My name is Jim Prothero and I create landscapes and portraits in watercolor, gouache and acrylics of the people and places of my native southwest and southern California. I am a native of Southern California, but I lived some years in Flagstaff, Arizona, where I fell in love with the Southwest. My training was in college and high school, though I was mainly taught by my father, who worked in and then ran the art department at Lockheed Aircraft for over thirty years. My Dad was friends with artists such as Ralph Heulett and George Flower.  I grew up in an artist’s home full of books and art, a fact that has formed me to be interested in the interplay of light with the human face and with the land.

I lived in Flagstaff, Arizona through the latter half of the seventies, adoring the surprising light and changing moods of the Northern Arizona landscape.  It began a love affair that has never lifted.  I return often to paint and to fish or hike.  It is the home of my heart.  Still, I’ve begun a series of paintings of the people of Santa Ana in Southern California, who reflect the southwestern place Southern California is at its core.

Watercolor especially for me is the ultimate impressionist medium.  Controlling it and letting it speak to you can be challenging, but the rewards are worth the mistakes.  I’m never happier than in a wood or desert in Arizona or New Mexico, and I try to convey that in many of my paintings, that and the heart of the people of that special land.  Gouache allows me to take images in new directions, to tweak the water medium without losing all the transparency.  Acrylics are my new territory-to-be-explored, though I’ve worked in oil.  Acrylics are my new frontier.  We’ll see how that develops.

The Artist's Story

Jim loves landscape and nature and being ever the Romantic, feels that nature communicates universally.  The cover painting above, in the collection of Mr Jon Marino, is from the Yosemite Valley.  The colors at their evening extreme gives the whole scene an other-word quality, suggesting that there is more in nature than we think we see.