James Nelson Lewis

“Bright Moon Sail”

“Harbor Sunrise”

“Girl at the Gate”

“Moonlit Harbor”

Born in Pennsylvania in 1953 Lewis realized at an early age that he had a gift and calling in artistic pursuits. He has a BFA degree from Columbus College of Art and Design. His artistic influences range from Whistler to Wolf Kahn as well as many contemporaries in American painting. Lewis has had years of professional experience as an illustrator, art director, designer, and University art instructor. Personally his painting is influenced by his work as a designer, illustrator and from years of painting and instructing watercolor. The result is a sense of order, balanced by spontaneity and energetic palette knife and brushwork, direct and intuitive. His new paintings are mature yet fresh, a poetic synthesis of simplification and expression, allowing for abstract passages within subjective compositions. Believing that environment and relationship also fuel creativity, travels including an extended stay in SW Florida, have provided enormous amounts of inspiration, as does his wife Sherry who is his favorite model for figurative work. Also significant is the response, and relationship with the gallery, the community, and collectors.

Artist Statement

While art is often inspired by environment and relationship, it also may have the privilege of changing our environment, and our relationship with life and others. Art is capable of more than simply adding beauty to our life, but can change the way we think and feel, bringing an actual sense of refreshment, peace, joy or other expression within our soul.

I believe that the creation of art is a journey not a destination. When I transitioned to painting in oils, launching off from a level of confidence in watercolor, I began comfortably, with thinned washes and glazes. I surprised myself to find that the palette knife would became a favorite tool and means of expression. This was, I discovered, a way to capture some of the qualities of freshness that I loved about watercolor, the recklessness, the immediacy, the transitions of color, and the variety of edges. This all causes me to rely on intuition, more than calculated effect, and allows for the unpredictable. Control comes through preliminary drawing, value, color, especially color temperature, and edges. There is a process of making distinctions, editing toward simplification and essentials, then retaining or adding details of interest, choosing to suggest reality rather than represent it. It is my desire that my finished work has life and energy, light and atmosphere, spontaneity and control, all in harmony.

I believe that creativity is a calling, requiring vision, therefore providing evidence of our Creator, the source of the call and vision. Receiving inspiration and responding intuitively are functions of the spiritual nature, adding a dimension of beauty and mystery to our existence.