Guide to the Obenchain Drawings and Paintings Collection (1970s – 1980s) – History

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Richard Forrest Obenchain, also known as Dick Obenchain (1944–) was a native of Brooklyn, New York before moving to Santa Cruz and becoming an illustrator. He attended the University of Kanas where he obtained a Bachelor of Architecture in 1967 and worked as an architectural draftsman. He spent four years in the Navy as a navigator for the USS Kennebec and as a U.S. advisor aboard Vietnamese riverboats ( Eventually he would come to San Francisco and to Santa Cruz where he started his own Architectural Graphics business at his studio on Potrero Street in Santa Cruz. He exhibited in many galleries and museums, such as the A.R. Wood Gallery at the Santa Cruz Art Center in July of 1981. There, he showed some watercolor landscapes of Sand Hill Beach (S.C. Sentinel 7/2/1981). According to his resume and the Santa Cruz Sentinel, Obenchain showed at other galleries throughout California such as the Erickson Gallery, Palo Alto, CA in 1975 and the P.G. & E. Corporate Gallery in San Francisco in 1984 as well as having exhibitions at the Santa Cruz County Art Museum (now the SC MAH) in 1984 and the Santa Cruz City Museum in 1985 (now the Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History), and at the Santa Cruz Library (S.C. Sentinel 3/6/1980). Obenchain was skillful in several artistic mediums such as oil, watercolor, and pen and ink. In 1981 Obenchain showed some tropical landscapes painted in oil and some Santa Cruz county scenes at Studio Glassart in Capitola (S.C. Sentinel 2//15/1981). In 1982 Obenchain showed at the County Government Center with fellow Santa Cruz County artist Marsha Blaker, where Obenchain had about forty (40) scenes of local areas (S.C. Sentinel 10/1/1982). In the 1980’s Obenchain spent two years plein-air (outdoor painting) painting along the Coast of North Santa Cruz County. He completed many artworks which were shown at the Courtyard Restaurant in Soquel in February 1982. During this time he was represented by Pace-Price Gallery of San Francisco and Maui Hyatt Regency Gallery (S.C. Sentinel 2/18/1982). Obenchain would develop a fascination with the tropics due to his time in the Navy in which he visited Hawaii. His first visit to Hawaii led to an interest in the landscapes of Hawaii where he moved in 1988 (bio at Richard Obenchain currently creates beautiful tropical landscapes which can be viewed at his website According to his biography on the website, Richard Obenchain currently resides on a ranch in the Mule Mountains of Bisbee in Southeast Arizona.