David was born on April 26, 1941, in North Hollywood, California. He’s the elder son of David and Helen Knowlton, both commercial artists.
From 1946 until June of 1959, David lived in Santa Barbara and was taught oil, watercolor, tempera, pencil, and pen & ink techniques by his father, At the age of 12, David won a national art contest and spent much of his time drawing airplanes.
In July 1959, David went to the United States Military Academy, West Point, in New York, where he was the Editor-in-Chief of the yearbook and from which he graduated with a BS degree as a 2nd Lieutenant of Engineers in June of 1963.
After completing Paratroop School in October 1963, David was assigned to Fort Carson, Colorado where he spent much of his spare time painting oils which became his favorite media from childhood. David married in March 1964 and began to market his works that summer.
His first Vietnam tour was from May 1965 until June 1966. During this time David commanded an Engineer company constructing the Cam Ranh Bay Base.
In June 1966, he attended Stanford University and graduated with a Masters degree in Construction in January 1968. While attending the university, David continued to paint whenever time permitted. At first he painted along the coastlines and later began painting indoors from photographs.
From January until September 1968, the US Army Corps of Engineers were engaged in huge construction projects in Colorado, and David helped manage the expansion projects at the Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, Colorado.
David’s second Vietnam tour occurred between October 1968 and September 1969. He served as Provincial Engineer Advisor, MACV, at Can Tho, Vietnam, the second largest city in the country. This staff duty allowed David much time to paint, and paint he did. Many of his paintings were sold directly to American servicemen, as well as to patrons on the beach at Santa Barbara, California, to where he shipped many of the oils.
Back in the United States from October 1969 to June 1970, David served as staff officer at the 7th Engineer Battalion, in Fort Carson, Colorado.
David served as student and then as instructor at Fort Belvior, Virginia, from June 1970 until June 1973. At this time, David’s artwork took off in sales and he decided to leave the Army. In November 1971, David became a licensed Professional Engineer.
From June 1973 until August 1975, David was employed by Hunt Building Corporation of El Paso, Texas. He was engaged in the construction of military housing at Shaw Air Force Base, Sumter, South Carolina.
David relocated to Northern Virginia and began painting full time in August 1975. AS the demand for his work increased, the business grew, David hired his first employee in 1977 and the Knowlton Art Business became a corporation in 1979.
David’s first marriage ended in divorce in 1981 and he has two daughters from that marriage. He remarried in November 1987, this second marriage failed in 1993. David currently resides near Winchester, Virginia with his wife Marilyn.
David attained the required time in the Army Reserve and is now a Lieutenant Colonel, Retired.