Between Showers, by J. Wesley Little
If you are shopping our local flea markets, estate sales, and thrift stores, check those watercolor paintings for the signature of J. Wesley Little. Not only are his watercolors valued at between $300 and $600, but he was a local boy, from Picture Rocks. A large collection of his paintings are owned by Bucknell University - as Little paid his children's college tuition in paintings, rather than in cash.
John Wesley Little came to Picture Rocks from Forksville Pa, as a young child. His father, John Polhemus Little, established a wood manufacturing business in the town.
Born in 1867, he a twin, and the youngest of nine children. His twin died while fighting in the civil war.
Old Rover by J. Wesley Little
In the collection of the Samek Art Museum at Bucknell University
In 1884 John entered a pencil sketch for a dog titled "Old Rover" in a local art contest. Encouraged by friends, he then went to the National Academy of Design in New York. He studied there for 6 years, from 1888-1894.
Little's grandfather, Theopholis Little, was a revolutionary war soldier who purchased tracts of land in Sullivan County, and was instrumental in the development of Eagles Mere. It was there, by Lewis Lake, that J. Wesley Little taught art classes at the Eagles mere Chautauqua Association, for five summers. Classes cost $2.50 per a week. During the winter months he painted watercolors based on sketches me made throughout the year.
After marrying Susan Heim, the couple settled in Fort Washington Pa, near enough to Philadelphia for Little to join the Sketch and Water Color Clubs of Philadelphia.
Hanging in the Taber Museum, Williamsport Pa
Little studied under the direction of such prolific artiss as Thomas Eakin and Leonard Ochtman, and was greatly influenced English landscape artist Sir Alfred East.
Little's art often featured pastoral scenes depicting herds of sheep and cattle, reflecting the natural beauty of his native Pennsylvania. His work was exhibited at the St. Louis and Panama-Pacific Expositions, and before the American Water Color Society in New York.
In 1905, Little moved his family back to his hometown of Picture Rocks, where he lived until his death in 1923.
His obituary read, in part:
"J. Wesley Little was one of the best known native Pennsylvania Artists. He was born in Sullivan County and studied in France. In his particular medium, that of water color, he developed an individual technique which won him favorable recognition wherever he exhibited, and he was awarded medals and honors at exhibitions.
His best known works are Pennsylvania pastoral scenes and landscapes, painted in the West Branch and Muncy Creek valleys near his home."
- The Taber House Museum in Williamsport
- Trinity Episcopal Church in Williamsport has a mural based on a sketch by J. Wesley Little. Little had designed the mural, but died before it was completed. The project was finished by S.R. Hartman.
- Samek Art Gallery, Bucknell. (Displays change frequently, but their Little collection can be found online here - https://library.artstor.org/#/search/Wesley%20Little;page=1;size=48)
- Online - https://www.invaluable.com/artist/little-john-wesley-2ozmos9gj4/sold-at-auction-prices/
There is an out of print book on the life of John Wesley Little, published in 1966