It’s All in the Details

Having had a lifelong interest in art, Jim Fetter went to art school under the GI Bill. After graduating, he worked at various automotive art studios in Detroit. Eventually, he opened his own commercial art studio, which operated for 20 years.

The Michigan-based artist is interested in more than automotive art, however, and carries a camera wherever he goes. Since he takes a lot of motion photography, he uses an SLR camera instead of a digital (they’re too slow). “You’re only as good as your best reference, so I shoot as many details as possible,” he says. The painting, Dream Store was inspired by a reference photo of a New England antique shop.

Dream Store (acrylic, 24×30) was a finalist in our 2003 Art Competition.

“I paint to capture what I see in my head,” he says. “Sometimes it works.”

As he developed Dream Store, Fetter found his initial drawing was lacking, so he redrew it, raising and enlarging the window area for better proportion. During the painting stage he also added his own blue to punch up interest. “It’s my paint job on their store,” he says.

To keep his painting process as simple as possible, he limits his palette to the “requirements of the subject.” In other words, an artist can mix just about whatever they need from a fairly limited choice of colors.

Fetter spends anywhere from days to several weeks on a painting, working intermittently. “I like to put a painting away for a while. When you see it with a fresh eye, the corrections and changes become more apparent.” His chosen medium is acrylic, but he occasionally uses oils. He also takes breaks to enjoy his favorite pastime. “When it rains, I paint. When the sun shines, I fish!” he says.

Fetter recently won first prize and viewer’s choice with a painting that had been rejected in the same event a year earlier. He liked the painting, so he entered it again?this time he won. His advice to artists: Believe in what you do!

Michelle Taute is a freelance writer and editor living in Cincinnati.

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