There are probably hundreds of hobby artists in south Lincolnshire, but very few of them make it to professional status.
Jim Wright made that giant leap, earning a reputation as “one of the finest landscape artists of his generation” among the gallery owners who sold his work.
Since 1979, when he made the brave decision to give up full-time work at the Gleed Boys’ School as woodwork and technical drawing teacher, Jim (78) has created an enormous body of work. For many years, he was regularly selling 80 of his pictures at a gallery in Holt in Norfolk every year and a further 30 in Suffolk.
His paintings, in oils, have come in all sizes, from small pictures up to his largest canvas, which was 60 by 40 inches in size. At that time Jim had a Ford Anglia and had to strap the piece to a roof rack to drive around galleries looking for a buyer.
The other large painting, which he has only recently finished, was 30 by 46 inches and went to a keen collector of Jim’s work. When the buyer came to collect the piece, he bought two more, taking his collection of Jim Wright landscapes to 43.
Jim describes his style as becoming “a bit more Impressionistic” over the years.
He says: “The sort of pictures I like are not too tight. It’s the loose paintings I like and Edward Seago is one of the artists I try to emulate.”
His subject matter beautifully marries two passions: trout fishing and being in the great outdoors.
The fishing was introduced as something to do with his boys, Simon and Steve, but takes him into the kind of scenery that inspires his art.
Jim says: “Water in paintings adds another dimension really, like a few trees. They are not very much on their own, but if there’s a path and some puddles it all adds to the painting. Then, if you go a bit further, I like reflections in puddles, or reflections in a large expanse of water, and also windmills.”
These features are all marked on OS maps, and so from early on Jim has left his Moulton home to find the “blue bits” on the map.
He sketches outside or takes photographs, but doesn’t paint out of doors.
Jim says: “I just paint in my studio. By the time you have lugged canvases and an easel outside and your paints and then the flies have started to stick ... It might be all right for some people, but not for me.”
Over the course of the years Jim got to know the galleries selling his work quite well. The owner of one, based in Somerset, introduced the idea of a book of Jim’s work, something that came to fruition in 2006 with James Wright’s East Anglia, published by Halsgrove.
All Jim will say is: “I am happy with the way things have turned out and I have had a little success, so we can’t grumble.”