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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > Summer 19 > James Bartholomew

James Bartholomew

James Bartholomew’s loose, colourful and dynamic paintings include coastlines, animals, cities and landscapes and are worked in a combination of watercolour and pastel, or acrylic, as Susie Hodge finds out
Friesian Calf on Yellow, watercolour and pastel on paper, 193⁄4x271⁄2in (50x70cm). ‘For this energetic and playful young calf I used a yellow background to keep the picture lively and fresh, and to provide a striking contrast to its black patches.’

James Bartholomew developed an interest in painting while illustrating his final project for Design Tech Alevel. Soon after leaving college he rented a studio in an old mill; the rent was £25 a week, which was £25 a week more than he would sometimes earn.

The thinking was that making such a commitment would motivate him to make it work – he has worked as a fulltime artist ever since.

‘It’s hard to get going as a professional artist or illustrator because potential buyers often need the reassurance of published work or other signs of success in order to believe in you,’ says James. ‘Classic Catch 22! Eventually, a break comes along and the ball starts to roll.’ James continues to work in a studio in the same 18th-century windmill. ‘I’ve been here nearly 21 years now and it’s slowly grown to quite a sizeable premises. I’ve always found it helpful to “go to work” rather than work from home. It makes me feel differently about what I do.’

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About The Artist

Welcome to the summer issue of The Artist packed with articles by top professional artists and tutors to inspire, inform and help develop your technical and creative skills in all media. This month James Bartholomew discusses how he seeks to create more dynamic paintings using mixed-media techniques. Watercolourists will enjoy Aine Divine's demonstration showing how to paint a side profile portrait and Trevor Waugh's focus on how to capture flowers quickly using lost-and-found edge techniques. John Threlfall explains why pastels are ideal for capturing wildlife subjects and working in the field. There are also demonstrations and practical articles on how to add interest to your landscape foregrounds, capture a seasonal field of rapeseed, paint realistic-looking strawberries in acrylics and how to select the right colours and paint big summer skies. Plus we include articles on painting self-portraits, keeping a sketchbook , working on handmade linen boards, how to protect your work online, what you can and can't do about copyright issues, and more.