I started painting in 2009.

Before that, I had no notion of being any sort of graphic artist.  I always wanted to write.  Over the years, though, I discovered I was a lot better at straightforward exposition than I was at literature.  Which stood me in good stead when I started doing technical writing in the 80s.  And then I started playing with drawing software and discovered that being able to illustrate technical manuals as well as write them was a big selling point with my clients.  And that was pretty much the extent of my graphic arts endeavors before 2009.

Early in that year, I found myself cooling my heels in an Aaron Brothers store while the staff corrected a mistake they had made mounting some posters my wife and I had purchased a couple of weeks earlier.  I wandered up and down the aisles looking at (and, in some cases, smelling) all the paints and pastels and pencils and canvases and what not.  It was a lot like being in the power-tool enclosure at OSH—I didn’t NEED any of this stuff.  But I WANTED it.

Not long after that, I prevailed upon my long-time friend and even longer-time friend’s wife, life-long East Bay artist, Ramona Kennon, to give me an oil painting lesson.  I looked forward to it eagerly.  I expected to be an apt pupil.

I was terrible.  I completely botched an attempt to paint some of the koi in our backyard pond.  I found it incredibly frustrating.

And I spent an hour or two a day, over the next few weeks, trying to make a passable painting of a fish.  And when I’d done a fish I could stand, I did a more or less unrecognizable portrait of a friend from one of her facebook photos.  Then I did a self portrait.  And it was a little better.  And after a while, I gradually had to admit that what had started out as an exercise in spite, and then become kind of a joke, was becoming a serious undertaking.

I won a couple of prizes at the county fair.  I got accepted into a couple of shows.  I became one of the artists in a local co-op gallery.  I sold a few paintings to friends both real and virtual.  I was hooked.

And then a “For Lease” sign went up on this little building that I walk by every day on my way to the Spreckels post office. So what was I supposed to do, NOT open a gallery in it?

I invite you to look through the sample paintings I’ve included below.  (They include a couple of fairly recognizable koi.)  If you like them, stop by and see me at the gallery.  I’m there most afternoons.  Call ahead, if you want to be sure.


Samples of Jim's work

Samples of Jim's work