Paul James

I first remember painting ‘Dr Who’ characters at playschool when I was about four years old. I can recall drawing alongside my Dad, who as a reasonable artist himself was the first person to influence me. Together we drew pages and pages of racing cars and steam trains and it was Mum that commented on how good mine were. I would also spend hours on end modelling with plasticine and mechano. At around the same time we would visit my grandmother, along with five cousins, on a Sunday afternoon. She had a beautiful big piano in her front room and, after my cousins had finished bashing away at the keys, I would stay behind and see which notes sounded good together. Having recognised my artistic and musical abilities at that age my parents gave me every support and encouragement I needed to pursue them. When the time came to go to school I was a reluctant pupil. I felt different from the other kids and I did not like the formality or structure of it all. Not surprisingly the only subjects that I did well at were art and music. Initially I thought I might make a career as a concert pianist, and then I thought maybe I would become a rock star, but luckily I finally settled on becoming an artist. My art teacher at the time however considered it a ‘silly notion’ and insisted that I should attend art-college to undertake a course in graphic design. It was not what I wanted to do and I spent more time hanging around the local Ferrari dealership painting exotic and classic cars. I lived in the hope that one of the many rich and famous customers would commission me to paint a picture of their car. Unfortunately it was not to be! Approximately half way through the course I decided to quit as it was not for me. After that I dabbled around in a range of activities, earning some money painting people’s pets, playing the piano in the pubs, clubs and cocktail bars, and I even spent a summer season entertaining folks at one of the infamous Butlins Holiday Camps. I also spent some time running my own business in the motor trade, however my urge to paint took hold again and I decided to commit my time to painting professionally in 1986. I continued with taking commissions for pet portraits, but still with an interest in cars and all things mechanical I became a member of the Guild of Motoring Artists, but this was short lived as I did not feel that it was the right subject matter for me. I experimented with portraits of people, landscapes, birds of prey, sheep and cattle. As my landscape paintings became popular, I spent time developing a style that I could call my own. For many years I also had another ambition, which was to make my home and studio on board a narrow boat. This ambition was finally achieved in 1997. Being nomadic by nature this lifestyle suits me perfectly. I can be somewhere different every day if I choose. Sometimes I prefer the tranquillity of the countryside, whilst other days being in the centre of a busy town or city is preferable. As a relatively simple, humble way of living I can concentrate my energies in to my art and music.

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  11. Sunset II Paul James
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