“People often over think art. It’s just a lot of energy that comes together in one place.”
That is a simple way to characterize Jim’s thoughts on art, especially his own painting style. He paints quickly and with a lot of energy. Jim used to brag that he could complete a large painting in just several hours, until his wife pointed out to him that he was in a “mood” for days prior to starting a new painting. He realized that he was working out the details in his head, so when it was time to paint; he was able to do it quickly. Jim doesn’t brag about how fast he paints anymore.
Having worked for many years in an artistic, but technical, industry, Jim sought learning to paint as a way to engage the more creative side of his brain. In 1997 he studied for several months under Clarence Betleyoun, an accomplished painter and instructor. For weeks Jim struggled to escape the detail he was so accustomed to in his professional life. Putting brush to canvas, carefully mixing colors, and rendering a “perfect” painting seemed a lot like the work he was trying to balance. One day Clarence gave Jim a photograph and instructed him to use a palette knife and to “finish the painting before you leave in two hours.” It was freedom for Jim. He concluded his study with Clarence a few months later and continued to develop his palette knife technique on his own.
Jim began displaying paintings locally. An event at his friend’s mother’s gallery, The Stofko-Dixon Line, transformed Jim from being a “weekend hobbyist” to a true painter. A couple opening a restaurant admired his paintings and approached Jim about using some of his art in their new restaurant. A few hours and a handshake later, Terri and Wayne Wetendorf, took every painting Jim had available in both his home, and the gallery, to decorate the walls of the soon to be Grits Cafe. The restaurant was a success. As Teri and Wayne sold “southern food with flair,” people bought painting after painting. Jim continued to paint to keep the walls filled.
This mutually beneficial arrangement thrived for the next 15 years as Jim continued to paint and exhibit both locally and regionally. In 2012 a fire at Grits Cafe destroyed both the restaurant and years of Jim’s work. He did not paint for months and even considered not painting anymore. Later that year the Wetendorfs rebuilt and asked Jim to hang paintings in the “new” Grits Cafe. Jim hit his “reset button” and began painting again with more enthusiasm than before.
Jim renders his subjects abruptly with a vivid impasto effect. Using a limited palette of colors, he works in both oil and acrylic applying the paint with knives, brushes and even paper towels preferring to use pure color from the tube with little mixing on the palette. His subjects vary and are chosen from travel photographs, suggestion, and his head, but his favorite subjects are trees.
Jim has been represented by the Dan Goad Gallery on St. Simons Island, Georgia, Hollis Gallery in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and The Stofko-Dixon Line in Bolingbroke, Georgia. He has exhibited at The Stofko-Dixon Line, The Gallery at Theatre Macon, The Macon Arts Alliance Gallery, the Georgia National Fair, and the Quinlan Visual Arts Center. His work is in corporate and private collections in the United States and Canada.