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James Pettijohn

James Pettijohn

I spent my first 18 years in the river bluffs, creeks and marshes around my home town of Oregon, Holt County, Missouri. I spent two years at the University of Nebraska, followed by four years as an air force pilot before being hired as a pilot for TWA. A couple years later I saw some wildlife paintings, wanted one, couldn’t afford one, so I decided I would paint my own. I learned by trial and error using oils. Shortly thereafter I entered a painting in a 30 day show in Kansas City sponsored by Motorola. Winning the public preference award, I was off and running. I soon discovered acrylics which allowed me to carry paints and rolled up canvas in my flight suitcase and paint during down time on layovers. Around 1965, I discovered decorative carved decoys, so I started a parallel hobby of wood sculpting. In 1982, I won two 1st places and a best of show at the World Championship Carving show. During this era we made seven safaris to East Africa thanks to TWA’s free travel. During this time I concentrated on African animal paintings, which I could carry to Nairobi and sell in a gallery there, using the proceeds to help pay for my next trip. In 1984, we fell in love with Sedona, Arizona and moved there. That opened me to southwest and Grand Canyon painting. I enjoyed the close proximity to the California carving competition shows where I did well in placings over the years. In 1998, we sadly moved back to KC to finish out. In the past 10 years we have made two trips to film and paint the Oregon and California Coast and two trips to the Rocky Mountains in the fall to obtain enough material of the beautiful aspen covered mountains to carry me through.