About James Postill
James Postill was born in Vernon, British Columbia, Canada in 1970. In those days, Vernon was a small agricultural community in the North Okanagan, a region in the interior of BC. Geologically speaking, it is a fascinating area, rich in forests, lakes, rivers, rolling grassland hills, and even a ring of long extinct volcanoes.
From an early age, James’s parents fostered an appreciation for nature in the young artist. Even though his home environment wasn’t overflowing with artistic stimulation (his mother was a telecommunications worker, and his father was a teacher), James still benefited from his parents’ encouragement and acceptance of his interest in art.
James had a busy and active childhood, playing in the woods and fields, and very often down by a creek which ran through the property of his childhood home. His imagination flourished in that setting, fed by trips and hikes into the surrounding forests and hills around Vernon. Appreciating nature would become an important part of James’s inspiration.
As his talent matured, he learned how to paint and draw landscapes. He
started to become aware of, and be inspired by, Canadian artists he found in
books. He credits his parents for giving him a strong work ethic, not being
afraid to fail, and always persisting until he succeeded. This persistence became important in all the artistic mediums that James would later learn.
He began with acrylic painting in high school, and later into his formal training at Okanagan College in Kelowna, BC, he started painting with oils.
He recalls the high point of his formal art education in the form of a visit to the college from renowned Canadian artist Jack Shadbolt. Shadbolt painted for awhile with the Group of Seven, and later with Emily Carr. He remembers the enthusiasm, intensity, and passion with which Shadbolt spoke to James and his peers about modern art.
After that three-hour lecture, the then 80-year-old artist made time to visit all the student’s studios. After seeing his acrylic paintings, Shadbolt had a long conversation with James, telling him he had “a good painting future”.
It was this encouragement that James carried with him into his twenties and thirties. During this time, he embarked on a long-standing career as a picture framer, and experienced the busyness of parenthood. In the midst of this, his motivation to create was often restricted, but never extinguished.
Epiphany, Re-Evaluation, and the Path of a Professional Artist
It was an illness in 2009 that James credits as being the catalyst for the re-examination of his life, and a strong message from the cosmos to follow what he was born to do.
He quit his job and moved to a cabin set in a forested valley dotted with brilliant yellow latch trees, to recuperate and begin to paint. This was the true beginning of his journey towards a professional art career.
James reached out to a number of artists who lived well practicing their profession. In particular, his meeting contemporary Canadian impressionist acrylic painter Rick Bond in 2009 made the greatest impact on James. In very clear terms, Bond spelled out the level of commitment it would take for James to succeed. With Rick’s encouragement and guidance, James painted a body of work of sufficient quality to be juried into the Federation of Canadian Artists.
In 2010, during this period of development, James approached the Caetani Cultural Center in Vernon looking for a living and studio space. Although he was not successful in finding accommodation, he did find Judy, the then-executive director, and the love of his life. Two years later they were married and are still going strong today. James credits Judy as being his best friend and sounding board, who patiently listens to his mad ramblings and gives honest feedback.