Following is The Denver Post obituary of the artist by Claire Martin, 2/26/2006
Portrait artist Charles Phillip Cross, who died Sept. 1 at age 89 in Loveland.
The son of a Maryland couple who ran a chicken farm, Cross learned as a child to seek the distinguishing features that separated one chicken from another or one person from a crowd.
"Each is such an individual in his own right, and capturing the essence of my subject on canvas is an ongoing challenge," he told the Loveland Reporter-Herald in February.
At age 9, Cross began experimenting with caricatures that did not always sit well with the friends and neighbors interpreted on his sketch pad. He discovered that the advantage of cartoons - calling attention to foibles that many prefer to subdue - is also their drawback.
In high school, he attempted his first portrait, depicting himself in tones of black and white, against a green background. Cross found the result dismal but decided to pursue a career in art anyway.
As an undergraduate and graduate student, he studied at the Maryland Institute of Fine Art, interrupting his education to serve as a first lieutenant of a field artillery unit in the European theater of World War II.
He returned to the Maryland Institute of Fine Art and taught there for 15 years. A commissioned portrait of a department head at nearby Johns Hopkins University launched his portraiture vocation.
The gentry Cross was hired to paint included the five founders of the University of Los Angeles Medical Center, some Nebraska state legislators, nine Methodist bishops, Western rabbi Edgar F. Magnin and Earl Warren, then governor of California. The Warren portrait commemorates the moment Warren signed legislation designating the UCLA Medical Center.
Even more memorable, said Cross' wife, Marilyn, were his three paintings of a child murdered by a drug addict. Commissioned by the child's grandfather, a family friend, Cross worked from photographs to create a portrait of the girl as an infant, a toddler and as she appeared a few days before her death.
"I could not look at those paintings - they were too lifelike," Marilyn Cross said.
"But the family absolutely loved them, as live memories of her."
In 1982, Cross and his wife moved to Nebraska, where Cross focused on Western art and landscapes. He painted ranch hands at work, cowboys, American Indians, cattle, landscapes that conveyed both grace and austerity, and four cowboy images for the Boulder Leanin' Tree card company.
Cross and his family moved to Loveland in 1987. He taught at the Loveland Academy of Fine Arts.