An Artist's Journey : The Life & Works of E. S. Paxson

Edgar Samuel Paxson was born April 25, 1852, in East Hamburg, New York. His early education was at Websters Corners, now called Orchard Park, New York. There he met his future wife, Laura Millicent Johnson. He then studied at the Friends Institute, known today as Friends Seminary. Paxson, much like his contemporary, Charles M. Russell, received no formal art training.

"It has been my constant thought and desire during my leisure hours to study painting and thus be prepared to show to others through scenes as I had observed them. Nature had provided me with some artistic ability, but the training and mastering of colors were only to be a course of study. I was never so fortunate as to be in a position where I could even acquire the rudiments of art." The Anaconda Standard, February 9, 1902

Paxson's talent for painting and drawing emerged early. At age nine he became an apprentice to a "scenic painter", who designed and painted backgrounds, stage wings, and curtains for theater productions. He later took an apprenticeship with his father, a carriage builder, painting fancy scrollwork on carriages.

The skills he learned during both apprenticeships aided his ability to make a living in Montana, first in Deer Lodge (1878-1880) and then in Butte (1880-1906) as a commercial artist.

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An Artist's Journey