(1934 – 1994) One of the Florida African-American painters known as the Highwaymen, Harold Newton and the others were landscapists. These landscapists used a fanciful, formula style that involved billowing cumulus clouds and the ocean. The group which included Newton, James Gibson, and Alfred Hair, and were influenced by Albert E Backus, the “dean of Florida landscape Painting.”
The 19 year old Newton was persuaded by Backus to stop painting religious scenes and take up landscapes, which he quickly taught himself to do. Gallery representation was out of the question for black painters at that time in South Florida, and so Newton began selling his paintings directly out of his car. Selling out of the car was a practice all the Highwaymen painters would follow. For these young black painters it was basically a choice between work in the orange groves or another menial job, or if they had any talent at all, making art. Typically they painted on upson board, a manufactured product used by roofers. They also painted on masonite and wood. Works were framed in crown molding and then sold from car trunks.