Parker County Today March 2018 - Page 66

our art: JAMES LEE Straight From the Head of a Starving Artist By MEL W RHODES A 64 self-described “starving artist,” James Lee, 50, has always dreamed of making a living from his art. “I’ve been an artist my entire life,” he said. “It showed in me even as a kid.” In art class, his stick figures were more anatomically correct than other kids’ — showing musculature, etc. “Because of the jobs I’ve had over the years, I’ve had to put that dream on the back burner. Sure, over the years I was able to do a few things here and there that I could put into a portfolio; but I was never able to start a career.” Currently, Lee works a couple of jobs and is finding more time to devote to art. He works with a Dallas builder on historic homes and helps his brother auction the contents of storage units. “I got into a situation where I just took some time off a little over a year ago and just involved myself in my art,” Lee said. “I did 28, maybe 30 pieces. And in that time I wanted to change some, so I thought maybe I’d try some painting.” Picking up the brush and acrylic paints has refocused the artist who had labored for years in the pen and ink genre. He is painting abstract works. Most of Lee’s body of work fits easily into the fantasy genre — a world of moonlit peaks and finely drawn towers rising from a walled city at water’s edge. A cultural icon in a diaphanous dress erased into being through Lee’s technique. Fantasy, says Lee, is a very liberat- ing genre and allows the artist to try whatever he or she can think. “Most of my work comes straight from my head,” he said. “I use very little reference, unless it’s like in a portrait of Marilyn Monroe or Jimi Hendrix.” Lee said he’s glad at 50 to still have this level of creativity. Lee has his work on Facebook and the Fine Art America site, but he knows getting his work out there will take more than that. “For me, what I need to do, is get some prints together and set up a