Jim Lee

Jim LeeJim finds great satisfaction in creating this amazing and fascinating subject not only in his work, but also instructing workshops to beginners and professional artists. His teaching method is structured to assist students in developing and advancing their skills, style and creativity. Each workshop includes detailed lectures on bone structure, anatomy and muscles as well as emotion, age, ethnicity and gender. He comes from a family of accomplished artists and have drawn faces as long as he can remember holding a pencil. Today, hiss passion is sculpting the human form in clay. His first hands-on experience with sculpting came when he was 13 years old. It was a school science project on the Evolution of Man…at a Catholic School… It didn’t go over very well. Years later, while working as a financial consultant, he wanted to find something to do as a hobby in his spare time. He tried carving faces out of wood. He found if you make a mistake, just keep digging. So after several attempts, some frustration and a few stitches, he went back to drawing. While at the Laguna Art Festival years later, he noticed a sculptor making masks out of water-based clay. He stood there fascinated, considering he had tried this in wood. In his process and having drawn faces, he noticed the left cheek wasn’t quite right.
He watched with curiosity, as he knew very little about clay. When he noticed the flaw, he simply reached down, grabbed some clay and fixed it… just like that! That moment in time changed his life! Wow, it was like a five-alarm fire going off in his head! When he returned home, he bought 50 pounds of water-based clay and got his hands back in the mud for the first time in decades. He didn’t know anything about clay, the drying or firing process, or for that matter, sculpting. He just kept creating busts and they just kept cracking. Several months later and very frustrated, he was introduced to ceramist, Larry Ortiz at Clay Arts Studio in Auburn, CA. That began his quest to become a sculptor of clay.
He read and watched everything he could find in books, the internet, YouTube, etc. anything that would give him more information about human anatomy, sculpting styles and techniques. One day Jim came across the renowned sculptor, Philippe Faraut (PCF Studios in Honeoye, New York). His fast, easy teaching style and emphasis on expression and pose was exactly what Jim was looking for. Jim bought his tools, DVDs and books and eventually took classes from him in Portrait and Figure. As his work improved, Philippe and Larry encouraged Jim to start teaching sculpture. He spent countless hours studying the human anatomy including Philippe’s workshops, books, classes with Andrew Cawrse at Anatomy Tools in Las Vegas, Anatomy for Sculptors books and the Complete Anatomy and Total Anatomy apps. Today, his weekdays are full of stock & bond markets and conservative clientele.
His evenings and weekends are fascinated in clay. He teaches small groups using the methods Philippe taught him. His workshops and classes are held at JCLee Studios in Auburn (Northern CA) and Urban Arts OC Studio in Newport Beach (Southern CA), which include detailed lectures on anatomy, bone structure, muscles, skin and gesture as well as expression, age, gender and ethnicity.
He typically doesn’t use a model when he teaches students new to sculpture. He found that a model makes the students compare each other’s work rather than focusing on, and creating their own. It is important, in his opinion that his students learn the basic anatomy of the skull, neck and shoulders and then use their imagination for expression and gesture.
Jim is a proud father of four and grandfather of three. He and his wife Karen spend time between the fine towns of Meadow Vista, CA and San Clemente, CA.

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