Sunday, March 08, 2009

Claude Bell's Artist Shack - Knott's Berry Farm

OCThen reader Michelle submits her memories of Claude Bell's Artist Shack at Knott's Berry Farm...

Knotts Berry Farm! One of my favorite places to ride out a cold!

My Mom Moselle Townsend was one of the Pastel Artists there when I was young! Above Claude Bell's Artist Shack was a patio roof with umbrella chairs and a table and when I was sick Mom would take me there to relax and read while she worked!

For lunch I get to meander around and visit Motts Minatures, the gold panning area and some great old ladies in prairie bonnets. Being sick was a priviledge! I loved to eat at Mrs Knotts Kitchen, is that what was it called? Bosenberry Pie is still my favorite to this day, rubarb in syrup and the greatest fried chicken and gravy! Wasn't there a great little dish of bacon and cabbage too?

I still have the want ad mom cut from the newpaper. Claude Bell was looking for a pastel artist to do portraits and my mom thought she could do it so she drew my sister, brother, dad, me and our friends from Lakewood all in one week and then went down and applied for the job and got it. I am not sure how long she worked there but it helped buy her supplies while she got her MFA at Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles.

I have often wondered how many portraits she might have painted over the years she was there? I think she might have been there for about 4 years! Perhaps 1955 to 1960.

I went to High School in Whittier in the 60's and my dad use to drive us down to Retail Clerks, the Union Hall right past Knotts Berry Farm where we could dance for $1.00 with great groups like the Righteous Brothers! Growing up at that time was really fun. Michelle.
If you had a portrait drawn at Knott's Berry Farm between 1955 and 1960, Michelle's mom probably drew it.


  1. I remember your Mother well, I believe she liked to be called Liz? She was one of my Father's best artists and her talent was extrodinary! My sister's and I are searching for the Artists my father employeed and there were many! I have lots of stories about your Mom and the other artists. Please drop me a line!
    Wendy Bell, Daughter of Claude K. Bell and Anna Bell, Portraits in Pastel

    1. i have a pastel your mom did of john wayne i bought from you in 1980. it is a wonderful picture contact me at

    2. HI Wendy,
      I still have the portraits of Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill your parents did for Annie Get Your Gun, that we did in the 1960's....
      Its been many, many years Wendy, I hope you are well and happy.
      John Rich

  2. Can anyone tell me which portrait artist at KBF signed his/her name Oc - c inside the O - in the Eighties? I think the artist was male. I have two remarkable sketches of my daughters and would like to know the artist's name and contact info if possible.
    Many thanks -

  3. i have a Wendy Bell portrait painted on a board. it is a lady with a red scarf. call 321-652-0567

  4. I have a painting of Christ by Doris Anderson. She used to work for Claude Bell. As a young man I had became good friends with Claude and Walter Knott. We would sit on the bench in front of the old saloon and watch tourist. Great people and great memories.

  5. my mom and dad had chalk pastelle done in 1971 on there honeymoon do you know the artist

  6. I have some numbered bronze sculptures of mermaids with the mark of C Bell. We aquired these about 25 years ago.

  7. i have an oil painting by Ethel Bojanower which is signed on the back of the canvas with, "my first oil painting, taught by Moselle Townsend". Thanks

  8. Hi Im Bonnie Bell, I loved your mom she was a wonderful artist. She really helped me with my art and I had a published art magazine on how to draw in pastels by her.I am Claude Bells daughter I want you to know my father had great respect for her talent. I do remember her coming to a party also when I was very young , I thought she was at the studio much longer.

  9. I have not been here for a very long time. I wish I would have seen these posts earlier. I will try to answer most of them.
    My Father always signed his pieces with the following, By Bell.
    I don't know who did your honeymoon picture since my Father employed over 14 artists at any one time.
    I don't remember my Mother doing a portrait of John Wayne, my Father sculpted a statue of him for Mr. Knott. But I could be wrong.
    I don't remember painting a portrait of a woman with a red scarf, I was mostly into a lot of the Celebrity Portraits and my portrait days didn't last very long.
    If anyone would like to contact me directly please use my email at


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