Artist's Bio


After a wonderful Sunday brunch in the “outside room” tucked within Glenn and Denise’s private gardens my companion Penny Lee said, “Personally, I’ve never experienced love at first sight, but now I can definitely say, I’ve seen it!” – John McNamara

Glenn Carter was born January 31, 1951 in San Francisco, Ca. The first born of Emmett “Red” Carter and his wife Eleanor, he was soon followed by his brother, Craig, in 1952 . “Red” was a precision craftsman self employed as a crystal cutter and an avid model maker, a hobby he later shared enthusiastically with young Glenn.

From the age of nine Glenn demonstrated a natural affinity for drawing, which helped him navigate his parochial education. It kept him in good stead as he switched from the parochial to the public for his last three years of high school, graduating in l969.

In 1970 Glenn enrolled in a two year associate arts program at City College of San Francisco as a ceramics major. In 1972 he continued in ceramics when he enrolled as a junior at San Francisco State College. After a single semester he quit, citing a noticeable lack in rigor underlying the academic arts program. After leaving college he received his induction notice for military service, but was found unfit for active duty.

With that ensuing freedom, the next two years found him sketching his way through Central and South America accompanied by, his partner, Lisa Bush. In late 1974 he and Lisa, expecting their first child, Molly, returned to San Francisco. After six months Glenn settled permanently, 75 miles south, in the beach community of Santa Cruz.

In 1975 Glenn started painting houses to secure a livelihood as a young husband and father. In 1977 his son Lucas was born. Simultaneously, that year Glenn honed his skills as a watercolor artist. He took individual classes when appropriate and spent all his free time as an ‘en plein aire’ watercolorist. He followed this course for approximately ten years as his style evolved from traditional landscapes to what he referred to as ‘dreamscapes.’ He successfully entered juried competitions, both local and national, as well as having earned several solo shows, he was included in small group shows in and around the greater bay area.

In 1979, parallel with his activity as an artist, Glenn became a licensed painting contractor. He aligned himself with a craftsman, Bill Bahrenfuss, 30 years his senior. Having Bahrenfuss’ abilities in his back pocket, so to speak, Glenn was able to steer his paint contracting business towards a more lucrative clientele. As luck would have it, the early 80’s witnessed a style revolution in the world of interior decorating with the introduction of wall washing, glazing, faux wood graining and other trompe l’oeil effects. Although new to the general public, these finishes were fundamental to craftsmen painters. After Glenn observed Bill “graining” a wood surface, he understood the direct correlation between ground and color transparency that lay at the heart of watercolor, was now central to his commercial business. Needless to say he, set about mastering a whole range of techniques as well as freely ‘playing’ with a wider array of mediums.

By 1985 Glenn’s marriage to Lisa unravelled leaving him as sole custodian of their two children a responsibility he willingly shouldered as he moved ahead on all fronts. Three years later he met his muse, Denise Hardisty. They had much in common, most importantly they were both single parents, but where he had dealt with that situation for the past three years, she had been a single mother for almost twenty years. After her husband tragically died of cancer at 21 years of age, she was a 20 year old widow with an infant son, Jon.

Though Glenn and Denise’s attraction for each other was immediate, they choose to wait five years in deference to their respective children before she agreed to live him with in 1992. By then, Glenn had built a two story studio behind the small beach cottage in the West Cliff area of Santa Cruz. Marrying in 1993, Glenn and Denise came to occupy the loft in the bare unfinished studio, while her youngest son, Jed, shared the cottage with Jon, Molly and Lucas.

1997 proved to be Glenn’s decisive year. In his artist resume there’s a void of activity from 1997 up until 2012. In reality, Glenn stopped making art in relation to the ’outer’ art scene as he methodically archived his artistic output up to that time. Next, he turned his undivided attention to the real matters at hand. As a painting contractor he found himself at the service of his most important client to date, Denise.

In 1997, with the children more or less out in the world, Glenn and Denise moved into the cottage that was originally built in 1938. Denise requested that Glenn refinish the floors. Glenn, ever the craftsman, understood that the floors came last, after the walls and ceilings. It enabled him to extend his growing virtuosity in the decorative arts, lovingly creating rooms with his very special client in mind. Although Denise professed not to be an artist, she naturally possessed a deep artistic resonance. His response had and has been to create for her her residence.

In 2000 Glenn doubled their holdings by purchasing the adjacent property and with Denise transformed it into a successful vacation rental, called the “The Watercolor Cottage.” He joined the backlots into an elaborate exotic landscape paved with brick lined gravel paths that wound through an ever growing collection of cacti and succulents, massed in groups and divided with backdrops created by colors rinsed on aged wooden walls that echo the harmonics found within the home. All of this converged on to the large double doors of his studio. They had created a refuge for the senses within the world.

In 2008 his success as a contractor led to a major commission, the decorative restoration of the Royal Presidio Chapel in Monterey, California. This commission for the archdiocese upended his role as a contractor. Perhaps, in deference to his Catholic upbringing, he approached it as an artist should within a sacred space. It re-awoke in him the deep desire to make art, as he understood it. By 2010 Glenn closed the doors to contracting and devoted himself to the sacred within his being. With Denise’s complete support he re-entered the public arena; where his personal devotion to her naturally led the way to the greater transpersonal muse, who constantly inspires the true artist forward.

Within the last seven years Glenn has created a remarkably complex body of works shown in three separate groups. Separate: only in so far as time allows one step to appear independent from the others. We, collectively (artist and his spectators) climb towards what Marcel Duchamp refers to as…” the realm of Superior Aesthetics.” In Duchampian terms, if we follow, one step at a time, we are willingly lead to ”… a window beyond space and time,” where we find ourselves standing higher than when we began; thanking Glenn for reminding us that at it’s best ART elevates the human condition.

In following Glenn, we figuratively pick up the connecting thread of his interior dialog, much like the literal red thread mysteriously encountered in each of his three outings, it signifies the consistency of his intent and we acknowledge that in the final analysis intent is all. And like love, the thing itself.

Regarding the late rise of Marcel Duchamp’s increasing influence in modern art Pablo Picasso said, “You can follow me or you can follow him, not both.”