Charles Barrows was from Washington, Pennsylvania and attended Carnegie Technical Institute's College of Fine Arts. He continued his studies at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and at the Art Student League of New York City. Barrows learned about Santa Fe from Santa Fe artist Hal West, and arrived in Santa Fe in June of 1928. In Santa Fe, Barrows became active in the art colony and produced watercolors for the WPA Art Project. Later Barrows and his wife founded Tewa Enterprises, a successful silk screen business that later merged with the Artists Exchange on Canyon Road. Barrows felt that painting should always present more than just a picture of something, "an emotional rather than a mental process."