James McGrew

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James McGrew

United States

James McGrew recalls childhood family trips to National Parks which inspired an early interest in nature and art.  He began using his father's oils at age ten.  A background in natural sciences (undergrad degrees in biology, chemistry, geology and grad work in Environmental Ed.) help James understand his subjects and carry on the tradition of 19th century romantic artists whose work helped establish our early National Parks.  James is passionate about continuing that legacy with his own work in effort to preserve for future generations including his daughters.  He has also lent his art background to his work as a summer seasonal Yosemite ranger/naturalist for the past 25 summers.  

James prefers to paint direct from life and often hikes, snowshoes and backpacks several hundred miles a year for deeper connections, unique perspectives and wildlife encounters.  He strives to create paintings which visually portray a scene, while also interpreting the emotions of an experience.  McGrew’s paintings hang in collections around the world and have shown in many solo shows, national and international exhibitions and plein air invitationals, garnering awards including best of show in Grand Canyon and Maui Invitationals, people’s/collector’s choice awards in Carmel, Maui, Sedona, Zion 4x and Grand Canyon 5x.  His work has been featured in articles of Fine Art Connoisseur, Plein Air Magazine, Southwest Art, Outdoor Painter, Western Art Collector as well as authoring a chapter on Yosemite’s art history for the book, The Nature of Yosemite by Robb Hirsch.  James is featured in two films including Yosemite Lightdances about Yosemite and Where Forever is Now the new Zion visitor center and festival film. He presented at numerous art and science conferences including Plein Air Convention in Tucson.  He is an Artist Member of the California Art Club and a signature member of both LPAPA and the American Impressionist Society. 


“I strive to interpret nature with my brush, not just representing a visual scene, but more importantly, conveying the emotions I felt as influenced by the experience including weather, light, movement and energy. I want the viewer to feel those elements and emotions. I hope my works inspire others to love and protect our natural world and cherish our valuable human interrelationships with each other and the natural environment.” 

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 16th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.