Artist Statement s

Portrait of My Dog

"It's never too late to be who you might have been."
-- George Eliot

In my Lab Art I try to capture the essence of Labrador Retrievers. Labs have a distinct shape, which you can instantly pick out even from a distance. I love to use bold colors to set off the distinct Lab shape. It doesn't matter if the dog is a black Lab, chocolate Lab, yellow Lab, white Lab, silver Lab, blue Lab or red Lab... you recognize a Lab when you see one. I like the way they stand, sit, walk, run, romp, swim, jump, chase, retrieve, sleep or just stare at you when you are at the dinner table. They are all alike, yet they are all different. My paintings don't represent any one Lab, but all Labs.


I can't talk about the art without talking about chasing dreams. I've been chasing dreams my whole life and Mainely Labs Studio is the latest of my dreams to come true.

I grew up in Ohio and lived there for thirty-five years. After many vacations to New England to ski and bike and eat lobsters, I often sat in my office and daydreamed about living along the rocky seacoast of Maine. In 1989, I decided to stop daydreaming and do something about it; I quit my job and moved to Maine.

As part of that vision, I had often pictured myself running on a sandy beach with a black Labrador Retriever bounding along beside me. Although there are certainly Labs in every state of the nation and all over the world, I have to believe that there are more Labs per capita in Maine than anywhere else. They seem to be everywhere. If we had a state dog, the Lab would be it.

Portrait of My Self

In 1991, Carol and I married and two days later we brought home a 6-week old black Lab puppy. For the next eleven years, Mattie was my constant companion and best buddy. No one had more fun or loved life as much as Mattie did. And yes, she ran with me on the beaches near our Cape Elizabeth home. As we ran by lighthouses and lobster traps, I often reminded myself that I was living my dream.

In 2001, one of my employees told me that she was taking a painting class at the Maine College of Art. I had never picked up a (fine arts) paint brush in my life, but I heard myself say, "that's something I've always wanted to do." As soon as those words came out of my mouth, my next thought was, "well, what's stopping you?" After the first class I had discovered a new passion and soon I had a new dream. In 2005, after becoming more and more disenchanted with work in the corporate world, I left my job and Mainely Labs Studio was born. I'm still chasing my dreams...

Jim and Pirate Pirate


Stop and visit Pirate and me in the studio when you're in Portland. Your dog is welcome too.





"Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there's still time to change the road you're on" – Led Zeppelin

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.” – Goethe

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
-- Mark Twain

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined."
-- Henry David Thoreau

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'WOW What a Ride!'"
-- Unknown

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Photography by Jeff Swanson -
The Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland -
The Animal Welfare Society -
Planet Dog -
Core Themes -
Talk Like a Pirate -
First Friday Art Walk -

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