Friday, November 19, 2021

Impressionist Alson Skinner Clark

By Susan G Mathis

American Impressionist artist, Alson Skinner Clark, is most remembered for his beautiful landscapes that often still sell for tens of thousands of dollars. Born in Chicago in 1876, he started selling his paintings at age eleven!

He was educated in art in America and France, married Atta Medora McMullin, and lived in Pasadena, California. But he summered in the Thousand Islands on his family’s Comfort Island. There he created amazing murals throughout the cottage that still exist today.

His first art studio was in Watertown, NY, where he met his wife and had a successful debut art exhibit. Then he took his work to Chicago, and after receiving rave reviews, he and his wife spent several years in Europe honing his skills and working with famous artists. His wife, Medora, was his regular model and his muse.

Clark recorded his paintings in notebooks and on note cards, often adding his inspiration and photographs of them. One of his most famous paintings is called, The Necklaces, was admittedly influenced by the famous artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler.

Clark painted in Paris, Normandy, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, and other places. But he always returned to The Thousand Islands and his Comfort Island. In 1910, his Spanish paintings brought him national esteem at a Chicago exhibition.

He and his wife soon returned to France and spent time in the artist colony, Giverny, where he met Claude Monet and other artists. There he solidified his special style of Impressionism that gained him international notoriety and fame. But soon they found Giverny an unhealthy place to reside and returned to the states.

In 1913, Clark traveled to the Panama Canal and painted a dozen pieces in the construction zone and around the area, bringing the historic canal to life and public understanding. During World War I, he served as an aerial photographer, and later he taught art at Occidental College and in Pasadena. He died in 1949 while painting.

Yet his paintings still live on and his murals in the Comfort Island cottage do too. My story, Colleen’s Confession, details those murals, tell more of his work, and tells the story of a lovely orphan lass who was touched by this famous artist.

How has art touched your life? I’d love to know! Leave your answer or comments on the post below and join me on December 19th for my next post.

About Colleen's Confession:

Summer 1914

Colleen Sullivan has secrets as she joins the staff on Comfort Island. She loves to draw and dreams of growing in the craft. But tragedy strikes and her orphan dreams of finally belonging and becoming a wife and an artist gone, what will her future hold?

Jack Weiss enjoys being the island’s groundskeeper and is smitten by the lovely Irish lass. Colleen dismisses him at every turn, but when he introduces her to the famous impressionist, Alson Skinner Clark, Colleen finds hope. Will she finally embrace his love for her? With the Thousand Islands' summer ending, he hopes she will.

About Susan:

Susan G Mathis is an international award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Susan has been published more than twenty times in full-length novels, novellas, and non-fiction books.

Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma, and Katelyn’s Choice have each won multiple awards, and book three, Peyton’s Promise, comes out May 2022. Rachel’s Reunion is coming soon. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise, and Reagan’s Reward, are also award winners. Susan is also a published author of two premarital books, two children’s picture books, stories in a dozen compilations, and hundreds of published articles. Susan makes her home in Colorado Springs and enjoys traveling around the world. Visit for more.


  1. Great post. Colleen's Confession is a wonderful story. I love books that feature real historical figures, and enjoyed learning about Mr. Clark. My mom instilled in me an appreciation of art, and I've been able to go to many galleries over the years. Van Gogh is my favorite. We discovered James Aponovich a few years ago, and his still lifes are very unusual.

  2. Thank you for posting! I can't really say that I have a deep connection to any particular artist. I haven't studied art enough to know what I like. I would enjoy seeing those murals, though!

  3. I enjoyed your post, Susan. It is interesting to learn about real people. My favorite artists are Mary Cassatt and Van Gogh.