My dad, James Roger “Jim” Hammonds, or JRH (as he signed his original paintings), loved art.
Dad grew up in a small desert town, and I don’t know of anyone among his early family and friends who was an “artist.” But he always had an interest in and a love for art and no hesitation or fear about making it himself, no question about whether he had a “right” to make it, and no worries about whether it was “good.”
He loved to sketch, especially when on vacation. When Jodie and I visited him in Las Vegas growing up, he made art supplies available: acrylics and boards and brushes, or ceramics and art paints. He liked making art and thought we would like it, too. He was right.
When I was traveling in Europe in 2003, Dad joined me for several weeks. I was thrilled to share the Louvre and the Musee d’Orsay with him in Paris. We went to Amsterdam to admire the Van Goghs; Vincent always stuns. We especially enjoyed a visit to the German medieval walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Here’s a photo I took there. We decided we would both turn that photo into a painting (his oil, my watercolor). What a pleasure it was to share travels and art with him.
Starting around fall 2003 or early in 2004, when I lived in Scottsdale with him, we took an art class together through the Scottsdale Parks and Rec Department. Our first project was copying a Cezanne still life. Dad gravitated toward oils and he stuck with them, continuing in the class for the rest of his life.
He especially loved the Impressionist school, and many of his paintings are copies of favorite Impressionist works. You learn a lot when you copy a master: what drew their eye, what colors they used, how they composed the scene for effect. Dad’s teacher and friend, Anita Chestney, helped him figure these things out, and I think her friendship and their conversations were a big reason he kept going to class year after year. That, and the company of other artists (and the coffee!). Over time and with your help, I hope to add information about each painting’s inspiration to this slideshow.
Here are Matt Anderson’s excellent photographs of the paintings in Dad’s home and ours at the time of his passing, plus a photo of the painting he and Jodie finished together. Click the first one to load the slideshow. You should be able to view notes below each painting. If you have ideas about the sources or anything else you want to say, you can comment.