Above: Luscombe Castle
A commission starts with discussions with the client and drawings for consideration before the final composition is agreed. Commissions are nearly always painted on panels. For large paintings linen is glued to the surface of the panel before the layers of gesso are applied. The drawing is transferred and the painting begins with a traditional tonal underpainting.
Paintings for exhibition are the result of paragliding adventures, cycle rides, walks and outings in the West Country. James makes preliminary sketches on the spot and works on the paintings in his studio. Edward Thomas’ poems inspired his last exhibition ‘ There never was a finer day’.
All his egg tempera paintings are made using pure ground pigments and egg yolks from his own hens. He makes the glue and gesso from the raw ingredients. The paintings are built up over time with many thin glazes of paint.
As well as working in egg tempera on gesso coated panels, James makes smaller, more impromptu paintings on sized paper.