Natural Instincts
Accession Number: PC.105
Artist: Channing Peake
pen and ink on paper

Channing Peake (1910-1989) was a Santa Barbara area artist who embraced Moderism. By the late 1940s, Mr. Peake had studied at the Califormia College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, the Santa Barbara School of the Arts, and the Art Students League in New York. He had traveled and painted throughout Mexico and the American Southwest, and he had worked on mural projects with Diego Rivera in Mexico City, Lewis Rubenstein at Harvard University, and RIco Lebrun at Pennshylvania Station in New York City.

Channing Peake was a man with feet in two worlds: the elevated realm of fine art and the terra firma of ranching. Mr. Peake’s abstract paintings of objects and scenes from everyday life on the farms and ranches of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties attracted wide attention and brought him much acclaim.

In 1956, a young woman in charge of a San Luis Obispo county-wide art show presented by the then San Luis Obispo Art Association contacted Mr. Peake and offered him a show in the spring of 1957. At the time Mr. Peake was perparing for an exhibition at both the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the M.H. de Young Memorial Museum in San Francisco. That young woman was Elaine Badgley Arnoux who went on to an acclaimed art career of her own. In those early years she credits her growing confidence and sense of empowerment to her association with Channing Peake following that show in 1957.

The San Luis Obispo Museum of Art presented an exhibition entitled “A Time and a Place: The Artistic Encounter Between Channing Peake & Elaine Badgley Arnoux 1956-1962” from July 27 through September 2, 2012. It was organized by Paul Bockhorst and the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.

This drawing was donated by Channing Peake’s widow, Cheri Peake in 2012.

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