Jimmy Craig is an artist in every sense of the word… in heart, thought and execution. He is a professional, working artist. A lucky title and one he’s earned. Though anyone who creates art can rightfully lay claim to the title Artist, Jimmy Craig has the exceptional talent to back it up. His paintings transcend the ordinary. They are a glorious reflection of nature, of discarded objects, of tobacco fields, of light—whatever subject catches his fancy.
In kindergarten Jimmy Craig announced his calling…he knew he wanted to be an artist when he grew up. He got his official start in high school with paper and pencil and a serious knack for drawing, which led him to advanced art class, and design school at NC State soon after.
Jimmy Craig finds inspiration here at the Crystal Coast on our beaches and long stretches of shoreline. He marvels at how the colors are always changing, “the many fascinating moods they create, and the effect the sunlight has on the environment”. He can put any color down on his canvas and make it work within the context of the scene. Looking at his watercolor sketches of dunes and seagrass makes this evident. Burnt sienna mixes effortlessly with brilliant blue, hints of yellow and the bottle glass green of the sea. Oil paintings of more subtle hues impress and inspire too—water vistas from local bridges and images of waves captured beachside.
Mary Cheatham commissioned Jimmy Craig to paint the Camp Morehead docks as a gift for her husband Chip. It’s a treasured site for the family… they depart on boat trips to the Cape or fish from this pier and it’s a stone’s throw from home. His rendering portrays this sunny, scenic spot under a grand oak tree with the beauty and reverence it deserves.
Jimmy Craig is a master of mindfulness, able to transfer his observations of luminosity and the passage of time onto his canvases. Preferring to draw from life, his paintings are not meant to be a single captured moment like a photograph, rather they are an expression of a place, telling both a story and conveying the sentiment behind it, able to evoke powerful feelings that differ from one person to the next.
A tour of Red Arrow studio in Morehead City is a must for anyone who longs to connect with the distinctive wonder of the south, its history and landscape. As well, anyone who shares a love of impressionists will delight in Jimmy Craig’s landscapes. Monet’s early works are easily conjured as are the masterful accomplishments of Edward Hopper and his ability to capture light and shadow.
The man himself is as joyous to be around as his art. Like his paintings, Jimmy Craig is full of life and light. It is no surprise that he is much loved by Mary Cheatham as an artist and a friend… for both his good nature and incredible gift.