About the artist
James Coe is an artist with a passion for birds, nature, old barns, and relics of our rural heritage. With an interest in ornithology, he earned a degree in biology from Harvard. His training in art came later, as a graduate student at the Parson's School of Design in New York. There he studied in a traditional atelier setting, working primarily from the figure and still life, under the guidance of painters Paul Resika, Leland Bell, and John Heliker.
Jim began his art career in illustration and is best known as the author and illustrator of the acclaimed Golden Field Guide Eastern Birds. After spending fifteen years creating bird identification plates, Jim stepped back across the divide into the world of ‘fine’ art, to paint landscapes in plein air. He realized that many of the skills needed to capture the fleeting light of the landscape were similar to those he had developed for sketching birds. Both rely on careful observation, visual memory, speed, and instinct.
His oil paintings combine his love of the landscape with a finely detailed knowledge of natural history. In his works that incorporate birds, Jim’s goal is to introduce an element of movement, color, or interest to the scene. The species included is typically a bird he heard or saw when painting a plein air study on location.. He has found that many of the skills needed to capture the fleeting light and dynamic conditions of the landscape are analogous to those he had previously developed for sketching an active bird as it foraged or preened. Both rely on careful observation, practiced visual memory, speed, and instinct.
Represented today in the permanent collections of the New York State Museum, Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon, the Hiram Blauvelt and Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museums, and the Bell Museum of Natural History, Jim was the subject of a feature article in the September 2017 issue of Harvard Magazine. His work has been featured also in Wildlife Art, American Art Collector, and Plein Air magazine. His paintings have appeared on the covers of Sanctuary, Bird Watcher's Digest, Birding World, and The Auk, professional journal of the American Ornithologist’s Union.
Jim lives with his wife Karen in the Hudson Valley, not far from Albany, NY. He maintains a studio in their restored farmhouse, and enjoys the quiet and beauty of the surrounding woodlands and gardens.