Last week, a mysterious package showed up at the gallery. From the label, we figured it was something from one of our very favorite artists (and people), Jim Seitz. We started digging around and pulled out four individually and beautifully wrapped paintings – one for each of us – along with the dearest note, thanking us for a show we had recently curated.
Jim’s from Louisiana and his charming note to us summed it all up: “I’ve grown to love living in Louisiana,” his note said. “The people work hard and play equally as hard. In Louisiana, there is a Cajun term for a small gift. It’s referred to as a ‘sussie'”. Jim had sent us four paintings as “sussies” for the show we had held.
We shouldn’t have been all that surprised because that’s just the lovely sort of thing Jim does. He’s a kind and compassionate guy, fun to chat with, has lived and traveled all over the world and has a twinkle in his eye. Did we mention he’s a passionate and creative artist who is about to embark on his dream of focusing 100% on painting now that he’s got that precious gift of time?
Voila! Here’s Jim:
HHFA: You’re an incredibly talented artist. Are you formally or self-taught?
JS: Outside of an 8th grade art class, I have never had a lesson in my life. In the 3rd grade I had every “how to draw” book I could find. By the time I reached college age I was doing medical illustrations for my professors. After graduating from college I took an international job as a field engineer on exploratory oil and gas rigs. While working in some of the most remote places in the world, I always had pen and ink handy so I could capture local culture and surroundings.
HHFA: What’s your painting process? Up and at ‘em? Music? We’d love to know how you make the magic happen.
JS: To be an effective artist, you need a space that is yours. In our current home, I took one of the upstairs bedrooms and painted the wooden floors white. The windows face north so I get constant, uninterrupted light.
I think most artists listen to music as they paint. I gravitate to music from foreign countries. By not understanding the language, you focus on the rhythm and beat.
HHFA: Where do you find inspiration on a daily basis?
JS: I am fortunate to be married to an accomplished interior designer. (HHFA: the lovely and elegant Connie Seitz) She has impeccable tastes and is always challenging me. We make a good team.
HHFA: Favorite artist and why?
JS: I love the Hudson River School artists. George Inness is one of my favorites. We go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art as often as possible and I can stand in front of his paintings for hours. My favorite living artist is P.A. Nisbet for his unbelievable skies.
HHFA: Okay, when you’re not working or painting, where do you like to play?
JS: Probably Santa Fe because of the food and art. The sunsets seem to last for ever and there are over 200 art galleries located in the small town. It is a great place for inspiration.
HHFA: Favorite restaurant?
JS: This is a hard one. The one that stands out the most is Geronimo’s Restaurant on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. It is one of the oldest buildings in the area. The service and food are impeccable.
HHFA: You’ve painted all day and now it’s time to relax. Are you having a glass of wine, a cocktail or what? What’s your favorite?
JS: Connie and I are soul mates. We have been married over 45 years. She still takes my breath away. We typically pour some chardonnay and talk about the day while we prepare dinner. If weather permits, we eat alfresco. We have a beautiful view of the golf course and massive live oaks.
And, as a little aside, Jim sent us an email a couple days ago that warmed our hearts: “I wanted to share some exciting news: a recent fundraiser that Connie and I participated in for some young art students netted $27,000, enabling these underprivileged kids to go to Italy on an art appreciation tour.
I love art. It can open so many doors.”
We couldn’t agree more, Jim! And, by the way, we love how you Louisianans do things!