James Boissett - Watercolour & Life Drawing
Artworks available to view in Sydney
James Boissett was born and raised in both suburban and harbour side Sydney, Australia. He enjoyed the rich tapestry of that busy hub of commerce with its commanding views of mountains and ocean. He has worked for many years in that central city environment, watching the ever-changing development, the crowding of buildings outwards and upwards, that have variously impeded and yet expanded views of the harbour and its natural surrounds. He lived around the Cremorne Point and Neutral Bay areas beside Sydney Harbour and then moved to Gosford in New South Wales. By contrast he also enjoyed many holidays in country New South Wales with his mother’s relatives, exploring the rugged bush lands with their deeply contrasting colours and shapes.
Having a passion for drawing and painting (mainly Watercolour) since a child, he entered his first Art Competition with a Watercolour of an Australian Landscape at the age of 14. James began his pursuit of serious artwork by completing a course in graphic design in 1980 when he developed his real passion for watercolour as a medium. His early works included character design and cartooning for children’s books that emerged into a focused development of his skills as a representational watercolour painter of Australian city and landscapes, Nocturnes and Sydney Harbour Foreshores. His paintings abound with the clarity, the contrasts and strength of colour that is typical of his representation of the rich tapestry of the uniquely Australian visual experience, and his 40 years of painting, mostly in Watercolour.
Emphasizing clarity, strength and subtlety, he uses light, tone and distance to achieve this. In particular, his Sydney scenes capture what he calls the “Sydney Light” – clear, warm and brilliant!
Drawing on the variety of contemporary life, James likes the transparency and luminosity of Watercolour and the interplay of paint and paper. For this reason he very rarely uses opaque mediums such as gouache whilst never adding mediums such as acrylic, as these hinder the effectiveness of pure watercolour. Other water based mediums are less transparent than Watercolour for a number of technical reasons and do not display the same luminosity. His Watercolour Paintings are not mixed media interpretations and attempt to use the medium of Watercolour to its fullest potential.
He has been Feature Artist in various prestigious Australian art shows as well as regularly exhibiting in major competitions and Gallery Exhibitions in Australia, France and the USA, winning numerous awards. The achievements may be seen not only in his outstanding results in prestigious Open and Watercolour competitions across Australia, but also in that his paintings being found in private and corporate collections across Australia, the UK, USA, France and Taiwan.
In 2009 he painted for a month in France, on the South West coast off the Bay of Biscay, using the ancient port city of La Rochelle and island of ile de Re’ as bases for daily painting adventures. On that visit he opened his 2ND Exhibition in La Roche-Sur-Yon. Further exhibitions were held in France and the USA in 2010 / 2011 with another planned at the end of 2011 in France.
In 2011 James painted in Italy. He produced paintings and, studies of areas such as Venice, Chioggia, Villages in the North West, and the Cinque Terra Coast and villages.
Graphic Design School Randwick. 1977 - 1980
Illustration at Graphic Design School Randwick 1981 and 1982
Attended Mitchell School Bathurst and National Art School Sydney – including numerous residential painting courses, mainly in NSW
Professional Art Practice
From 1979 to 1992 a Freelance Artist / illustrator for Art Studios, Magazine & Book publishers. Full time Professional Painter and Studio/ Plein Air Artist, Commissions, Plein air painting expeditions in Australia, France and Italy. Some Private Tuition.
2000 - First Prize at the Camden Art Prize for “Whispering Moments” in the Watercolour section
2001 - Highly Commended at the 41st Ryde Art Award for “The Painter” in the Watercolour section
2002 - Third Prize at the Sydney Royal Arts & Crafts Show for “Ethereal Light” in the
Marine / Seascape Section
- Highly Commended at the 38th Drummoyne Municipal Art Society Annual Art Award for “Restoration The John Oxley” in the Watercolour section.
- Very Highly Commended at the 38th Drummoyne Municipal Art Society Annual Art Award for “Sydney Sketch-break” in the Drawing ( Pen & Wash ) section
- Commended at the 40th Festival of Fishers Ghost Art Award for “The Sea Awaits – The John Oxley” in the Traditional section
2003 - Highly Commended at the Sydney Royal Arts & Crafts Show for “Looking On The Outside” in the Watercolour Painting section
- Highly Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “Sydney Westside” in the Traditional section
- Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “Rural Tones” in the Open section
- Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “Morning at Clontarf “in the Watercolour section
- Commended at the 39th Drummoyne Municipal Art Society Annual Art Award for “Elegant Form” in the Traditional section
- Very Highly Commended at the Singleton Art Prize 2003 for “Bridge Street Shuffle” in the Traditional Section
- First Prize at the 2003 Wattle Time Art Exhibition Cootamundra for “Fractured Earth“ Bathurst, in the Open section
- First Prize at the 36TH Annual Raymond Terrace Art Show for “Soft Light” in the Open Acquisitive Section
- Highly Commended (2nd prize) in the Wagga Wagga Quota Rotary Art Competition and Exhibition for “High and Dry” in the Open section.
2004 - First Prize at the Australasian Turf Monthly Equine Art Award for “On The Mark” in the Watercolour section.
- Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “Bridge Street Shuffle” in the Traditional Section.
- Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “Maleney” in the Watercolour Section.
- Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “High and Dry” in the Open Section.
- First Prize at the 40TH Drummoyne Municipal Art Society Annual Art Award for “Landscape Unfolding” in the Watercolour Section.
- Commended at the 44th Ryde Art Exhibition in the Watercolour Section
- First Prize the Blackheath Rhododendron Festival Art Awards in the Watercolour Section
- Highly Commended at the Parramatta Art Society Art Awards in Watercolour Section
2005 - Commended at the Central Coast Festival of Arts – Wyong in the Watercolour Section
- Very Highly Commended at the 41st Drummoyne Municipal Art Society Annual Art Award for “Ambience and Luminescence” in the Watercolour Section
- People’s Choice Award at the Hunter’s Hill Art Prize for “Morning Light Over Lower Fort Street”
- First Prize at the Australasian Turf Monthly Equine Art Prize for “Duel” in the Watercolour Section.
2006 - First Prize for at the Tumut Art Exhibition for Highlights Over Gloucester in the Watercolour Section
- Highly Commended at the 31st Annual Easter Art Exhibition - Port Macquarie in the Open Section
- Highly Commended at the 31st Annual Easter Art Exhibition – Port Macquarie in the Watercolour Section
- Highly Commended at the Winmalee Autumn Artfest Exhibition
- Highly Commended in the Watercolour Section at the Singleton Art Prize
Selected Competition Exhibitions & Art Shows
Multiple entries in successive years in such shows as – The Herald Sun Camberwell Rotary Art Shows VIC, Sydney Royal Agricultural Shows, Heysen Art Prize SA, Victor Harbour Art Shows SA, Camden Art Prize, Fisher’s Ghost Art Prize, Singleton Art Prize, Drummoyne Art Prize, North Sydney Art Prize, Gosford Art Prize, Tumut Art Prize, Wagga Wagga Art Prize, Ryde Art Show, Hunters Hill Art Prize, Kings School Art Shows, Hills Grammar Art Show, Southern Highlands Equine Art Prize, Scone Art Prize, and many others over the last 20 years
Selected Featured Artist Exhibition
2004 Featured Artist Exhibition, St Edwards Art Show, Caroline Bay, Gosford
Selected Commercial Gallery Exhibitions
2005 Aug, “Art Sydney 05” The Saints Gallery, Sans Souci, Sydney
2005 Oct, “Classical Discipline” with Lynne Naismith, Boyd Gallery, Narellan, Sydney
2005 Nov, “Tranquil Moments” with Jean Sindelar, The Saints Gallery, Sans Souci, Sydney
2005 Dec, Australian Watercolour Institute Exhibition, Gosford Regional Gallery, Gosford
2006 Mar, Group Show, Dural Galleries, Dural, Sydney
2006 Apr, Group Show featuring Sydney Harbour, McGrath’s Art Gallery, North Sydney
2007 Feb, “Impressions of Australia”, with Judy Hawking-Burnette, and Bronwyn Bancroft, The Seen Gallery, Decatur, Georgia USA
2007 May, “Exhibition of Recent Works” with Steve Graham, Moulton Gallery, Mosman, Sydney
2007 Aug, “Earth & Water” with Doug Sealey, McGrath’s Gallery, North Sydney
2007 Aug, “Specialist Equine Art Exhibition” Boyd Fine Art Gallery, Narellan, Sydney
2008 Apr Group Show, McGrath’s Gallery North Sydney
2008 Jul, “The Lucky Country” with Robyn Gosbell, Moulton Gallery, Mosman, Sydney
2008 Sep, Art2muse at The Tom Dunne Gallery, Darlinghurst, Sydney
2008 Nov, Exhibition, James Boissett (Solo) Promenarts Gallery La Roche Sur Yon, France
2009 Mar, “Nocturnes” Exhibition (Solo), Promenarts Gallery, Balmain, Sydney
2009 Apr, “An Exhibition of Watercolours” (Solo), Promenarts Gallery La Roche-Sur-Yon, France
2009 Nov, Exhibition of recent works with Graham Cox, McGrath’s Gallery, North Sydney
2010 Exhibitions in France including on the island of ile de Re’ & La Rochelle with Promenarts Gallery France
2010 Jun, “Modern Australian Landscapes” with Judy Hawking-Burnette, The Seen Gallery, Decatur, Georgia, USA
2011 Apr, “Sydney Sur Yon”, Group show, Promenarts Gallery, France
2011 May, “Christchurch Earthquake Appeal”, Art2muse Gallery, Double Bay, Sydney
2011 Sep, “Arts ile de Re’ – “Contemporary Art Show of ile de Re’ “Promenarts Gallery, France
2011 Dec, Christmas Group Show, Art2muse Gallery, Double Bay, Sydney
2012 Feb, Art2Muse Gallery, Double Bay, Sydney
2005 “Contemporary Australian Art Portfolio” – A publication for an Austrade Export Project marketing Australian Artists entering the American market, promoted by the Australian Trade Commission.
2011 “200 Tips and Trade Secrets for Watercolour Painting”, by Robin Berry.
By - Quarto Publishing, London
My work has long been inspired by old masters of the chiaroscuro tradition. Just take a look at the rich, high relief of the brush sculpted oil painting creations of Caravaggio’s (Italy) Supper at Emmaus(1600-01), Rembrandt van Rijn’s (Dutch ) The Night Watch (1642) or even Ugo Da Carpi’s (Italy) Chasing Avarice from the Temple of the Muses (c. 1518). You will immediately see the breathtaking challenge of their bold contrast of light and shade to draw out volume and depth of their subjects.
The difference that I have attempted to make is adapting the transparency of strong watercolours, rather than the opacity of oils, to the more modern, pragmatic settings of metropolitan and country Australia. My work represents the rich tapestry that I found in the explosion of life from childhood and adulthood scenes of city buildings to Sydney’s magnificent harbour with its tugboats, lazy fishing dinghies left reclining on the sandy foreshores through to the majestic dynamics of sterling thoroughbreds racing at Randwick Racecourse. I particularly enjoy the challenge of applying the chiaroscuro technique to my nocturnes, using the striking contrasts of street lights and floodlights against backgrounds of night skies and Victorian and modern architecture to stir the viewers’ sense of being drawn into a fresh, three dimensional living experience of art.
From this busyness and drive of urban life I work to draw an appreciative response to the peace and rest of country serenity. Here we find the winding rivers and streams, cloud draped mountains, brown rugged hills and dusty roads, the blue skies with scudding clouds and the luxuriant green of pastures. It is hoped that my appreciation and rendition in the bold, sculpted presentation of light and shade draws the viewer in to share the artist’s unambiguously holistic appreciation of all things Australian.
In 2009, my painting trip to France opened up a new world of inspiration and light to explore. Painting in Italy in 2011 extended my appreciation of European scenes, colour and village life in Europe. Numerous examples of the influence of people on the landscape did draw me back to those ancient and historic settings for further study in 2011 when I painted in Italy and colourful areas such as Venice, Chioggia, Villages in the North West, and the Cinque Terra Coast.
My hope is the same as of any artist - to view their first and last works, and gain some satisfaction from an indication that they have at least begun to master
their chosen medium.
- James Boissett