Anne Gladwill, an artist and former illustrator for The Bee whose popular works depicted idyllic scenes of El Dorado County, died Sept. 24 of a natural causes, her family said. She was 84.
Mrs. Gladwill was active in El Dorado County as an artist, teacher and volunteer for more than 50 years. She settled in Placerville with her husband in 1962 and raised their three children in a Gold Rush-era home on historic Bedford Street. Since 1995, she had lived on a ranch in Garden Valley, where she took in rescued horses for the El Dorado County animal shelter.
She taught art to students at Edwin Markham Middle School and Sugarloaf Fine Arts Camp, including a young Thomas Kinkade. Her most recent projects included illustrations for a childrens book by local author Joan Barsotti, who died in 2010.
Created mostly in watercolors, pastels, and pen and ink, Mrs. Gladwills works celebrated the charms of country life in El Dorado County. In 1986, she produced a Grandma Moses-style folk painting of the traditional row of lighted Christmas trees along Highway 50 in Placerville heading up to Lake Tahoe and Sierra Nevada ski areas.
Instantly popular, the tableau was recreated in prints sold by the El Dorado Chamber of Commerce to raise money for the annual tree lighting. The response also inspired her to paint a series of works, The Seasons, that depicted El Dorado County throughout the year and became popular souvenir cards.
Mrs. Gladwill created the original winter tableau as a cover for a 1986 Christmas gift guide published by The Bee, where she spent almost 15 years as an illustrator. She worked in advertising layout before moving to the promotional art department, where she drew cover art for special advertising sections and judged the annual Design an Ad contest for students. She retired in 1992.
The former Martha Ann Critchell was born Aug. 10, 1929, in Cincinnati. She later added an e to her middle name, earned an art degree from Central Academy in Cincinnati and was an illustrator for Gibson Greeting Card Co. in Atlanta. She married Charles Gladwill in 1952 and worked in Europe and the United States while her husband served as an Air Force pilot.
Mrs. Gladwill was a member of Sierra Group Arts and the Placerville Art Association. Her works hung in the Gold Country Gallery and the Flowers on Main shop in Placerville, and she won many awards in juried art shows in the United States. Her former Placerville home became a bed-and-breakfast named The Seasons in honor of her paintings.
She donated many works to benefit Church of Our Saviour in Placerville. A longtime member, she helped organize rummage sales, sketched portraits at the annual Holly Faire and served with the Altar Society and the Daughters of the King prayer group until she was 80, said her daughter Malinda French.
In 2011, Mrs. Gladwill was named an El Dorado Golden Rose in recognition of her contributions to the community.
She was the perfect mom in everything she did, said her son Brian. She was always there at Little League and all my sports. All my friends from high school would always come over to our house because she was there, and she was like a mom to them too.
Mrs. Gladwill was predeceased by her husband of 55 years and by her son Steven. Besides two other children, she is survived by her stepmother, Virginia Critchell; nine grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is set for 1 p.m. Oct. 10 at Faith Episcopal Church, 2200 Country Club Drive, Cameron Park. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Church of Our Saviour, 2979 Coloma St., Placerville, CA 95667-0447.
Call The Bees Robert D. Dávila, (916) 321-1077. Follow him on Twitter @Bob_Davila