Contemporary Artists

Much of the inspiration for my work comes from exploring the Somerset countryside, discovering secret places, chasing sunlight and its magical effects and wallowing in the enveloping gloom of twilight as it passes into night reducing the colours and spaces around us.

I try to reduce an image, often leaving it empty of detail but full of colour and mood, giving it a meditative quality to which the viewer can bring their own thoughts and emotions'.

Jim Whitty


Jim Whitty grew up travelling. His father’s work with the British Council meant Whitty spent his childhood in Belgium, Nigeria, Malawi and Greece. One point of constancy was the family’s cottage on the Isle of Skye, Scotland. He was always fascinated by nature as a child: both observing clouds and sunsets and exploring landscapes by being outside sailing, rock-climbing or surfing.

Whitty did an Art Foundation course at Brighton School of Art, then studied painting at Glasgow School of Art. He enjoyed being in Glasgow: responding to the contrast between the city and the wilderness in the surrounding countryside –especially the Isle of Skye.

Jim Whitty - catalogue cover

Jim Whitty exhibition's catalogue

Whitty’s painting technique begins with quick broad strokes to map out the composition and the ‘feel’ of a canvas. Then the process begins of adding more and more detail, and crucially knowing when to stop. He works in his studio on the edge of the Longleat Estate in Wiltshire, and his paintings can take anything from a few hours to a few months to complete. He has a photographic memory; so the scenes he paints are part imagined, part memory and even part dream. The canvas moves between the wall and the floor, paint is put on, taken off, thrown, splattered and glazed. He describes the sparkles on the canvas as ‘fairy dust’.

Jim Whitty - First catalogue cover

Jim Whitty - First exhibition's catalogue

The artist says that nature ‘never ceases to amaze me’. I find the woods are particularly good [for injecting a dreamlike quality to my paintings] because not only are they a constantly shifting space, but they are already loaded with their own deep-rooted mythology. They are a place of shelter, but danger, a place to escape modern life and get lost, enveloped in nature, and when the sunlight dances through the new green leaves … they are a place of magic.

Whitty’s themes are universal: the woods, stars, sea, and weather patterns such as a snowstorm. The artist creates an almost meditative quality in his work. He is striving for a pared back simplicity that the viewer can get lost in for a long time. There is an ambiguity to these scenes that change in different lights and absorb the viewer in to their world.

Born in 1970, Whitty is a promising young artist. He has exhibited widely around the UK and Europe, including a mural commission for HMS President, London, 2000, ‘Lambda, An Exhibition of Light’, Rhythm Factory, London E1, 2001, the Adam Gallery, Bath, 2009 and Farrington Contemporary Gibraltar solo show, 2009.

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