Thursday, October 13, 2016

2016 National Parks Salute Juror: Jim McVicker

As plein air painters many of us feel a special connection to nature. That's why this year we're joining the National Park Service in celebrating their centennial anniversary with our exhibition, A National Park Salute. Many of our groups favorite painting spots fall within NPS boundaries, and over the year I've seen some amazing paintings come from our members who were inspired by these special areas.

When it comes to judging a show composed of beautiful paintings from some of America's most beautiful areas, a discerning eye is key. That's why we are excited to have Jim McVicker as our juror of awards. He judges many shows every year, when he's not participating in (and often winning) them! You may recognize his work from the self portrait that was featured on Plein Air Magazine's cover in 2015.

McVicker has also been awarded a Gold Medal for Best Painting in the California Art Club's 104th Gold Medal Exhibition, and won Best of Show in the 2014 Laguna Beach Plein Air Invitational.

In 2008 a documentary was made about him and his work, it is certainly worth a watch!

Here's what McVicker says about himself, his story, and his process:

"I made my first on location, plein air, painting in 1973. My influences then were the French Impressionist, mostly Monet, Pissarro and Sisley. At the time I was working full time and attending art classes at Chaffey Community College in Southern California. I was born and raised in Ontario California, about 35 miles east of Los Angeles. By the summer of 1975 I decided to become a full time painter. I quit my job, left school and moved to Santa Cruz in Northern Ca. I always loved the northern part of the state and wanted to get away from everything I knew up to that point and start a fresh life as a painter. I think I had about $5,000 dollars in my bank account. In my mind, enough money to make a start at really exploring and trying to learn how to paint. My work at the time was very rough but I had no doubt that I would grow and survive."

"After a couple of years I move further north to Humboldt County and have remained here, with a couple of adventures elsewhere, since 1977. Humboldt is where my education as a painter really started. There were several painters in the area whom I met through a life drawing group. Three of them, Curtis Otto, James Moore and George Van Hook became close friends as well as the three painters I learned so much from for the next few years. We painted daily together and George and I shared a studio for a couple of years. Working so closely with artists beyond ones own level was such a great way to learn to see."

"In 1984 I met my wife, Terry. She was working as a graphic at the time we met but by the time we were married in 1988 she began painting as a fine artist full time. Terry has been another major infulence in my development as an artist. To have a partner and companion on a daily bases that sees in ways I don't, and paints her view of life, opened my work and continues to do so. We also both believe in painting from life, outdoors and in the studio. We both paint a lot of still life and figure painting when not working outdoors."

"I paint small and large on location. I've painted as large as 54x84 outdoors, but normally work 9x12 to 30x40. I may work one to fifteen or twenty sittings outdoors. I have no set rules but work until I feel I've completed the painting. Sometimes years later I will re-work a painting in the studio when I feel it is not quite working. It is funny how time can often change how we perceive our work. I always look at as much art as I can, historical and contemporary. I learn from all of it. I will always keep painting and trying to grow as a painter. I think that will never end."