James Lester is an Academician of The South West Academy of Fine
and Applied Arts and a long-standing member of The Society of
Botanical Artists. Most of his work is landscape painting and
figure painting, although botanical studies and portrait painting
are an essential facet of his work. He works in watercolour, oils
and pastel and his preferred method of working is to paint or draw
directly from life, as this gives a directness and freedom to his painting.
He worked in London for over twenty five years as art director in
advertising and publishing. Throughout this time in London he was regularly
painting and exhibiting his work in exhibitions which included The Royal
Society of British Artists, The Royal Institute of Painters in
Watercolour, The New English Art Club, The City of London Exhibition
and The Royal Academy. His first solo exhibition was held at the Tenterdon
Art Centre in Kent. Whilst working in London, he also became a
member of the Hesketh Hubbard Art Society.
First Born, Oil
After moving to Devon in 1986, he continued to exhibit
in the London galleries and then for ten years ran an art
gallery at Otterton Mill in East Devon, which provided an outlet
for much of his work and was the source of many commissions,
including a number of prestigious portrait commissions.
He has also run numerous painting courses.
A long-standing interest in plants and the beauty of their
structure led to commissions for botanical studies, and
eventually election to the Society of Botanical Artists. Since
then he has exhibited each year at the Society's Annual Exhibition
in Westminster. He is co-author of an illustrated book on botanical
painting, Painting the Secret World of Nature, published by
His work is in many private collections in the UK and in recent
years has been included in exhibitions in Vienna, Sweden and Cardiff.
In the South West his paintings have been selected for exhibition at
the Royal West of England Academy in Bristol. In 2002 he had a solo
exhibition of work at the Otterton Mill Centre Gallery and since the
foundation of the South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts in 2000,
each year his work has been included in the Academy's Summer Exhibition.
He was elected as an Academician of the South West Academy in 2004.
The South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts
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