Jim McNamara

I have been drawing and painting since early childhood. As a boy, it was my dream to become a wildlife artist, but I drew everything. I studied art at the University of Nebraska, Seattle Pacific University, and the University of Washington. I have participated in workshops with artists including Jim Lamb, Jan Hart, Howard Carr Matt Smith, John Budicin, and George Strickland.

Ideally, I try to paint from life. My favorite experiences involve backpacking to some remote location, setting up my easel and painting directly from nature. Painting outdoors produces the most accurate color and the most spontaneous result. Because outdoor conditions are not always ideal in the Northwest, especially in winter, I do rely on reference photographs, which are always taken by me. A combination of outdoor sketching supplemented with photographs frequently becomes the foundation for a larger studio painting.

Among others (John Singer Sargent, Winslow Homer, the French Impressionists), I admire the California Impressionists William Wendt and Edgar Payne, and the landscapes of John F. Carlson. My colors and shapes are broadly realistic, but I prefer to employ a “painterly” style. I think painting is more interesting and involving if it leaves something to the viewer’s imagination. I like to see brushstrokes in a finished painting. I think it adds a textural dimension, and makes the work more fun to look at close up. A painting should have impact from across the room, but it should present a different experience as the viewer approaches. Usually, my paintings are a response to a particular place or scene in nature rather than a photographic copy. Cameras can do a better job at exact duplication than I could ever do. One of the great advantages of being a painter is the freedom to move elements around to suit the needs of the composition. So if a tree isn’t where I want it to be, I move it. Landscape painters have been known to move mountains.