Artist Information



Santa Fe artist James Trigg was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1951, and has lived in or near the state of New Mexico all of his life. His father noticed his talent at an early age, and arranged for James to start private art lessons with Farmington artist Pearl Scott while he was still in elementary school. Continuing his studies through high school, James won many honors both statewide and locally. James graduated from Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colorado in 1974. Painting professionally since graduating from college, James has come to concentrate primarily on southwestern themes in oils. His strong desire to continually improve his work has led him to complete many classes, workshops and seminars and seek critiques from other well known artists. James visited the Santa Fe and Toas areas frequently in his early adulthood to gather subject matter and to meet and study with the many artists living there. In May 2000 James moved to Santa Fe where he has lived and worked out of his home studio ever since.


 "I draw my inspiration from the Mountain West of the United States, most particularly the Southwest. The grand vistas, the one hundred mile visibility, the high altitude skies and spectacular cloud formations all create in me an intense desire to capture in paint the fleeting effects of light and shadow. I am stirred by the bare bones of the landscape left visible by the arid climate, the rocks and jagged crags, and even more so by the sight of distant and scarce rainfall, that sustains the thirsty and rugged countryside. I am challenged to capture in oil paint the subtle effects of the atmosphere on the vividly colored rocks and the myriad different blues, greens and purples of the hardy vegetation. I am captivated by the people who inhabit this hard land and their adaptations to living in this climate, hot and arid in summer, cold and fierce in winter. Some of my favorite subjects are the small mountain villages of northern New Mexico, many of which were founded 300 years ago. I am drawn by the organic character of the adobe buildings, and the color harmonies created by using the local earth to build these villages, allowing the structures to blend with their surroundings as no where else in my experience. Many of these hamlets are situated in spectacular, unspoiled scenery. The Southwest is an area in flux. Great changes are occuring. The traditional is being supplanted by the new. I feel both lucky and privileged to be able to record in paintings the last years that these places will appear genuinely different from the rest of American culture. I am motivated to try and capture in oil paint the miracle that is nature. I work both in plein air and in the studio, believing that the two disciplines compliment and enrich each other. When working in plein air the artist must work quickly and decisively. The movement of the sun affects the color of the light and location of shadows. The weather changes, clouds move through the scene, their shadows at once accentuating and hiding different parts of the chosen scene. The drawing must be right the first time, The decisions of composition, what to include or what to leave out must be made early in the session. Painting in plein air is a situation where it is best if the artist knows his materials and techniques intimately, allowing the artist to work intuitively, focusing his entire effort on the subject and the painting. By contrast, painting in the studio can be a measured process, where the passage of time is not so important, and a painter uses his intellect to carefully work out solutions to questions of composition, color, and value. Using plein air work and photographs for reference allows for careful study of the subject. There is opportunity to refine drawing and use multiple thumbnail sketches to experiment with the composition. There is ample time to complete large works. The wind doesn’t shake the canvas, and the rain doesn’t soak it. It is a more comfortable environment in which to work out problems and to experiment."

Artist's Curriculum Vitae:


May 1974: Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado. Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art with Cum Laude Honors and in the Top Ten Percent of the Class.


August 2012: One man show at LongCoat Fine Art, Ruidoso NM.

May 2008: Five man show with Gerald Farm, Rod Hubble, John Cogan, and Jim Tschetter entitled "The Lunch Bunch" at the James Henderson Fine Arts Center of San Juan College, Farmington, NM.

November 2005: One man show entitled "Light and Shadow" at the Museum of the Southwest in Midland, Texas.

October 1990: Two man show with Santa Fe artist Rod Hubble at the Fine Arts Gallery at San Juan College in Farmington, New Mexico.


August 2012: “Western Art Collector Magazine”

November 2008: “Natural World Observed 2008 – Adam Whitney Gallery”

May 2006: "Plein Air New Mexico, Volume One of the Jack Richeson Fine Art Series".

Permanent Collections

Museum of the Southwest, Midland, TX.

George Phippen Museum, Prescott, AZ.

San Juan College, Farmington, NM.

Eleventh Judicial District Court, Aztec, NM.


National Academy of Professional Plein Air Painters, 1 of 8 Founding Members & Signature Member, 1998 to 2010 when the organization disbanded.

Juried Exhibitions

September 2016 to January 2017: Grand Canyon Celebration of Art,  Grand Canyon National Park, Plein air Paintout and Show at Kolb Studio.

April 2016: The Nita Stewart Haley Memorial Library Annual Show and Sale. Midland, TX. Every year from from 1992 to 2016

October 2009: National Academy of Professional Plein Air Painters' "Nature Observed" national show at the Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota, Duluth, MN.

November 2008: National Academy of Professional Plein Air Painters' "Nature Observed" national show at the Adam Whitney Gallery, Omaha, NE.

February 2007: National Academy of Professional Plein Air Painters' "Nature Observed" national show at the Texas Gallery, Dallas, TX.

June 2006: The National Academy of Professional Plein Air Painters' "Nature Observed" national show at the Elk Horn Gallery, Winter Park, CO.

September 2005: National Academy of Professional Plein Air Painters' "The Natural World Observed" show at the National Arts Club in New York City, NY.

December 1998: The Nita Stewart Haley Memorial Library Christmas Miniature Show, Midland, TX. Every year from 1996 to 1998.

January 1990: "Artists of the West" exhibition and sale put on by the Rotary Cub of Colorado Springs. Art from second one-hundred 1989 "Arts For The Parks” competition. Colorado Springs Co.

September 1980: The New Mexico State Fair Fine Arts Competition, Albuquerque, NM.

September1977: The New Mexico State Fair Fine Arts Competition, Albuquerque, NM.

July 1977: Colorado Juried Arts and Crafts Summer Festival, Best Booth of Show, Pagosa Springs, Co.

January 1977: The New Mexico Art League National Small Painting Exhibition, Albuquerque, NM.

June 1974: Colorado Intercollegiate Exhibition at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO.