An example of James Melvin's work.
An example of James Melvin’s work.

James Melvin is the dean of Outer Banks artists. He is considered the best at what he does. And he’s been doing it for some time.

James Melvin Show Begins March 1

Beginning on Friday, March 1, he will have a month long solo show at the Dare County Arts Council Gallery in Manteo.

Entitled the Peace Exhibit, the painting will focus on the tranquility of the Outer Banks.

Melvin is an extraordinarily versatile artist. He is probably best known as the illustrator for Suzanne Tate’s Nature Series of children’s books. That, however, is just one small part of his accomplishments.

Unlike most artists who seem most comfortable working in one medium, Melvin is equally at home creating his paintings in acrylics, oils and pastels. His first illustrations for the Nature Series were done with colored pencils. He has moved away from that medium feeling paint would give the illustrations a richer look.

His paintings of the Outer Banks focus on much of what is best about life on a sandbar. Featuring beach scenes, old Nags Head Cottages and lighthouses they have a peaceful, restful look, suggesting a place where a simple lifestyle is possible.

The range of styles and themes of how work is much greater, though, than the depictions of the Outer Banks. Earlier in his career, drawing on his time in the Peace Corps, he created a remarkable artistic study of Caribbean life. Examples of his portraiture work can be seen at the North Carolina Aquarium in Manteo where his Pea Island Lifesavers Series is on display.

We have not seen what he will be placing in his Peace Exhibit, but the most likely works will be of the beauty of the Outer Banks.

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