The Photo Request has been fulfilled.


Martin Cedric “Marty” Stanley

Sacramento County, California, USA
Death 29 Sep 2006 (aged 51)
Grand Island, Colusa County, California, USA
Burial Unknown
Memorial ID 15966245 · View Source
Suggest Edits

Obituary: Delta painter found majesty along rivers
By Matt Weiser - Bee Staff Writer
Last Updated 6:14 am PDT Monday, October 2, 2006
Story appeared in METRO section, Page B1

Marty Stanley stitched together the fabric of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

Like its wandering sloughs, its real-life towns and world-weary characters, Stanley's paintings gave the Delta a native texture that felt right in a Golden State that became a bit too gilded.

So ingrained were his images that, on a spring or fall evening, it was not uncommon for a Delta resident to gaze aloft and proclaim, "That's a Marty Stanley sunset."

Stanley died Thursday at his home on Grand Island. The manager of his Walnut Grove gallery, Donna Anderson, said he had been battling mental illness. He was 51.

"Marty clearly was our spokesperson on canvas," said Gil Labrie, a Walnut Grove engineer and architect who knew Stanley for 30 years. "I think his work personifies the Delta."

He painted more than 400 original images of the Delta. Though best known for panoramic sunsets, his work covered the breadth of Delta nature, architecture and history.

He also painted murals throughout the region, including one on J Street in midtown and another in Walnut Grove. He also illustrated the book "Sturgeon Tales: Stories of the Delta," by Charlie Soderquist, who died in 2004.

Stanley also took commissions from the region's business leaders to record their stories, from the Raley grocery family to Dutra Engineering, which dredged and maintained many of the reflective sloughs Stanley loved to paint. His most recent commission was a massive 16-foot-wide painting of the history of the Stockton-based Spanos family.

Stanley had no formal art training. After graduating from Rio Vista High School in 1973, he started his own sign painting business at the age of 19, serving clients for nearly 10 years out of shops in Isleton and then Locke.

Then the sign-painting clients began to commission paintings. Seeking to inspire this new career, in 1985 he decided to visit Greece for two months.

He discovered the Greek island of Santorini and decided to stay for another six months. He returned with a large body of work featuring island architecture, still lifes and landscapes.

In 1987, after returning to the Delta, Stanley's home on Twitchell Island burned to the ground, destroying almost all the Santorini paintings.

Rather than a disaster, however, it became a catalyst that opened Stanley's eye to the landscape around him.

Stanley often donated his prints for fundraisers to protect the Delta, and he was one of its biggest boosters. Earlier this year, he donated original artwork for the first "Welcome to the Delta" road signs installed throughout the region.

Stanley is survived by his wife, Sherry, and their two children, Skyler and Callista.

A memorial service will be held Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Grand Island Mansion, 13415 Grand Island Road, Walnut Grove. A memorial fund has been established at the Bank of Rio Vista, 14211 River Road, Walnut Grove, CA 95690.

About the writer:
The Bee's Matt Weiser can be reached at (916) 321-1264 or


See more Stanley memorials in:



  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Sandra Tyler Duncan
  • Added: 2 Oct 2006
  • Find A Grave Memorial 15966245
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Martin Cedric “Marty” Stanley (18 Apr 1955–29 Sep 2006), Find A Grave Memorial no. 15966245, ; Maintained by Find A Grave (contributor 8) Unknown.