About Dwayne R. James
"I don't call my paintings artwork, because they're too much fun to create. Instead, I call them artplay."
Watercolour artist and author Dwayne James has a passion for creating art and stories that are uniquely, and often unapologetically, Canadian. Living in the Lakefield area, he has been feverishly living a creatively-driven life for the past decade, that is when his very forgiving family allows.
Dwayne studied archaeology in University which is how he learned to write creatively. “The most important skill I accrued in University,” he says, “was the ability to pretentiously write about myself in the third person.”
With no formal art training, Dwayne has always preferred the self-guided, experimental approach. In fact, he taught himself how to illustrate archaeological artifacts while completing his Master’s degree at Trent University. Said his thesis supervisor at the time: “There might not be much in the way of coherent theoretical content in Dwayne’s thesis, but damn, it looks pretty!”
Dwayne had played with watercolours a little in his life, but it has only been relatively recently when he truly began to experiment and develop his style. An avid paddler and wilderness nut, it’s natural that most of Dwayne’s paintings should reflect this passion.
After spending close to a decade as a technical communicator at IBM, Dwayne opted to look at their January 2009 decision to downsize him as an opportunity to become a stay-at-home Dad for his newborn twins, (as documented in his book Gingers & Wry) and pursue his painting and creative writing whenever they allowed him to do so. It is a decision that continues to make him giggle with wild abandon to this very day.
About Dwayne's Art
Dwayne’s highly-detailed watercolour paintings have been described as “whimsical” and “unconventional” yet “absolutely authentic.” A self-taught painter, Dwayne is fascinated by both texture and dimension, and channels nature to create personalised images of a kind that would not easily be captured through conventional photography.
Dwayne seizes a moment in his paintings that shifts every time you view them. You may have seen watercolours before but, chances are, you have never seen watercolours like Dwayne’s.
About Dwayne's Product Line
Although original paintings make up the biggest part of his product line, Dwayne also offers high-quality GICLEE prints on either canvas or paper, and available in a number of sizes.
In addition, Dwayne also custom mats and frames his artplay in his own line of unique signature frames. He is currently offering four main styles of signature frames: oak, maple, pine, and barnwood, but the selection varies based on whatever neat wood comes his way.
All of the artist's frames are professionally assembled, and are designed and built to complement the artplay.
Member of the Steering Committee for the Buckhorn Festival of the Arts, 2019 to present.
Instructor at The Art School of Peterborough, 2018 to present.
Best in Show for Visual Arts at the 2018 Haliburton Art and Craft Festival.
Previous Shows and Studio Tours...
Since 2011, I have participated as a vendor at a number of art shows and festivals around Ontario, such as:
Artzscape by the Bay in Sarnia
Autumn Treasures in Peterborough.
Bon Echo Art Exhibition and Sale in Cloyne.
Buckhorn Festival of the Arts in Buckhorn.
Cobourg Waterfront Festival in Cobourg.
Cottage Country Craft Shows in Peterborough and Lindsay.
Haliburton Art and Craft Festival in Haliburton.
The Hand of Man in Peterborough
Kawartha Arts Festival in Fenelon Falls.
Lakefield Jazz Art and Craft Festival in Lakefield
Stoney Lake Art Show in Crowe’s Landing.
Victoria County Studio Tour in Bobcaygeon.
For the majority of his shows, Dwayne displays his art on custom-built modular walls that are covered in a wire mesh and backed in burlap to reduce visual distractions. These walls are very versatile and can fit perfectly inside a standard 10 by 10 trade-show tent, or be reconfigured in a number of ways when more space allows.
For outdoor shows, he uses his own weight system (45 pounds on each corner) so that he doesn’t have to stake into the ground.
Dwayne's Home Studio
Dwayne has two separate home studio spaces. The first is inside the house where he can work year-round and host visitors by appointment.
The second is a larger space in his workshop where he erects his modular display walls for scheduled studio tours to give himself lots of hanging space. It is the workshop space that has the advantage of being totally accessible and easy to visit.
Hendows Fine Foods
Dwayne's art is on permanent display in Peterborough on the walls of Hendows Fine Foods (309 Townsend St). The owner, Warren Hennessy, has always been a big supporter and allows Dwayne to switch up the art frequently and even host launches and demo days.