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James west nelson: honor thy father

"After my father, William (Bill) Nelson passed away in 1997, I became curator of his voluminous catalogue of artworks. Both my artist-parents created fine impressionistic paintings of the natural settings they visited, but neither was inspired by animal art. Later in life, as I labored to preserve their works, I would think, 'What a beautiful painting, but I wish Dad (or Mom) would have painted a deer, or an eagle, or a bear into this scene...'

Recently I discovered John James Audubon assigned his assistant, Joseph Mason, to paint he plant-life and backgrounds into fifty of Audubon's most famous bird studies. Audubon collaborated with other artists as well. I though to myself, if John James Audubon could combine his skills with others, why shouldn't my parents and I do the same (posthumously)?

My own efforts have been guided by four principles: 1) At first do no harm. My additions should never diminish the quality of the original. 2) Match the style. My additions should blend in with the painting-style used in the original. 3) Keep it real. I should populate paintings only with wildlife (or objects) natural to each setting. Finally 4) Transparency. I should sign and date each painting proudly alongside (or across from) my parents signatures. 

This particular exhibit is a display of a posthumous collaboration between my father and me. Each painting was chosen for its potential to include either wildlife or other objects of high interest to 'spice up' a masterfully painted landscape or seascape. In doing, I hope that you will agree that I'm indeed honoring my father by bringing his mastery out of storage and back into the light. And I hope you enjoy the results."

-James West Nelsonoil painting of a forest with bears