Jim Walther has been painting the environment for 50 years and has drawn inspiration from the beauty and light of the landscape in New Mexico for more than 25 years. A trained landscape plein-air and studio artist, Walther works in both watercolor and oil.
Born in South Charleston, West Virginia, Walther studied under noted painter John Hudkins, earning a BFA from West Virginia University in visual arts, with a focus on representational landscape painting. From early experience in the art museum field to work in museum exhibition design and later museum administration, his museum career has spanned 44 years and included work at museums in West Virginia, Tennessee, Florida and New Mexico. Walther has served as Executive Director of The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History in Albuquerque since 1996. He continues to work as a painter and creates views of landscape full of light and color.
My early work held the complex shades of early academic painters such as John Singer Sargent and Andrew Wyeth. These subdued hues in greys, sepias, softer blues and greens are found in the flat light of eastern landscapes where brilliant colors are less prominent.
After moving to New Mexico in 1996, I had to adjust my palette to the hot, brighter, harsher light, bright whites, washed out reflective brilliance and deep shadows of the landscape in the desert southwest. Capturing this overstated color palette continues to inspire and intrigue me in my work as an artist. Now I look for the vivid hues of the desert, its stark beauty shown in deep shadow and almost blinding brilliant light. Capturing these hues without overriding the color saturation is a challenge that I embrace and enjoy.
I find great joy working “plein air” in watercolor and in studio executing in oil, sometimes using the watercolor as a study. Photography plays a large part in my studio effort as well as in creating my compositions on panel or canvas. You will note that my work often focuses on the serene beauty of the world, but I do occasionally include structures and elements of the “built” world.