Oils & Acrylics|
View Artist Statement
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Gallery Direct Interview with JEAN JAMES|
Jean James work will enlighten the viewer and give them a new perspective on the world we all share. She combines shapes, colour and light to produce a combination of realism, fantasy and abstraction that gives us a glimpse of a world that few of us could imagine.
I understand you started painting when you were very young. Could you tell us a little about this and who it was that gave you the most encouragement during this time?
As with many other artists, a parent, in this case my father, set up Saturday morning solo drawing of classical plaster casts for me when I was 8 years old at the Art School around the corner. He also introduced me to watercolour and lino cuts and visits to the National Gallery and other museums. He showed me the old masters, Da Vinci, Rembrant, Franz Hals Turner and the Georgian portrait painters. However, after a journey to London to see Van Gogh's "Sunflowers" his comment was "he can't paint!!"
When and how did you decide you wanted to become an artist and did you make any career changes when you made this decision?
I have worn many hats. Some of which were, nursing, midwifery, housewife, busy mother of four, and then when my husband became ill I qualified as a medical lab tech. Inspite of all this, I managed to keep a thread of art going so when l was finally free, I took an early retirement and have been painting full tilt ever since. I also discovered an urge to travel, particularly to the east and adventure style or solo. I have painted in Mexico, Holland, Spain, Morroco, India, Kashmir and Indonesia as well as other places I find myself in.
What kind of formal or informal education have you found most useful?
An early teacher in Canada who taught from nothing up, Keith Keller in San Miguel d'Allende for 4 winters (classical with glazing), painting in Can Serrat near Barcelona, my much too short course at the Art Students League N.Y and at the Art Camp in Roumania organised by NIck Vladulescu who I met at the 2005 Florence Biennalle. As you can see, I have my "angels" who direct me to so many talented people.
During this learning phase of your career, who or what gave you the most inspiration?
Other artists who were unfailingly generous with time, space and encouragement.
What kinds of images did you first start out with and what medium did you use?
Still life and landscape. I worked for a long time in watercolour and then fell in love with oil. I tried but didnt like acrylics.
Your work encompasses many different subjects. What subject matter do you find the most rewarding and why do you feel this way?
All I can say is I am a Gemini! I struggle with, but love faces.. ..I am known in a way for my pears! I am curently exploring more and more abstract work done swiftly and spontaneously but above all I love subtle vibrant colour..so any subject can pull me in. The world is full of wonder!!
Do you have a sketch or an idea before you start painting?
Usually, but the further I go into abstraction the more spontaneous it is.
Could you tell us a little about your “Surreal” images and what inspired or influenced you to do these pieces?
I was introduced to working with them by Keith Keller.. From my teens (a long time ago) I collected images by Dali, de Chirico and Magritte. Surrealism has a dark and sardonic statement about life and time which I find very interesting.
What are your favorite pieces of work you have done and why are they your favorites?
Usually my last image. At least for a while. I have alot of work to up load including the Tryptych I took to Florence. I am very pleased with it and also my "Zen Pear."
What has been your biggest challenge during your career as an artist?
Believing I am real ...a real artist that is.
What do you enjoy most about being an artist?
Getting totally drawn into my painting as I do it .. You know when the brush and colours "go" by themselves.
What advise would you give an aspiring artist?
Do it, love it, and believe in yourself.
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