A commission of a wiry mixed breed he painted early on became the basis for art demonstrations at the San Diego County Fair. “I had fun with that dog,” he says. “I changed its color from yellow and gold, to brown, to white. I added sunglasses, a baseball cap.” He confesses he painted the dog so frequently during the demonstrations he could complete a painting in thirty minutes. “Little kids watching me work were fascinated. I loved giving the paintings away to the ones hanging around to see the painting finished.”
His dog paintings have won a lot of awards. “Tango and Ginger”, a painting of Bates’ own Labs earned his first ribbon at the San Diego County Fair in 2004. “Black Lab in Water”, won in 2009, followed by “Yellow Lab” in 2011.
“My style is representational, and dogs are not the only subjects I paint,” he says. Bates uses only three primary colors applied in translucent layers of watercolor glazes to get the bold colors in his work. “For me, the planned and frequently accidental experience of mixing water with pigment is spiritual.”
Bates’ portrait commission offer is simple. “If the owner doesn’t like the work, there’s no charge and I keep the painting.” He works from the owner’s photos and photos he takes of the dog. “I like to meet the dog to see its expressions and body language.” Portrait sizes range from 12” x 12” to 20” x 25”.
Jim Bates studied art and graphic design at the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. His paintings are exhibited in galleries and shows throughout the West, and are in private collections in Europe and the United States. Bates lives in Fallbrook, California with his wife, and Lab mix Mika.
Jim's next show is: April 28-29, Mission Federal ArtWalk, Booth 582 on Date Street, Little Italy, San Diego. See his portfolio at http://jimbateswatercolor.com