Art through the Generations - . . . from teacher to students
 
 
Art Emerging
 
Esther Painter Hagstrom’s granddaughter Suzy had a feeling that she hadn't seen all of her grandmother’s art work. She suspected that some of her paternal grandmother's paintings and prints might be hanging in homes in Coronado and perhaps beyond.
 
After all, a family friend, Don Russell of Tacoma, Washington, (Coronado High School class of 1948) found Christmas cards Esther had mailed to his parents, U.S. Navy Capt. and Mrs. G.J. Russell, in the late 1940s. “Here, Suzy. I found these holiday greeting cards your grandmother made among my parents’ personal effects. I thought you might like to have these,” Don wrote in a note when he sent those cards to Suzy. By the postmarks on the envelopes, Suzy was able to date three of Esther Painter Hagstrom's prints.
 
Mary Ellen Wild Woodhouse Munckton, a retired music teacher for the Coronado Unified School District, still has the prints that Esther gave her as Christmas gifts. Mary Ellen framed them, and they now adorn her Coronado home. The two women were colleagues during the 1940s. Mary Ellen, now 94, was about 15 younger than Esther. However, their common interests in education, culture and having a good time led to a strong friendship.
 
During the Coronado Public Library’s “Art through the Generations” exhibit in the spring of 2013, another retired teacher who knew Esther contacted Suzy. Elaine Jenne Eckels Landacre, 93, taught at Coronado Elementary School when Esther provided art instruction to teachers and students of all ages in Coronado’s public schools. Elaine owns one of Esther’s oil paintings, a colorful still life.
 
Still Life
Still Life
oil by Esther Painter Hagstrom
Horse Country
Horse Country
watercolor by Esther Painter Hagstrom
Dock
Dock
watercolor by Esther Painter Hagstrom
John Clampitt, an artist who participated in the “Art through the Generations” exhibit, has a friend in Coronado who owns one of Esther Painter Hagstrom’s watercolors. This individual, who allowed Suzy to photograph the painting, said her family owns more of Esther’s works.
 
In September 2013, yet another painting surfaced at an estate sale in Coronado. Ann Taylor Carpenter, a student of Esther Painter Hagstrom, excitedly called Suzy to inform her about the small watercolor. Ann, Coronado High School class of 1951, described it as "one of your grandmother's earlier works."
 
The scene depicts a rustic dock in the foreground and boats in a bay. Quonset huts on the distant shore are reminiscent of Coronado's North Island naval air base, but the hills in the background aren't shaped like Point Loma. Esther's granddaughter, Suzy, speculates that the venue might be northern California --possibly Alameda or Vallejo, where the U.S. Navy operates.
 
On learning of the painting, Suzy contacted Karen Moore, who was conducting the estate sale for Rick Burnett, coordinator of the Coronado Senior Center. Suzy happens to know Rick because she occasionally goes to the center to talk with family friends who not only attended Coronado High School with her late parents but also studied art under her grandmother. (Suzy's late parents are:  Robert Painter Hagstrom, Coronado High School class of 1948, and Barbara Lou Eagles Hagstrom, class of1950.)
 
When Suzy went to the estate sale at Karen Moore's Coronado home to look at the painting, Rick Burnett showed up.
 
Rick's grandparents, William and Eve Burnett, moved to Coronado in 1951, the year Esther Painter Hagstrom died prematurely of a cerebral hemorrhage. While working as a musician in the U.S. Navy, William Burnett attained the rank of chief petty officer. William and Eve initially lived in the so-called "Roach Motels," small, square buildings on Glorietta Boulevard. In 1953, they bought a home at 465 Alameda Boulevard, the address where Rick remembers seeing the painting.
 
As a child during the 1970s, Rick spent a lot of time at his grandparents' home. "It(Esther's watercolor) was hanging on a wall in my grandparents' pool room."  Rick, 45, graduated from Coronado High School in 1986 and earned a bachelor's degree in environmental geography at San Diego State University.
 
After Rick's grandmother, Eve Burnett, died in 1999, the home on Alameda Boulevard was sold. Belongings that were not claimed or sold were stored in a family member's garage until September 2013. Among them was a watercolor by Esther Painter Hagstrom.
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