Jim Isham

I grew up in an environment of Art. My father was an artist, teacher and commercial graphic designer. My earliest recollection of his artwork was when he painted a family portrait of then Mayor James Rhodes of Columbus Ohio. Years later in California I would often accompany him to traveling art shows where I began to get to know many artists such as Paul Moon, George Lee and Cecil Lee and Harl Nobles.


I did not become interested in art myself until 1970 while in Chicago. Not knowing what I wanted to do with my life I thought I would try art. I returned to California to study with my father but due to his traveling so much I was forced to struggle on my own. Several years later I was invited to study with a local artist by the name of Ken Moore who was a friend of my father’s. That began my real love for art. In 1972 I went back to Chicago where I worked at an engraving shop and attended the American Academy of Fine Art and also the Chicago Art Institute but in 1974 I returned to study one on one with Ken for the next 12 years. During this time I was fortunate enough to have Artist Harl Nobles give me some instruction as well.I was displaying in the Pro Arts shows until they became craft shows and became good friends with Joyce Wade .Annualy I displayed my work in the Diablo Scholarship show that was created by Carl Jefferson of Concord Jazz Records. When the shows ended I joined the scholarship board and acted as president for two years trying to revive the art shows. When I saw it was not going to happen I joined the Walnut Creek Art Association. I received numerous awards given by member votes. But that too faded away. Holding down a full time management position, my painting time was quite limited but I was no less passionate about it.  I retired from my job in 2016 with the idea of making art my full time career.My love is for landscape especially western landscape. Whether it be the high country in the Sierras or the desert. I also have a love for seasons and country life as demonstrated in a lot of my paintings. Seascapes too are a fascination with me as in a seascape you can show motion. It makes the painting come alive. California is a very versatile land. There are cattle ranches on the coast as well as inland in the dry arid areas. Between the mountains and the surf is scenery of unmatched beauty . A quote given me by Rev Earl Palmer, former pastor of the Berkeley Presbyterian Church, was “What you enjoy doing best, Do most” and that is why I continue to have such a passion to paint. 

Jim Isham