Name: Jim Lovelace
Occupation: Transportation director for the Chatham School District and owner of Jim’s Art Gallery; work recently featured at Decatur Celebration
City of residence: Chatham
When did you first starting considering oil painting as a hobby?
I started back in January of 2013. The reason behind it was that I started contemplating retiring from doing my two other hobbies, refereeing football and basketball, someday and needed something to fill the void. Even though I was never really an art person, and I didn’t take art classes, and didn’t go to art shows, I thought “Maybe I could do this.”
I mentioned it to my kids, and they got such a kick out of it, they got me some canvases at Christmas time as a gag gift. I started messing around with them, one thing led to another, and here we are today.
Since you’ve been doing this for a couple of years, how do they feel about it now?
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They’re probably my biggest fans — my wife, daughter and two sons. It’s really nice to have your family support you, because without their support, I wouldn’t have made it this far.
Your art primarily focuses on landscapes, and creating intimate portraits of nature. What is it about the outdoors sparks your creativity?
I’ve spent all of my adult life hunting, and fishing, and camping. Ninety-five percent of the time, there’s something in my paintings that I’ve recalled from some place that I’ve been, or something that I’ve done before. Since I’ve spent a lot of my life outdoors, and enjoyed that immensely, I like to bring those things back to life in my paintings.
Do you prefer to work on your paintings outside or indoors?
I always paint in a safe spot, so primarily from my studio at home. I don’t go to some other place to paint a scene, and I almost never look at a picture and try to recreate something else. I’m trying to create something unique, and if someone decides to buy one of my paintings, it’ll be something that’s come from my imagination.
Do you have any words of wisdom for other people looking for a creative outlet?
Try it. Give it your best effort, and don’t give up on it if it’s something that you enjoy doing. You’ll never be at the top at first, but I always encourage people to follow their hearts and follow their dreams. You never know where that could take you.