Charles M. Ware was born in 1921, in Santa Rosa, California. He grew up there, on the family ranch, Ladera Verdes. "We did a lot of hard physical labor in those days," Charlie remembers. He said the 580 acre ranch had, "300 head of sheep, 100 head of Angora goats, 3 or 4 thousand chickens, 7 milk cows, a couple of draft horses... we had a whole pile of stuff. We even had Peacocks!"
But Charlie wanted to be an artist, not a farmer. "My dad wanted me to be a farmer, of course. But he very graciously helped me to go to school and he was overcome when I won that scholarship (to the California School of Fine Art , now known as the SF Art Institute.) I remember he took a little jump in the air when I told him. But I think it hurt his feelings, too. Because there went the dream of the ranch." His father sold the ranch and livestock for $40,000 while Charlie was in Europe during World War II.