Spring: Jim McVicker

Here are three spring landscapes by California painter Jim McVicker, along with some of his thoughts about each one:

Spring Showers oil on linen 30" x 40" 2010
Spring Showers was painted from the deck of my studio. Each spring for years I had been struck by the flowering apple trees in our yard. In the spring of 07 I walked outside my studio to see this stunning rainbow forming a complete arc across the sky. I took a photo that afternoon and in the spring of 2010 spent several sittings over a three week period working from the deck painting the scene before me. I used the photo as a reference when suggesting the rainbow.

Upper Falls,Yosemite Spring oil on linen 32" x 30" 2008
My wife Terry and I have spent several springs over the years camping and painting in Yosemite, Ca. Springtime the waterfalls are flowing and powerful, trees are budding fresh greens and golden tones, the river is full and the weather can be sunny and in the 70's or cold with 6 inches of fresh snow. We always stay at least two weeks, spending the daylight hours painting. We love the simplicity of camping at a beautiful location with nothing to do but paint and food preparation. The focus and lack of distraction makes one aware of what is really important.
Upper Falls, Yosemite Spring was painted entirely on location over a two week camping trip in April 08 when we had many sunny days. A fellow painter was working across the river and someone walked up to the river. They were additions to the painting as they happened. We have camped with as many as 8 to 10 other artists, everyone off painting each day throughout the valley and then spending the evening together at dinner.

Loleta Valley, Spring Morning oil on linen 20" x 24" 2011
Loleta Valley, Spring was painted just up the road from our home. It's a view I love and have painted many times at different seasons over the past 23 years. All my landscapes are painted on location.
Jim McVicker discusses his approach to plein air painting on a recent blog post. Here is just a snippet, but you can read more here.
I love the energy of trying to complete a good work in one go, but I also love taking the painting back into the field day after day, sometimes waiting for the season to return the following year. Even though each day with the same light at the same time is never going to be the same, I like the changes and the risk involved with working a painting over several sittings. It becomes a series of moments rather than the one shot you have on any given day.
Self Portrait 2012

The month of March will be dedicated to the theme of spring. Have some favorite paintings of the season of spring by other artists you'd like to share? Pleaseemail your suggestion (not your own work please) with a few words to describe why you like it. Be sure to include the title, medium, size and year.


  1. Your paintings were a pleasure to look at. Love the palette on your self portrait. I am an elementary school teacher that spent the whole of last school year researching the early landscape artists. I had my elementary students do a four part landscape painting (four 3x7" boxes stacked horizontally on watercolor paper) called "From Sea to Shining Sea". The top was of a sunrise on the Atlantic, the 2nd, Purple mountains Majesty, the 3rd, Amber Waves of Grain and the fourth, The Pacific Rocky Coast. It was a huge success. For six weeks I did power points of the Hudson River Artists in acrylic. I think added greatly to our year. The end of the year we did a school wide 6'x4' faux stained glass window that now hangs at the end of the hallway of the elementary wing.

  2. I have been deeply moved by your documentary "A Way Of Seeing"..and after watching several times......there is now... a new and profound change occurring in my hopes to return to art again. In the last 3 weeks ..i have painted and expressed myself on canvas in a bold ,determined approach.without judgement ...or fear.....thanks to your beautiful documentary. I have always seen things with an artists eye...and was criticized for lack of education.However.....I can be free now...to paint..and create after seeing your life.....Thankyou for setting me free.......The peace ..and the joy are obvious!

  3. Hello Jim, your work is truly inspirational. Just love the feel and tones in your paintings. It makes anyone want to go out and paint! Tc :)


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