San Anselmo, CA
My understanding of what I do is evolving. I look for light and shadows, contrasts, reflections, an unusual perspective, and mood, all of that captured in a compelling moment in time, somewhere on the street or sidewalk, in a building, or on the highway. I attempt to find a small beauty, a moment of grace in the alienation of modern life. I often take dozens of photos and return to the site several times, day and night and in the rain when possible. I paint an impression based on those varied exposures.
Jim never drew or painted until three years ago, 2014. Twelve years of Catholic school were filled with reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic, but no art, other than coloring books and “stay between the lines, young man.”
Jim was born in 1955 in Arkansas to parents married in San Francisco after WWII. His childhood in the South greatly affected his worldview, shaped particularly by a cross burning across the street from his family's home when he was young.
His visual memories are of a black and white world, muted colors, all seen through a prism of hazy humidity. Art of any kind was not something that was ever talked about in his house or neighborhood. Artists were thought of as strange people far away on the East or West Coast or in Europe. He was in his early twenties when he first visited an art museum as part of an assignment for the one mandatory art appreciation class needed to fulfill college graduation requirements, the class and the professor, Al Allen, Jim still remembers, forty years later.
Jim's first drawing and painting classes were with Jack Scott at College of Marin. He will always be grateful to Jack for his thoughtful encouragement, generosity, and emphasis on looking, looking again, and looking still more until you finally see.
Jim has been most affected by the works of Manet, Degas, Monet, Cézanne, van Gogh, Matisse, Hopper, Register, and Diebenkorn. He is constantly inspired by and learns from other local artists.
Five of Jim's paintings were accepted into the 2016 Marin County Fair. "Cadillac" won the 2016 Fair Theme Award: "What A Ride It's Been. 75 Years of the Marin County Fair." Three other paintings received Honorable Mentions.
Jim paints with oils seven days a week in a home studio. He begins painting early in the morning and continues until early evening - eight to twelve hours a day. Life does get in the way at times, but with headphones on and music playing, he sees himself following this same daily routine as long as he can hold a brush.
Jim's past lives include work as a ranch hand in Montana; as an ecologist (on live rabid animals, on mosquito predators in Arkansas rice fields, on pine trees in East Texas), conducting water chemistry tests near a nuclear plant, and as a necropsy assistant; his research on invasive species was awarded a $200,000 National Science Foundation grant. After beginning a PhD at UC Berkeley, it was discovered that a UC Berkeley prof was embezzling from the grant. The Feds were not happy. Jim made a major life change and earned his teaching credential from UC Berkeley. He was a teacher for thirteen years in the SF Bay Area including Marin County Teacher of the Year in 1999. Jim says he's in his fourth reinvention, as a painter, a true vocation that he believes fits him better than anything he's ever done.
Jim has a BS and an MS in invertebrate biology and ecology and lives in San Anselmo, California with his wife, Jean Olive-Lammers, and, when home from college, his stepson, Adam Beeler-Lammers. Jean has a degree in art history and Italian and works as an IT analyst. Adam is a computer science major who likes Caravaggio.