James Chisholm makes his en plein air paintings on a daily basis. While pursuing his work in representing outdoor, naturalistic settings, he also has a compensatory, crafts-like practice that involves making hand-held objects carved out of wood.
While taking as his overt theme the perceptual experiences that nature provides, he recreates these themes to reflect how they’re filtered through the media of oil- or watercolor-on-canvas. Often allowing his painted scenes to approach the edges of a canvas, without covering them completely, Chisholm carefully reproduces not only nature, but the experience of recreating nature through the medium of painting.
Working in this way, Chisholm has developed a layering technique that creates a luminous substrate while also adding a greater depth of field. As he understands it, this approach allows him to enter into what he terms a “dialogue” with the natural world. As he adds layers of overpainting to a composition, he realizes the mingling of the tactile with the world of direct perception which is the hallmark of his work, all the while utilizing a technical approach that follows a traditional underpainting foundation.