"An artist must possess Nature. He must identify himself with her rhythm, by efforts that will prepare the mastery which will later enable him to express himself in his own language." - (Matisse)
Born in Wisconsin, Jim started etching his marks at a early age-- "I remember my earliest artistic attempts. I might have been two years old. While standing in my crib, I was tracing the shape of the shadow of my head on the wall. My parents weren't too pleased with my self-portrait. But as I grew older, everyone encouraged my talent for art." In 1964, Jim enrolled in Illustration and Advertising career at the Layton School of Art in Milwaukee. "My parents wanted a more practical career for me other than fine artist." But at Layton, he found influence by artists Edmund Lewandowski (1914-1998), American "precisionist" painter, and noted painter Robert Von Neumann (American 1888-1976). Layton, at that time, was widely known for innovative teaching styles, whose faculty included successful and famous artists as instructors.
Seeking a more fine art direction with a broader base for painting style and technique, he then attended Minneapolis School of Art in 1966. While there, one of Jim's instructors was Christo Javacheff, a relatively unknown artist working as an art school teacher. Javacheff was yet to become as famous as Christo, the Installation Artist, whose Marin County's, California "Running Fence" in 1982, and New York's Central Park's "Gates" in 2005 are just two of many well-known installations. But, as an art teacher, his semester project was an installation that required 200 art students walk into a huge weather balloon. The event is described as follows in Christo's biography:
42,390 Cubic feet Package October 1966 at the Walker Art Center and the Minneapolis School of Art. Length:18 meters (60 feet) Polyethylene: 720 square meters (8,000 square feet). Manila rope: 914 meters (3,000 feet) Duration: Three days He taught an "open" class called Constructions and Installation Art for the Semester.
Impressed by Christo's boldness, Jim learned to create what your "art energy" wants. "I do remember the "buzz" about this new artist around campus,and as many of the art students knew of the man, but not of his new art."
Jim had always sold paintings to supplement his art school education. In Wisconsin, he was painting landscapes of the American Southwest, inspired by his desires to live in California. In 1968, Jim finally made the move West and Launched a successful career in advertising illustration and graphics, and sold his paintings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. He was a painter of the 'Visionary Style'- common on the West Coast from about 1960 to 1980. Many pieces were sold; but, he has a few that have never been viewed by public. In those paintings, images emerge that seem as though one is seeing beyond eyes; where landscapes are full of fantasy with pyramids, planets, Pterodactyls, and hidden faces. His cover and illustrations also appeared in a book, "Gardening with Children", published in 1976. Jim's paintings have been exhibited in juried competitions, art fairs, and galleries from San Francisco to Monterey/Carmel.
Married, with a young family, he accepted a job in the Fire Service in the late 1970's in which he used his artistic skills and cartography experience to draw fire response maps and illustrated children's fire safety materials. When the 911 system in California was implemented in 1977, Jim's maps and manuals became a valuable resource. By 1979, he was a full-time, paid firefighter. "I realized that my experiences in the Fire Service had a profound affect on people and their families' lives, which have enriched my perspectives on Life."
After a rewarding career and of 22 years, Jim retired from service to paint full-time. Between the years 1998-2002, he was painting with watercolors, to refresh his skills and feel his art again. Since then, he has painted in oils as he had done in his earlier works of art. Jim continues to travel and paint in the western landscape-- combining his love of nature and artistic expression through painting. Other artists in their own time, whose landscapes have influenced his experience and vision, are of varying backgrounds, techniques and styles. But, it is the painting of landscapes in which he feels a connection. And, remembering Christo, is emboldened to create what his "art energy wants."
"I plunged eagerly and passionately into the wilderness, as if in the hope of thus penetrating into the very heart of this Nature, powerful and maternal, there to blend with her living elements." - (Gauguin)
"I have drawn my inspirations from Early Chinese landscapes, from the Hudson River School, French post- Impressionism, Seurat and VanGogh. I can feel Georgia O'Keeffe and her sense of place with a pioneer spirit, and plein air boldness. And of course, Salvador Dali, the most lifelong, impressive artist for me; and, important contemporary master is Eyvind Earle, and his modern Pointillism."
"My paintings entice the senses to explore beyond what their eyes tell them." I want my art to evoke a new perception of "the consciousness of color,and what is always there." Jim maintains his studio in Aptos, California.
"The Sorcerers Castle"
oil on panel
48" x 24"
oil on panel
48" x 48"
"Shield of Oshkosh"
oil on panel
36" x 30"
"Turkeys at Natural Bridges"
acrylic on panel
18" x 24"
"Valley of the Yosemite"
acrylic on redwood with gold leaf
18" x 18"