American, b. 1943
Born in Aiken, South Carolina, James Calk was the only son of a father interested in art and architecture, and a mother musician/organist. He grew up surrounded by the arts. He began painting at age thirteen with private lessons.
He sought out teachers with whom he could study painting in the atelier manner. Among others, David A. Leffel and Charles Reid are two highly regarded artist. He was also influenced by the Latvian born artist, Katherine Clark, who lived in Columbia, SC for many years.
Calk’s paintings have received recognition and awards both regionally and nationally are in the corporate collections of Colonial Life Insurance Company, Equitable Life, and First Citizens Bank Permanent Collection, among others. His paintings have been exhibited throughout South Carolina in The South Carolina Watercolor Society Traveling Show (top 30 paintings), the Anderson Art Council Show (juried), the South Carolina State Fair, and in the Winyah Art Association Show. His works have also been shown at a two-man show at the Rice Museum in Georgetown, SC, and at the National Steeplechase Museum Show, Camden, SC.
Most recently Calk’s paintings were exhibited at Columbia College (Columbia, SC) in the exhibition, “Creative Couples”, along with those of his wife, Betsy Havens, and eight other artist couples, which ran from February 14 – March 27, 2016. The exhibition was inspired by the relationship of artists Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz.
After periods of tonalism and Flemish/Dutch style painting, Calk’s works have evolved into splendid semi-abstract works which exhibit his mastery of color and light.
Calk received his formal education at Newberry College where he had his first one-man art show in 1963, and is also a classically trained pianist. He is married to artist Betsy Havens and lives in Georgetown, South Carolina and is currently choir master and organist for Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church in Georgetown, S.C.
"I paint a frozen moment in time. The universe gives me the ability to paint and I in return give the painting back. The viewer is given the opportunity to experience. I love the moment when my creativity and the viewer merge - giving life and breath to the painting. Then the magic happens!" - James E. Calk