Minden artist finds niche in several media | NevadaAppeal.com

Minden artist finds niche in several media

Rhonda Costa-Landers

Artist James McKew of Minden is comfortable with using photography, oils, pencil and music. It is a suitable but not limited
Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Jim McKew displays one if his paintings at the Nevada Appeal building recently.

“It’s that artistic gene that won’t let me stop,” McKew said of his work. “But it does feel like a job sometimes.”

McKew, 39, began playing trumpet in 1974 in school bands, and later led performing bands and church worship groups. At the encouragement of friends, he explored other artistic venues for self expression.

He worked as a “stringer” photographer for the Nevada Appeal for two years, and over the next 10 years honed his skills in composition and light control. His work won awards at county fairs and Nevada Magazine and was published by Bird Watchers Digest.

McKew is also a member of Calvary Chapel in Carson City’s music ministry as a guitarist.

“Then I got into pencil drawing, then watercolors and finally settled on oils. I began with cowboy art, and recently, in the past year or so, began painting wildlife. Mostly North American wildlife – large animals.”

With his third oil painting of a large North American animal, McKew entered a contest sponsored by the National Parks Service called “Arts for the Parks.” He won the “Grand Teton Lodge Company Award of Merit,” and was named one of the top 20 artists from more than 2,200 entries.

With the award, he received a bronze medal and $1,500.

“I’ve won some awards from art shows I entered. But for this entry, I perused their Web site to see past awards and where I wanted to go with this.”

The painting, “Our Future,” depicts a cow moose and its calf. The Grand Teton Lodge’s employees were so impressed with the painting they asked the owner to purchase it.

The painting will first be on tour in 2005 with the National Parks Service.

“They purchased it for their corporate collection,” McKew said.

McKew is an engineering technician with Capital Engineering in Carson City. He does drafting and some fieldwork. He has been married to Kim for 19 years and has two children: Brad, 21, and Sierra, 17.

McKew said he has sold probably eight of his paintings. He works from his own photos for reference.

“I’m in the market for a gallery,” he said. “I send out my newsletter to six galleries, and I’m hoping somebody will pick me up. My work is available in print form. If somebody’s interested, all they have to do is call me.”

Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or