Jim House grew up in Tullahoma, Tennessee in the 1950’s playing cowboy and riding ponies his family owned business. Westerns were always on at the local movie theater and every kid’s hero seemed to be a cowboy.
As far back as he can remember he wanted to be an artist. After winning several awards in high school for his paintings he decided to go to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale after graduation. Although there was a good portrait artist at the Art Institute the curriculum focused primarily on commercial and graphic art rather than illustration. So, he left there to study painting at the University of Tennessee. However, at the time he found that the university’s art department was focused primarily on abstract and conceptual type art. Also as fate would have it an apartment fire destroyed his portfolio of work he had spent the last four years compiling. So after the fire Jim headed west to work on a ranch in Red Feather Lakes, Colorado. During the following several years he drifted away from art as he drifted around the west working as a logger, steelworker, ranch hand, and carpenter. On a trip back to Tennessee he ran into an old friend who offered him a job at an advertising agency. Jim worked at the advertising agency for several years until his brother encouraged him to apply for a workshop at the Cowboy Artists of America Museum in Kerrville, Texas. Jim attended the CAA workshop in Kerrville and was encouraged to discover that there are normal hard working people that happen to be really great painters. Jim went on to attend a number of CAA workshops taught by members such as Robert Pummill, Gary Carter, Joe Beeler, John Moyer, and Jim Norton to name a few. More recently Jim has taken a workshop taught by CAA painter Martin Grelle and Bruce Green as well as western artist Bill Anton. Jim has also studied under the renowned portrait artist Daniel Greene.
Presently, Jim has been able to move away from commercial illustration in recent years to concentrate primarily on western subjects. Those subjects and reference material have come largely from the Cottonwood Land and Cattle Company’s ranch north of Wheatland, Wyoming which is owned by a family friend.
Jim’s artwork has been on display in the Bozeman Trail Gallery in Sheridan, Wyoming, the Harris Museum in Calhoun, Georgia and the Booth Western Art Museum’s Artists Guild Gallery in Cartersville, Georgia. Jim’s art is currently on display at the Bosque Art Center in Clifton, Texas where he recently won the prestigious 2014 John Steven Jones Purchase Award for his oil painting titled Cold, Dark Morning at the Cottonwood. Jim’s work is also on the cover of the April 2015 Western Horseman magazine.