called her the most fully realized painter in California.
Despite her many accomplishments and recognition she remained unassuming, warm and accessible. She was down to earth and enjoyed simple pleasures. Through the years she loved her many pets, including the pair of geese that used to fly behind her as she ran down a hill behind her house. She always looked forward to her weekly outings to the movies with her beloved brother Robert of Santa Barbara. Her brother and her mother, Norma Jean Hartmann of New Jersey, survive her.
A memorial service for Glenna will be held sometime in the near future, its date and location to be announced in this paper [The Santa Barbara News-Press]. It is requested that in lieu of flowers donations be made to the Nature Conservancy’s Santa Cruz Island Project [Santa Cruz Island Preserve. 3639 Harbor Blvd., Suite 201. Ventura, CA 93001]. Glenna leaves us in her paintings many things of beauty that “will never pass into nothingness.”
If you aren’t familiar with Glenna’s work, I am happy to be able to share some of it with you here (from the top): Approaching Storm (20×17), Estuary Cliffs (17×12) and Sunlit Cliffs (14×18). You can also find a feature on the artist in the July/August issue of the magazine, which is still available for purchase here.