Influences/ James Ramsdell

What artist do you consider as having the greatest influence on your work? 

Before I get into comments on specific artists who have had a prolonged effect on me, I just wanted to say that I have always been inspired by the work that I see when I visit the West End Gallery. I always come away with my batteries charged! 

I’m reminded of the response by Edward Hopper when asked this question! He said,” Me!” I thought, boy, is he arrogant! But as I thought about it, that really needs to be our answer in a way. I think we, as artists, need to be independently doing our own thing. We need to look inside ourselves and paint from our own hearts. 

But, I also think that art is not done in a vacuum. There are two artists that I find myself refering back to often for advice from their paintings- An English “wildlife and train-scene” painter, David Shepherd  (shown above) and an American “calendar painter,” Paul Detlefsen (shown to the right). 

From David Shepherd, I get advice on scope, on composition, on colors, on paint texture and atmosphere. And from Paul Detlefsen, I get nostalgia, atmosphere, colors, and quietly stated detail. 

And actually from Edward Hopper, I think I try to emulate to some degree his lifestyle as an artist. He quietly went about his day working and thinking about his painting. He was able to build his life around one of creativity and was able to hold off many of the distractions of our modern world. 

Although there are tons of artists that I like and admire, both past and present, these three are ones that seem to have kept a profound presence with me over the years.

—James Ramsdell


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