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Style Magazine

Strokes of Genius

Nov 30, 2008 04:00PM ● By Super Admin

Award-winning local artist Barry Jamison, a Bay Area native and Folsom gallery owner, colors his world in bold shades of ambition. Not bad for someone who started drawing “all kinds of stuff,” testing oils and acrylics, and imitating rock ‘n roll poster art before finding his creative niche with pastels – the artistic medium that he currently favors.

Largely self-taught, Jamison has occasionally studied with various nationally known artists throughout his 50-year career, but credits his longevity and success to keeping an open mind. Today he draws inspiration from the local landscape, which he describes as, artistically, a “limitless possibility.” He refers specifically to the region’s open vistas, uncrowded backroads and underdeveloped natural spaces. The area surroundings complement Jamison’s affinity for pastels, a medium that allows him to explore color more conveniently. “Some artists will use an inordinate amount of intense colors in a work, which a lot of time, confuses the viewer as to what is the most important thing [the artist] wants them to see,” he explains. “I like to downplay surrounding areas of color while keeping the center of interest most vivid.” 

In addition to painting striking pieces of locally-inspired art, Jamison teaches classes at his Folsom-based gallery/studio, Sutter Street Pastels, which opened in 2002. The studio’s small-sized classes are open to the public and its students are given carte blanche to work on individual projects. During these sessions, master instruction is a given but also is fun. “Most people who join my classes prefer them to be relaxing,” Jamison says.  “When I can schedule it, I’m going to incorporate extended Saturday sessions where we’ll work on location. I’ll teach it like a mini-workshop, starting with a demonstration.”

Jamison currently has 16 different pieces of artwork on display at the Holbrooke Hotel in neighboring Grass Valley, and also displays a number of paintings at Edward Jones Financial Services in Folsom. This coming May he will host a one-man art show in Auburn. And somewhere during his packed schedule, he finds time to complete commissioned artwork.

In the future, Jamison plans to experiment with three-dimensional work and murals. He also envisions participating in invitational events around the country, such as plein air competitions and exhibitions, and would also like to see a “bona fide” juried art and wine festival in Folsom’s Historic District, complete with “minstrels, jugglers, and street theater.” He hasn’t ruled out starting an artists’ cooperative either.

Continual attempts by Jamison to evolve artistically are not surprising, given the fact that the artist says, “I believe my art to be evolutionary; I enjoy challenging myself with subjects that are interesting to me. The key is to be open to happy accidents that may occur and take a painting in a whole new direction.”

Discover more about Barry Jamison and Sutter Street Pastels online at