Born and raised in northern California, Jim Rey s interest and involvement in ranch life were fostered by his grandfather and uncle, both cattle ranchers.
After spending 25 years near the San Juan Mountains in Southwestern Colorado, Jim Rey
and his wife Sharon recently moved to a small farm in the Sandhills of Nebraska. Surrounded by wide-open prairies to the south and east, the Rocky Mountains to the west, and the tall grass ranges to the north, the landscape provides a proper setting for his field studies and serves as an inspiration for his paintings of life in the American West. The fabulous landscapes that surround him and the field studies and action scenes that he gathers on his visits to local ranches, provide Jim with all the inspiration he could ever need for his documentation of the living American West. Jim often travels to wild horse habitats to study, photograph and paint America's wild mustangs. No one captures the spirit of the wild horse like Jim Rey.
Documenting the West most of his time, Jim visits ranches to paint field studies and photograph action scenes. His love of horses has led him to study, paint and photograph the wild horse in its environment. With his world as a backdrop, Jim mixes his ranch work experience, years of historical research and creates beautiful, authentic art works. Rey graduated from the "old school" of painting; "I read a lot on my own, went through every art book I could get my hands on, and learned to paint by painting."
Rey is a self-taught artist whose credits include 51 paintings for the Encyclopedia Britannica, illustrating the history of the Buffalo in the American West. Rey s paintings were commissioned for Bantam Books for use as covers of Louis L'Amour and Bonanza hardback and paperback books. Articles regarding Jim paintings have been published in Southwest Art, Art of the West, Artists of the Rockies, Art Talk and International Fine Art Magazine, as well as others. His work has also been featured in numerous newspapers in the western United States. His work has also been exhibited in many noted shows and locations including the Fredrick Remington Museum in New York. He was the Graphic Arts Director for Bilingual Children's Television, Inc., Graphic Arts Director for "Over Easy" starring Hugh Downs and Phyllis Diller and was the Art Director for the Emmy Awards in 1973, 1974 and 1976. Jim's paintings are authentic and real, and they come to life as you look at them. He puts his subjects into real situations so the viewer can watch them react. "I strive to take a thought and bring in my way of looking at things to situations I care about."
"You learn to paint every day. Even when I m doing a lot of cow work I ll get my painting time in, and it can make for a long day. But I ve seen what hard work and diligence does, both in art and on the range. Painting is a singular, alone-type thing and so is cowboying. I like the aloneness of them both. But keep in mind there s a difference between alone and lonely."
"All at once I feel very complete when I m on horseback in the mountains or on location in a forest or on land. There s a singular purpose and not a lot of distractions. That s why I feel so fortunate in leading the life I do, and for the most part I m at peace about the progress I make in this life-style as a painter. Of course we re never satisfied, and I know I can do better, but I m at peace with what I do at the time."
"Another thing about working with animals is that a person has to be pretty sensitive, and that translates into painting too. There s a lot of pressure on kids today to gratify themselves instantly, and painting is not instant. You get little moments of gratification, but it takes a little while. Instant gratification to, like the kind we get from television, is what most kids are exposed to, and it crushes the human experience. They don t have time to savor anything."