Beautiful Minds: James Richard Blake | NCCA

From the beautiful French Riviera to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, artist James Richard Blake has captured it all. At age 81, Blake has been painting and drawing for nearly six decades and perfecting his craft with every masterpiece. His oil landscapes contain such detail that every image has a personality, and truly brings the landscape to life.
Blake was born December 8, 1932 in Michigan and was plagued by childhood illnesses preventing him from enjoying the outdoors and games that the other children around him were participating in. Instead, Blake took to occupying his time with drawing and other artistic mediums, developing and perfecting his talents. Like many artists before him, Blake faced the adversity of physical limitations and used his experiences to amplify and showcase the intrinsic artistic talent he possesses.

As he got older, Blake’s parents took notice of his talents and put him in art classes when he was nine-years-old. He impressed art teachers at every level throughout grade school, eventually leading to his senior year art teacher pushing him to pursue a career in the arts. Blake ended up at the Los Angeles Art Center School, where he met many artists with worldly experiences and success. He left the school after learning from these experienced artists and with a newfound dedication to studying the fine arts.

Over the years, James Blake traveled the world with his wife, Cornelia, and their son, Andrew. Cornelia, a native Texan, established Fort Worth, TX as their home base, but they spent many years travelling to different countries so that Blake could capture the world. His incredibly sophisticated and detailed work has gained him late-life recognition, especially in his native Texas as well as in Paris. His work has been highly regarded by many and even captured the eye of then-First Lady Laura Bush, who commissioned Blake to paint the 2006 White House Christmas Card. He has been recognized by critics to have the ability to not only capture the beauty of the landscapes and trees, but to bring the character out of them as well.

James Richard Blake is widely regarded as an extremely talented and brilliant artist by his peers. He is being nominated for a Presidential Medal of Honor in 2014 for his work and prestige. His paintings are full of wonder and remind its viewers that beauty is nearly inexhaustible in its variety and complexity. Blake captures the world’s natural beauty, character, and composition in everything he creates.