Adventures of a 100-Year-Old Artist is a heartwarming biography that spans a century. It is the incredible true story of Carroll Emerson Thomas, a man optimistic enough to open an art gallery at age 96. This book will reduce your fear of aging. Carroll teaches us to live life fully and eagerly await tomorrow. When he hit 100 in 2010, he was one of the oldest living American painters still creating art and operating a gallery. From the Arctic Circle to Central America, through the Great Depression, influenza, world wars, epic discoveries, and 18 presidents, Carroll paints, enjoys wild adventures, falls in love with the wonders of nature, and hunts and fishes with characters whose lives are just as fascinating as his own, including a one-eyed, one-handed lion hunter and a hardened mountain man featured in Sports Illustrated for his masterful skills. His is a humorous and compelling narrative full of life-threatening close calls at every turn. He survives a plane crash. He is buried alive. He is chased by cannibals. He almost drowns three times, yet he always emerges unscathed. He survives by dumb luck, plucky resourcefulness, sheer grit, heady confidence and a vast reservoir of skill. His vivid memory stays indelibly intact, so his tales are authentic and riveting to the end. His circle of friends are some of the most highly acclaimed artists of the American West, including Professor John Haley, who builds one of the strongest art departments in the country at UC Berkeley, and Maurice Logan, a Modernist artist and one of the original Society of Six.
Carroll’s story first takes readers back to the early 1900s, to a time of simplicity when dreams are rarely spoiled by life’s pressures. He overcomes obstacles and leaves readers warmed by his tenacity. His dad goes from rags to riches, twice. Carroll climbs Pikes Peak at age nine, alone. At age 12 after his parents’ divorce, Carroll operates his own rabbit business at a profit, owns and drives a car, drinks his first whiskey during Prohibition and runs with a wild coyote. He roams the West by boxcar during the Depression. For two and a half years he lives off the land in an abandoned miner’s cabin in the Trinity Alps. He hikes and paints in Yosemite for 15 weeks with two burros. Afterwards, he becomes half-owner of the Gold Coin Club, a rowdy bar in nearby Mariposa. He builds ship models for Henry Kaiser Shipyard during World War II. Carroll’s grandfather learns the “shooting from the hip” trick from Kit Carson and teaches it to his grandson. It saves Carroll’s life from a charging elk. He also incites a near-fatal close call with two runaway mules and a cliff.