Gallery Artists > James Kramer Biography :

James Kramer (b. 1927)  Artworks >>

Organizations* : AOA, NAWA

A traditional watercolorist of landscape and architectural subjects, James Kramer was born in Columbus, Ohio. Of his work, he says, “If in my painting, I can make other people feel it has just rained, or the sun is warm, if they can smell the air, then I know I’ve been able to complete what I set out to do.”

Kramer became interested in art at the age of five. He studied painting with Carl Gaertner and Frank Wilcox at the Cleveland, Ohio School of Art. However, his father preferred that he have a career in architecture rather than art, and so Kramer attended Western Reserve University and Ohio State University. He was a practicing architect in California for twenty years, painting on weekends and at night. In 1970, Kramer turned his full attention to his painting. “I am intrigued by history, tradition and the past. I don’t paint the past, however, but hope to preserve it by painting what I see around me.”

“All of my larger watercolors,” he explains, “are painted in the studio from sketches made in the field. I use color slides for further reference. In the studio, I begin with thumbnail sketches, then make an accurate line drawing for projection onto a preliminary study. Once ready, I project my study onto a full sheet of watercolor paper, wash the paper, and begin painting. I do what I want to do. The medium can produce things you don’t expect, but I want control.”

Kramer is listed in Who’s Who in American Art and has been featured in magazines such as American Artist and Southwest Art. He is a member of the National Academy of Western Art, and exhibits in shows such as the Prix de West invitational. In 1991, Kramer received the Frederic Remington Award for Artistic Merit at the Prix de West.

Now living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Kramer continues to paint. He calls Santa Fe “a community of representational painters. I felt at home from the beginning.”

Reference: Contemporary Western Artists by Peggy and Harold Samuels, Prix de West publication

  • AOA = Artists of America
  • NAWA = National Academy of Western Artists
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