Art through the Generations - . . . from teacher to students
John Clampitt (born April 24, 1934)
“I’ve always been interested in drawing and art,” John Clampitt said, recalling that his mother enrolled him in one of Monty Lewis’s private oil painting classes. Much later, in 1950, when he began his freshman year at Coronado High School, John was looking forward to taking art classes from Esther Painter Hagstrom.
The Korean War changed everything. Inspired by the epic Chosin Reservoir battle, John dropped out of high school to join the U.S. Marine Corps. His mother and father, a naval aviator,  reluctantly gave their permission for John to undergo basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, where he much later served as drill instructor.
John Clampitt
John Clampitt
in his studio
John Clampitt
John Clampitt
as a teenager
John’s interest in art intensified during a military career that took him around the world -- from securing the U.S. embassy in Guatemala to front-line battle in Vietnam. The Corps’ renowned combat art program invited John to submit paintings and drawings.
On retiring as a sergeant major in 1980, John enrolled at San Diego State University to finish requirements for his bachelor’s degree in art and printmaking. Prior to that point, John had finished his secondary education by attending evening classes at San Diego High School. He also studied two years at Riverside Junior College. John received an honorary diploma from Coronado High, where he would have been class of 1954.
A member of the San Diego Watercolor Society, John has participated in many workshops. He has studied painting under Don Andrews in Guatemala, Cal Fortbook in Italy and Van Hasselt in Maine. He is skilled in wood-working, stained glass, ceramics, tile and other media.
“Up until San Diego State, art was a hobby that I did off and on,” John said. “I am retired, so I’m pursuing art. Art is my major effort right now.”
Slide Show
(Please click on the "thumbnails" below to view John Clamplitt's watercolors.)
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