Thought by many art critics to be California's greatest painter, Grace Carpenter Hudson was born near Ukiah in Potter Valley, California. The daughter of a newspaperman-photographer, she studied at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco and was a pupil of Virgil Williams at a time when San Francisco was an important art center. She returned to Ukiah, one hundred miles north along the "Redwood Highway" to teach painting. During this time she also became an illustrator for Sunset, Cosmopolitan, and Western Field. In 1890 she married John Hudson who was a Pacific Coast ethnologist for the Field Museum and a researcher on the language and art of the Pomo Indians. Immersed in their culture, Hudson began to specialize in painting the Indian children she spent so much time with. These are the works she later became so famous for even though she did travel and paint extensively throughout Europe and Hawaii. In 1904 she was commissioned by the Field Museum to paint portraits of the Pawnee Indians, with a special series of the Indian chiefs of Oklahoma. She returned to Ukiah where she lived and painted actively until her death at the age of seventy-two.