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For as far back as he can recall,  Jim Lee has always painted. 
“Once at the age of four, while stationed at a small U.S. Navy outpost with my father, mother and two sisters, I found a paint locker open and unattended, and proceeded to paint the Commanding Officer’s jeep that was parked close by. One of many adventures that has let me express myself with color.” 

Jim came to the foothills of central California after a 24 year journey from his birth place in Boulder, Colorado, that included stops in Japan, the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, Alaska and various coastal cities in California and the Pacific Northwest. 

He began surfing at age twelve while living in Ocean Beach, CA. in the late 50’s. Jim could be seen towing his Balsa wood board to the beach on a makeshift trailer hitched to his bike. Since then most of his travels have centered on chasing the perfect wave. Painting has always been an outlet for expressing the feeling surfing has brought. Along the way, he studied art at the Monterey Peninsula College, Portland State University, University of Guam, and four years at Sierra College, studying print-making with John Hamilton. 
In an evolution he partially attributes to domestication (that entered his life as Jim and his wife, DeBora, raised their two sons, Arlen and Ross), his work has moved away from experimentation with abstract forms and heavy texture to focus on his impressions of Sierra Foothill landscapes and inspired surfing images. The personal and philosophical impacts, that the two environments have on him are reflected in his work. 

“As I grow older I feel more of a need to create my life through my painting. I’m putting more energy into my work making the paintings stronger, more exciting and fun. I’m concerned more with stronger color and composition than subject matter. Even though it has always been for my own enjoyment, painting is something I have to do. It may be because I’m not a verbal person. For me, painting is a more natural form of communication than words, and if I don’t paint, I get restless.” 

“I try to communicate the peace of mind painting brings in me. I'm happy for viewers to find their own experiences.'