Auckland artist James Watkins says his mum often jokes he was born with a pencil in his hand but he admits she wasn’t too far from the truth.
“For as long as I can remember I have drawn and painted, inspired by life,” says the creative, who incorporates signature architectural elements into many of his works including red and blue roofs. He studied under Jean Loomis before attending Elam School of Fine Arts and cites Colin McCahon, Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth as influences. In 2019 he created a new series of works exploring the realm of cubism, which you can see reflected in his pieces.
A favourite work is his tribute to McCahon featuring Wairere Falls in Matamata: “This was wonderful as coming from the Waikato I relate to this landscape,” he says. James believes in using materials of the highest quality. “I paint on Belgian linen canvases stretched by Dean Tercel at Studio Art Supplies using oils by Winsor & Newton and preferably Da Vinci sable brushes.”
He is currently working on several commissions, one of which sees the introduction of cadmium yellow and another the use of gold leaf in a contemporary way. “I am also busy creating new works for International Art Centre’s annual Summer Salon which will be on view from November.
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