About Jim Boughton Williams

 

Born in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, but raised in Pottstown, PA. Earned a BA in English from the University of Virginia in 1969, then went on to SUNY Binghamton and earned an MA in English from SUNY Binghamton in 1972.  At the very end of my first graduate school career, in order to relieve the stress of writing my thesis, I began painting a self-portrait.  I haven’t stopped painting since then. Attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in the 1970s and later earned an MFA from the University of Delaware.  I taught painting, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking (and sometimes art history) at LaSalle University from 1985 until 2013.

 

My work reflects hunches I’ve had for years concerning people and objects and their places in local nature.  It is a romantic and ecological way of looking at things, and it has been in the making for me over my whole life.  For most of my painting career I carried canvases, paint box and easel all over town and country to make the images I put on canvas.  The ‘au plein air’ approach suited my youthful stamina and provided me with a deep appreciation for my subject.  In the past 10 years I found that I am able to recreate the vibrancy of a scene by calling forth the first hand memories accumulated over the years of working on the spot.  That worked for a while; but I’ve been an amateur naturalist longer than I’ve been a painter, and I wanted to be out in the world.  So I’ve been out in the sun again for a few years.

 

No problem with the outdoors today.  At the end of May in Philadelphia, Pa., it is 95 degrees and what feels like 100 % humidity.  I have been painting outdoors, as I have on many, many similar days.

 

People could look at my work and almost reflexively call me a painter of light.  That might be accurate, but it’s such a cliché now that we need some fresh language.  I don’t call my painting anything if I can get away with it.  It is color, and some is opaque, some is transparent, some is warm, some is cool, and some defies language totally.  More than in the past, the world is beginning to seem pastel to me, maybe because of age, maybe because on a trip to Cuba in 2011 the pastel colors of the houses and cars had a stirring effect on me.  They seemed to strengthen and, at the same time, soften the substance of life. 

 

Humidity has had a strong effect on my perception lately, also.  So, outdoor experience is more diversely physical than in the past.  Maybe I would call myself a “painter of air.”  

69, then went on the SUNY Binghamton and earned an MA in English in 1972.  During most of this time I wasn’t painting, but at the very end of my first graduate school career, in order to relieve the stress of writing my thesis, I began painting a self-portrait.  I haven’t stopped painting since then. Attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in the 1970s and later earned an MFA from the University of Delaware.  I have been teaching painting, drawing, sculpture, and printmaking (and sometimes art history) at LaSalle University from 1985 until 2013.