Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Feature: James Green

Hi Everyone,
"Chasing the Wind" by James Green 13 x 24
Today I want to introduce you to a fabulous artist that also resides in Alabama.  Even though we're from the same state we met via facebook.  James and I are both part facebook group Behind the Brush.  James' artwork caught my eye because he paints a lot of aviation art.  Since the Air Force is such a big part of my life I find these works fascinating.  

To see more of James work check out his blog and website 

How did you get your start? 

Basically, I simply stumbled into trying to “make a go” of being a freelance artist. In December of 2007 I had just graduated from Northeast Alabama Community College where I had received Associates Degrees in Art (Art Studio – BFA Prep), Business Administration, & History Education. During the first three months of 2008 I couldn’t find work: I was over qualified for any job I interviewed for in this area. Even my previous employer in Chattanooga – Vincent Printing Company -didn’t want to pay me what I was worth with the additional training & education, so in the Spring of 2008 I decided to pursue my dream & open my own art studio/business.
"Widge" by James Green 30 x 48
 What’s your artist journey so far? 

Well, after spending over twenty years - the prime of my life - in the Army as an airborne/air assault soldier, I guess one could say that I am a retired soldier who now tries to create quality art. My values, beliefs, work ethic & sense of professionalism that I subscribe to are those of a soldier (or any other career military person). I still operate as an artist with the same set of ethics that I acquired from my service in the Army. I would like to honor those who have or are currently serving through my art. That is why I am proud that I have been accepted into the Air Force Art Program as of last August. I still have yet to be requested to create something for the Air Force as of this writing, but with Obama’s agenda to cut the military, there have been fewer opportunities for artists to do work for the AFAP due to the budget cuts.

Creatively, these past two to three years have been a sort of “watershed” for me; I’ve had some great creative successes, and these have translated into limited commercial success, but I have learned that I don’t have to accept being “pigeon-holed” into only one genre of art versus another. I now consider myself a “generalist” when it comes to my direction in art; I was initially trained to be an illustrator, and because illustrators are required to render anything well, that is why I have gotten into doing a variety of different things, including portraiture, railroad & automotive art, wildlife & landscapes, instead of just military or aviation art.

Where were you born? 

Richmond, California. My Dad was sent out there as a contractor working on a project for the Navy’s oiler depot in the San Francisco Bay area. Mom was about 5 months pregnant with me at the time, so that’s how I came to be born there. When the contract work was finished, they returned with me back to Huntsville, Alabama. Being less than a year old at the time, I have no memory of California and don’t consider myself to be a Californian.

If you could live anywhere where would you live?  Huntsville, Alabama.
"Itinerant Fliers" by James Green 15 x 20
 What’s your favorite thing to paint and why? 

Usually, my favorite thing to paint is whatever is on my easel that I am working on at the moment. But I must confess that my affinity for military & aviation subject matter is always strong! J

Could you talk about your painting techniques? 

 My painting techniques are a result of being mentored by Northwest aviation artist Bob Hill. He was a master of using the airbrush & had a motto, “Whatever works!” If it was a technique that would help you do a better job of rendering with skill, while not compromising the quality of your work, then he was all for it. His open minded approach has led me to always try different mediums & techniques. That’s why I switch around a lot.
"Thoroughbreds" by James Green 14.75 x 23
 Where did your fascination with aviation art begin? 

I was a “latch-key” child from the age of seven. In the afternoons after school I would build model airplanes, and then draw pictures of them. The historical background of the aircraft printed on the model kit instructions usually led to a greater journey of discovery at the school & public library to do even more research. The more I learned, the more I wanted to learn!
"Gruesome Twosome" by James Green

How did you arrive at your current style? 

I pursue realism. I merely try to paint & draw what I see. I endeavor to truly see what it is that I am looking at when I am rendering it.

Do you have a favorite artist?  Who has been your biggest inspiration? 

Northwest aviation artist Bob Hill. Bob & I met in 1992 at the Yakima Air Fair when I was assigned to Yakima Training Center at Yakima, Washington. He & I became close & when I was preparing in 1998 for my upcoming retirement from the Army, Bob encouraged me to attend the Graphics Technology program at Perry Tech where he worked as an instructor.

What are some of your favorite things or things that are essential to your well being/success as an artist? 

Feeling validated by people who are fellow artists, or who are well informed & knowledgeable art patrons, that I am doing quality work. And if what I do sells, that helps a lot too!

Do you have go-to paints/colors, what are your favorites? 

In airbrush colors I typically use Medea COM-ART or Badger acrylics. Gouache - Windsor & Newton. Oils - Windsor & Newton and Grumbacher (which I typically mix with Windsor & Newton Liquin).  Colored pencils – Rexell-Derwent & Prismacolor.
"Kathryn" by James Green 20 x 28
 What are five things you would like to happen in your life in the next five years? (Dream big here:)

  1. To start making a steady income from my art.
  2. Win best of show in the ASAA International Aerospace Art Exhibition!
  3. Be in HUGE demand for sales of my originals through prestigious galleries & prints via the various print distributors such as Historic Sales, Brooks Art, & various others.
  4. Gain acceptance into the Portrait Society of America & break into the portrait & figurative art field.
  5. Always be known as an artist who not only does quality work, but is good to honor his word as an artist & businessman.

What is your advice for other artists who are just getting started in their career? 

Know that what may work for others, may not work for you. There is no “cut & dried” formula for being successful as an artist. How well you & your works are accepted will vary greatly on the audience you are trying to produce for, so get to know your audience.
"Friday Harbor Soliloquy" by James Green 18 x 30
 What is the best advice that you have received as an artist? 

Do what works; use sound, proven methods & techniques, but don’t become an “art snob” who thinks that there is ONLY one approach to rendering your works. Don’t compare yourself to others

Chocolate or vanilla? Chocolate!

Sunny beach or rustic mountain retreat? Mountain Retreat!

Book or movie? Hmmmmm……..a good book!

Favorite author? The late Stephen Ambrose (historian)

Favorite movie? The Aviator

Romance or comedy? Comedy

Favorite ice cream flavor? Strawberry

Night owl or morning person? Morning Person

Cake or Cupcakes? Cake

Have a great weekend everyone:))  See you Monday!



  1. Wow, these paintings are almost photographic! How incredibley talented!

  2. Good posting, Carrie. James sounds like a wonderful person. I will definitely check out his web site!

  3. Wonderful interview with James. I love the "Thoroughbreds" painting.

  4. Amazing art! My husband is an aircraft mechanic, former airforce and my son is active duty airforce so airplanes are a BIG part of my lfie. I can't wait to show my husband this site.

  5. I will have to visit his blog! James Green!!! You are very talented! and thank you Carrie for another VERY interesting interview!!

  6. James attention to detail and the realism of his work is amazing! Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. LOVE this series carrie! bravo! james green is just incredible. great interview! thank you!