Jim Holland was born in 1955 in Schenectady NY and from an early age showed an interest in art. As a boy he could spend hours flipping through his parents art history books and more drawing. In high school he took up photography which he credits with sharpening his observation and composition skills.
After working for some years working in record stores, he attended Dutchess Community College where he received a degree in graphic design. “I went for a practical degree because I just assumed it was nearly impossible to make a living making art” he recalls. While in college he began painting with acrylics and received some valuable instruction in watercolors.
Around this same time Jim made a couple of road trips with college friends to Cape Cod. As he began painting scenes he had encountered there, other subjects and techniques that he had been working with began to give way. He started refining the elements that would become his style, marked by stripped-down realistic depiction and a sense of solitude often found in the work of Edward Hopper—an artist for whom Jim has had lifelong admiration.
In 1980 Jim began his career in graphic design and advertising where he remained for 15 years while always using his spare time developing his artwork.
In the late 80s Jim abandoned acrylics for oils and felt a natural affinity for the texture and richness of the paint and the blending options slower drying times allowed. He works from photographs and is dedicated to the core of realism they afford him. There will often be some quick underpainting, but then he says “I’ll spend hours mixing paints on my palette and establishing an overall color and tonal scheme. Sometimes I feel I am more aptly called a colorist rather than a painter.“
The enduring themes in Holland’s paintings are the light and space near the ocean. “It’s an expansive and peaceful place to me. The colors can be brilliant or nearly monochromatic. A beached catboat or light slanting on clapboards and through windows, these are simple forms I find endlessly fascinating in how different light affects the mood.”
Jim moved his studio to Orleans MA in 2006. His work has been exhibited throughout the Northeast in various one-person and group shows, and is included in numerous private and institutional collections in the United States and Europe. He lives in Brewster MA with filmmaker Allison Argo.