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The Immediate Artist

Jim Chapman offers workshop in Statesboro

    Cicero once said “Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature.” This couldn’t be truer for artist Jim Chapman. An artist, writer and teacher, Chapman brings his love of nature and creativity to Statesboro for a one-day workshop on watercolors.
     Chapman combines his enthusiasm for being outdoors with his love of painting, as he said, “often very fast painting due to mosquito swarms, rain , lighting, rough-looking dogs and chatty bystanders.” The artist has been drawing in some form or another “from as early as I could do anything,” admitting that he was the kid in the back of classroom drawing sea monsters, teachers without their clothes, or a combination of the two.
    He only began writing in his late 30’s and has, until recently, been a columnist for several years in various newspapers across Georgia. Chapman also released a collection of his humorous “Back Porch” columns in a book titled “The Call of the Wild Wasn’t Long Distance.” Chapman feels that painting and writing are very similar as they “come from the same well.”
    “The first verb in the Bible tells us that God “created,” and then it goes on to say we are made in God’s image. Creating, then, whether by word, picture or song, is arguably the most natural state of man,” said Chapman.
    The artist has had no shortage of material to muse either. A former Peace Corps volunteer, Chapman has experienced life on almost every continent, traveling to West Africa, Mexico, Europe and even an extended stay on a remote oil rig in Texas. What better way to pass the time on an oil rig than to paint?
    Chapman has many credits to his name in the world of art. Once a contributing editor to The Artist’s Magazine and a writer for Sketchbook Magazine, Chapman is currently the Multimedia Project Director at Morton Vardeman & Carlson in Gainesville, Ga., where he creates Web sites, exhibition spaces and print/broadcast projects. He has been the staff artist at The Tennessean in Nashville, TN., the Presentation Editor at The Times in Gainesville, and worked with the Sudekum Planetarium at the Cumberland Science Museum (currently the Adventure Science Center) in Nashville as the Planetarium Artist to write, illustrate and produce educational shows that have been sold to more than 100 museums and universities world-wide. Early in his career, Chapman designed and painted billboards at Georgia Outdoor Advertising in Athens.
    He has exhibited with the National Watercolor Society, has received over 50 professional awards and his creative efforts have even been written about by the Poynter Institute.
    Chapman prefers to paint outdoors or in live settings. The artist says “nothing beats the ‘being there’ feeling you get from an on-the-spot sketch that really works.” He says the sense of immediacy is the pulse of his creative drive, whether he’s writing or painting.
    “Painting from a live situation rather than a photo,” said Chapman, “is direct and you're using five senses to collect data, rather than just seeing. If you're doing it live, there's no sense of separation. You're in it; you're part of the experience. When you look at a painting later, it will take you right back to that exact second, too.”
    Chapman wants the workshop to be friendly and accessible for beginners or pros to hone their watercolor sketching skills, and of course, to have fun. He advises a beginner apprehensive about watercolors to remember that it’s just a sheet of paper.
    “So what if it comes out bad? Do another. I wreck paper all the time, but the more I paint, the better it gets. The idea is to find a sense of play, rather than work. Do it with abandon, jump off the cliff and see what happens. If you can get past the idea of expecting to make a good painting, then, ironically, you may just do one,” said Chapman.
    The artist has recently gotten his new Web site off the ground – www.watercolorsketch.com. The site includes examples of Chapman’s work, tutorials, art columns and his latest demonstration video. His workshop will help students “see their surroundings with a fresh eye and mind.”
    “When you're creating, you're dipping your finger in the ocean of the 'great mystery,'” said Chapman.
    The watercolor workshop will be held Saturday, October 28 from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and will be taught both indoors and outdoors. The artist will offer personal consultations if students bring examples of their work. He encourages artists of all skill levels to attend, but seating is limited. The workshop is being offered through the Averitt Center for the Arts. To register, or for more information, call 912-212-ARTS.

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