Artist Gallery
Jim Bagley

I first painted as a teen in Bend, Oregon, then studied art for a year at Portland State University, and then 4 years at Chouinard Art School in L.A. I started a graphic design career in the 70’s in Portland, Oregon and continued to paint “on the side.” I painted mostly Central Oregon scenes from memory or photos. I painted just for me. Just to “be there” again.

In 1985 my wife Joanne and I took a hard look at what it was that was missing in our lives in Portland and it kept coming up sunny days and dry country – so we packed up and moved to New Mexico. I could have been very contented with Central Oregon and near friends, but my wife, being from New Mexico and with a solid family base still there, made a very strong case for the southwest.

It was the right move. I took three years off from design and built a home in Albuquerque and settled in; creating an advertising agency there with a partner, and painting and showing as well. I painted about 35 paintings a year – showing, selling and slowing down on design until last fall when I built a painting studio, which shares an acre with our home near downtown Albuquerque where I now paint full-time.

About my art:

A few years back I asked my son, who teaches high school art, what he thought the problem was with this certain painting I was struggling with and he simply asked me “what is your intention?” That has been my “checkpoint” ever since. If one intention is to make a good painting, one probably won’t. You have to have a passion for the subject, or the process or something other than the product itself. And when you see a successful work of art, you won’t see the “intention.” For me that is what makes the difference between a great piece of art and an okay piece, or, fine art and craft. Technique, materials, composition, color, subject matter are all essential elements but successful fine art is all about intention.

I spend a significant amount of time each year driving dirt roads, camping, hunting or just walking and photographing New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming…the west, mostly public lands and often remote places. My paintings are records of sort of these places I have been. And I get to go “back there,” in my mind, when I paint these places, later.

So the motivation and intention part of art is pretty simple for me. The challenge is to get it right. To discover and capture the essence of any given scene or moment and get it down on canvas, correctly. It of course never quite happens that way. It’s never exactly right. That’s what gets me to the next piece.

Oil paint is my preferred medium. Something about its history, its physical properties and its depth. I also respect its challenges. You can read and know all about oils, and think you’ve got it figured out, when the humidity changes mid-painting and the paint stops doing what it did the day before causing much frustration and adjustment to technique and mediums. Each painting is different.