<font color="#808080">FISHER, James P.</font>

More James P. Fisher:    Federal Duck Stamp Print 










JAMES P. FISHER
(
1912 - 1990)

 

In his early school years, Jim Fisher was more truant than student. He was often preoccupied with drawing animals and birds, or sketching his classmates than completing his academic assignments. He was given to playing hockey and roaming the Brandywine Valley, armed with pencil, paper and public library books about natural history. It was there by the Brandywine that his interest in wildlife art took form.

James P. Fisher was born in Wilmington, Delaware, on February 25, 1912, the last of three children of Walter F. Fisher and Anna Briggs Fisher. His mother was gently tolerant of her youngest child's non-conforming ways because she shared his interest in art. He credits much of his artistic success to her encouragement during his early years.

At the age of 17, Jim enrolled for the fall semester at The Wilmington Academy of Art (now Delaware Art Center). At the same time he took on his first full time job, a clerk in a drugstore, to pay his tuition and purchase art supplies. He studied under Gayle P. Hoskins, Frank E. Schoonover and N. C. Wyeth who were already nationally-known artists.

While attending the Academy he undertook the ambitious task of copying each of the plates from Ernest Seton Thompson's Art Anatomy of Animals. The book was out of print and available only at the public library, so he kept his drawings in a ring hinder. The intensive study required to complete the work impressed anatomical knowledge indelibly in his mind and also helped him develop drawing facility.

The depression of the thirties arrived in full force, and after three years at the Academy, Jim realized that, "If I were to eat, I had better transform my talents into some saleable form." M. A. Mayes, a Bostonian, taught him theater lobby art, full sheet posters that featured a portrait of the star and listed the usual credits for the supporting cast, director, producer, etc. He earned his living at this until the advent of silk screen process which made handcrafted posters a lost art form.

During the depression years he took on any job that would produce income. For a time he painted portraits, a natural fallout from his lobby art days. After that, he did a long series of commissions for pet portraits. When the workload was light, which was quite often those days, Jim used his time to roam the tidal marshes of the Delaware and Christiana Rivers and made frequent trips to the coastal salt marshes of New Jersey to sketch and observe the wildlife in its natural habitat.

In 1939 he married Irene Green, a registered nurse, and they moved to a small farm in Chester County, Pa. Here he had the opportunity to pursue his life-long interest in wildlife. The Pennsylvania countryside teemed with native birds and animals and in addition Jim raised quail, pheasants and puddle ducks for use as models. Commercial advertising art, however, continued to take up most of his time.

In 1950 their only son, Jim,, Jr., was born. He is now a professional photographer whose skills come in quite handy to his father when doing research for a painting.

An old, two-story granary on the farm was converted to a studio and is an object d'art in itself. The beamed ceiling and stone hearth are effective background for Jim's props. His collection of decoys, each with a history of its own, and mounted wild fowl of every description make up the decor.














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