THOMAS CRAIG 1907-1969

Thomas Craig was born in Ontario, California. He was the youngest son of Dr. W. H. Craig, the first medical doctor in Upland, California. He had a brother and a sister who were medical doctors.

He studied botany at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1928, at age 21, he contracted tuberculosis and moved to Cathedral City, California, where he stayed for several years and began painting. After his return to the  Los Angeles area, he studied with Frank Tolles Chamberlin and Clarence Hinkle.

Watercolors became his favorite medium; he usually worked in a very wet style and for the most part chose soft colors.  His works often depicted farm or rural scenes on misty, foggy, or rainy days. Because the Northern California coast supplies this type of weather, as well as beautiful scenery, he spent as much time painting in this area as he could.

He received a Guggenheim Fellowship in the early 1940s which allowed him to travel and paint throughout the Southwest. During World War II he was a war artist and produced paintings for Life magazine. Thereafter he painted only occasionally, spending most of his time raising hybrid flowers on 250 acres north of San Diego.  He developed a prize-winning iris.

Although he actively painted and exhibited for only about twenty years, he played an important role in the development of the California Style of watercolor painting. His works were exhibited in many important shows including the California Group traveling exhibitions.

He was a member of the California Watercolor Society and the Philadelphia Watercolor Society.

Click on a thumbnail below to see an enlarged image and start a slide show of Craig works.

Paintings in the Permanent Collection:

Blue House
Signed “T. Craig”, lower right
Watercolor, 21“ x 14”, c. 1940
1941 Barbara Line Memorial purchase
Barbara Line Memorial Collection
Valued 1991: $1,975

Signed “T. Craig”, lower right
Watercolor, 24” x 30”, 1941
1942 gift of by artist

Signed “T. Craig” lower right
Oil on canvas board, 14” x 18”, c. 1940
1941 Barbara Line Memorial purchase
Barbara Line Memorial Collection

Mendocino Coast
Signed “T. Craig”, lower right
Oil, 33” x 25”, dated 1942
1942  purchase award
Valued 1987: $3,125


Museum Closure

 CCMA is following State, County and City of Ontario guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. The museum is currently
closed to the public until further notice.

During closure, please direct inquiries to CCMA board chairman Nancy DeDiemar (
or 909-214-3459.

CCMA is continuing to accept applications for Art at Airport while closed.
Check here or on our Facebook page for updates to this notice.

Statement of Support

CCMA is an arts organization with the word community as part of its name. And so we grieve with communities of color in our city, our country and the world, for the death of George Floyd and all the others before him who have been disadvantaged, suffered and died because of the color of their skin.
As we have seen over the past few weeks, collective grief can be channeled into positive actions that change institutions and systems to create a more just society. CCMA intends to be part of that change.

 Events at the Museum

No events are currently scheduled.

 Art at Airport

CCMA is managing the public art program at  Ontario International Airport. Exhibits featuring the art of 20 regional artists may be seen in the passenger arrival/departure area of Terminals 2 and 4.

Visual artists interested in participating in the  program can click on the EXHIBIT tab above for more information and the application form. CCMA is accepting artist applications during the museum closure period.

Life Drawing Session at CCMA
Postponed Until Further Notice

Live model
Sessions are the third Thursday of the month
10 am to 3 pm
$15 -- open to all

 Open Studio at CCMA
Postponed Until Further Notice

Fridays from 11 am – 3 pm
Where artists meet to create and share their artwork in an unstructured environment.

Open Studio at CCMA is a place for artists to come together and create art in the presence of other artists. It is intended to foster creativity, exchange, conversation, encouragement and freedom of artistic expression. All artists are welcome and invited to participate. Every Friday from 11 am to 3 pm at the museum.

CCMA in the News

Ontario Connects

View highlights of Sheets, Sheets & Caughman CCMA/OMHA exhibition
Art for Living and Living for Art
by clicking on the title

Joe Blackstock

Inland Valley historian Joe Blackstock visits CCMA to view the nine paintings of the Barbara Line Memorial Collection. Click here to view article.
 IEShineOn, an online source for events and activities in the Inland Empire, featured CCMA. To view the article, click here.

Suzanne Sproul

Inland Valley Daily Bulletin columnist Suzanne Sproul reports on the Sheets, Sheets & Caughman exhibit Art for Living and Living for Art. To view the article, click here. Read about CCMA's 75th anniversary in 2016 by clicking here. 

David Allen
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin columnist David Allen visits CCMA's outdoor sculpture at the front of the museum. The sculpture was created by Fullmer Construction superintendent Gary Rue entirely from materials leftover from construction the parking lot next door. Click here to see a photo and read David's blog.

Trevor Summons

Click here  or click here to read about CCMA
in Trevor Summon's column

Foothills Reader

Click here to read about CCMA
in the Foothills Reader

217 S. Lemon Ave
Ontario, CA 91761-1623

Free Admission
Thursday through Sunday
noon — 4:00 pm

Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day

Rent the Museum for your event

The Museum is available year-round as a venue for compatible events of small to medium-sized groups. For more information, including rental rates, available days and times, and floor plan, click here.

 217 S. Lemon Ave, Ontario, CA 91761 • 909.463.3733 • • Thursday-Sunday, noon - 4 pm • Free Admission