Featured Artist: Jim Christiansen

In response to: because everyone wants to look at trash cans on their wall?


“Alley Way” by Jim Christiansen, 2013


“Corner Market” by Jim Christiansen, 2012

The series is on the neighborhood, and frankly, to paint the “pretty” misses much of the world, and this is actually pretty good looking for the typical alley in our area. That you noticed the piece, even if not for you, then its done more than many of the ones I might do for other reasons. 

If it starts a conversation it may be art. 

As someone trained as an editorial cartoonist, the depiction or reporting of the images around me, useful as a skill, its not just a choice in subject matter. How difficult is it to create a believable fence in a plein air painting? I’m critical as someone who has built them, among other structures of all sort. The alley ways is a world most like to ignore. I left out the alley cats, the rats, etc, and this one isn’t necessarily for the formal living room, but could go a long way as a poster, with other exaggerated elements. Its less stinky than a Jeff Koontz plasticized piece installation. 

Given the popularity of Les Miserables, and given where I’ve spent a lot of my volunteer time, I’ve long had drawings, paintings, on things like construction sites, alleys, alley people. I lived in a house where this is the front door view, so its practically in my living room. Inclusion of the green can be useful. Getting that pretty yard view, that often goes to grey green in the back ground, and just lower than where I wanted to be, adding in the utility cables from the pole, is something that I’d wonder how Bob Ross would characterize –  as the unhappy little bush? Or the happy one dabbed in around base of the telephone pole, which is on ours. 


The artist

Did I get the yellow right on the pole’s metal safety stripes? These pieces are as good as drawing in bars where I often catch my musician friends, or wait staff friends at work, commenting on their day, or mine. This one will fit in with the series, where you see the corner market done from memory, where I forgot the added steel eyebrow roof extension, and the third window. 

These paintings of my neighborhood, including one I have known as the road to mental health, all painted from remembering, no photo reference, of my house, the other elements, or within the view of my front porch. I particularly like the one I did of the park across the street, of Car Camping. The theme is ok, but the dumpster box, looks like the real thing, in the tough-to-do lighting of middle of the night. 

I like the challenge of these paintings which to me, is more interesting plein air paintings – same old rocks and trees – as they are like my life drawing, bar sketches, poster work, rather than the more expressionist abstract colorful watercolors and oils that some feel so easy to do.  

I think we need some critics, and audience to share thoughts with. 

I’ve had fun doing these, as many of my art friends hadn’t seen my old seascapes, or anything of mine but quick sketches of bands at work, in a more traditional painting style. Most common comment on art to the artist is usually no comment at all. In mine, at least I observe people looking a long time. Its really great to get a comment on a piece anytime, to see it was noticed, and maybe get a clue as to why.

Contact Jim at 

Email: jdc104@yahoo.com

Web: http://james-christiansen.artistwebsites.com


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