J A M E S   C O E


JAMES COE is an artist with a passion for birds, nature, old barns, and relics of our rural heritage. With an interest in ornithology, he earned a degree in biology from Harvard.  His training in art came later, as a graduate student at the Parson's School of Design. There he studied in a traditional atelier setting, working primarily from the figure and still life, under the guidance of painters Paul Resika, Leland Bell, and John Heliker.


Jim's work is represented in the permanent collections of the New York State Museum, Massachusetts Audubon Society, the Hiram Blauvelt and Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museums, and the Bennington Center for the Arts. He was the subject of a feature article in the Fall 2011 issue of Plein Air magazine.  His work has been featured also in Wildlife Art, American Art Collector, and in the online publication Wildlife Art Journal. His paintings have appeared on the covers of Sanctuary, Bird Watcher's Digest, Birding World, and The Auk, professional journal of the American Ornithologist’s Union.  


He began his art career in illustration and is best known as the author and illustrator of the acclaimed Golden Field Guide Eastern Birds, first published in 1994, and reissued in 2001 by St. Martin’s Press. Today, Jim’s studio work is essentially a synthesis of the two genres:  his paintings combine his passion for landscape with a finely detailed knowledge of natural history. In his recent canvases, he integrates birds into his landscapes, while striving still to maintain the freshness and vigorous brushwork of a plein air study. Jim’s goal is to introduce an element of movement, color, or interest to the landscape.  He hopes to evoke the poetic quality of bird watching: that magical moment when bird, environment, and atmosphere merge into one memorable image.  Kathy Foley, director of the Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, WI has described Jim's recent canvases as being "ethereal, moody, and sensitive all at once."


Jim is a Signature Member of the prestigious Oil Painters of America, as well as the American Impressionist Society and Society of Animal Artists.  As a member of the Board of Directors of the Society of Animal Artists Jim currently serves as the Jury Chair and oversees the selection of the SAA's annual exhibition.  For more than 30 years he has been a regular exhibitor in the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum’s prestigious "Birds in Art" annual and in 2011 was recognized as the Museum's 32nd Master Wildlife Artist. 





2014 Honorable Mention, Animals, Oil Painters of America

2012 Alden Bryan Medal for first place, Bryan Memorial Gallery
2011  Master Wildlife Artist, Birds in Art, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum

2011  Award of Excellence,  Societ of Animal Artists

2010  Western Art Collector, Editor's Choice Award, Sociey of Animal Artists

2009  1st Place, Laumeister Fine Art Competition, Bennington Ctr. for the Arts
2009  Honorable Mention, Laumeister Fine Art Competition
2009  Medal of Excellence, Artists for Conservation
2009  Honorable Mention, Quick Draw, Plein Air Easton, Easton, MD
2008  Award of Excellence, Society of Animal Artists
2006  Purchase Award, SAA, Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum
2006  Finalist, Art Prize Challenge, #31, Landscapes, International Artist Magazine
2004  Purchase Award, Focus on Nature, VIII,  NY State Museum


Signature Member, Society of Animal Artists
           (Serving on Board of Directors since 2009)

Signature Member, Oil Painters of America

Signature Member, American Impressionist Society


Bennington Center for the Arts, Bennington, VT
First Reserve National Bank, Greenwich, CT
Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum, Oradell, NJ
Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, Wausau, WI
Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon, MA
New York State Museum, Albany, NY
Selsor Gallery, Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum, Chanute, KS
Woodin & Company Store Fixtures, South Portland, ME

Selected Bibliography


“Friends Travel to Paint the Desert”,  PleinAir Magazine, March, 2014, pp 69-73.

“Avian Landscapes,” American Art Collector, November 2012, p 167.

“Finding Sanctuary,” American Art Collector, May 2012, pp 112-113.

Stephen C. Quinn, “Birds en Plein Air,” Birds in Art 2011, Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum, 2011, pp 6-21. 

Wilkinson, Todd, “James Coe Is 2011 Leigh Yawkey Woodson Museum Master Artist”, Wildlife Art Journal, Sept. 2011.

Doherty, Steve, “Wildlife in the Landscape,” PleinAir Magazine, Fall 2011, pp 57-61.

 “James Coe: A Painter’s Poetry,” Western Art Collector, January 2011, pp 108-1211.

Stapleton, Patience, Island Light: Monhegan Island, Blue Tree LLC, Portsmouth, NH, 2007, p 25.

King, Jennifer, “The New Hudson River School”, Plein Air Magazine, April 2005, pp 50-55.

Coe, James, “Plein Air Scout: Catskill State Park, Windham, NY”, Plein Air Magazine, February 2005, p 80.

Busby, John, Drawing Birds, 2nd ed., Christopher Helm, 2004, p 128.    

Kinstler, Peggy, ed.,“Through InformArt’s Looking Glass,” InformArt Magazine, Spring 2004, pp 58-59.

Brown, Joan, “James Coe: Changing Focus,” Wildlife Art, May-June 2003, pp 30-34.

Wells, Allison Childs, “Art of the Question,” Birdscope, 15(2): 14-15, Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology, 2001.

Singer, Alan, Wildlife Art, Rockport Publishers, Inc., 1999, p 44.

Hammond, Nicholas, Modern Wildlife Painting, Yale University Press, 1998, pp 153-154.