James Bland

James Bland
James paints in oils but first develops his ideas in sketchbooks before setting up his compositions in the studio with models and home-made props. As they progress, his paintings move away from being purely from direct observation towards memory and imagination, which is where the full range of influence is felt, from traditional Asian art to mediaeval manuscripts to children’s drawings.

James revises his paintings substantially, giving them latitude to change and depart from the original motif - a method inspired by Giorgione and Georges Braque. Objects, locations and figures might be painted out or in, canvases re-stretched and colour schemes completely altered. The alchemy of this unpredictable process is what gives each painting its unique character and excitement.


Born 1979, Grimsby

​Membership of Societies

​New English Art Club, from 2014

Contemporary British Portrait painters, from 2019

Solo Exhibitions

​​2024         Storytelling, Tregony Contemporary, Cornwall

2022         Awakenings, Tregony Gallery, Cornwall

​2019         Altogether Elsewhere, Gallery 286, London

​2019         Paintings 2019, Lilford Gallery, Canterbury

2017         Illuminations, Lilford Gallery, Canterbury

2017         An Artist in a State of Flux, Natsoulas Gallery, Davis, California

2015         Letting Light In, Lilford Gallery, Canterbury

2007         Wolfson College, Oxford University

​2003,05    Darwin College, University of Kent


​2015         winner, Doreen McIntosh Prize

2014         runner-up, Visitors' Choice Award, Threadneedle Prize

​2013         1st Prize winner, Winsor & Newton Oil Painters Award

​2007         winner, Janet Konstam Travel Award

​2007         winner, Artist Residency, Centro Verrocchio, Tuscany


​2020         Petit Lisy, Barbara, L'Enfance De L'Art (interview), Pratique Des Arts no.155, January 2021, pp. 36-41

2020         Bland, James, Four-Colour Experiment, Artists & Illustrators, January 2021, p.57

​2019         Seed, John, Disrupted Realism, Schiffer ISBN 0764358012

​2019         Pill, Steve, James Bland (interview), Artists & Illustrators, August 2019

​2018         Podlesnik, Joseph, Observational Drawing, Tempe Digital ISBN-13 9780986163753

​2017         Morton, Walt etc., Poets Artists #86, The New Nude

​2016         Bland, James, Imaginative Painting, Artists & Illustrators, December 2016, pp. 76 - 78

2015         Vann, Philip, James Bland in the Ruth Borchard Collection, 01 January 2016

2014         Bland, James, Introduction to Villaggi, Galleria Elle Arte, Sicily by Ilaria Rosselli del Turco

2014         Eaton, Terri and Pill, Steve, Ones to Watch, Artists & Illustrators, April 2014

​1993         Bland, James, Pilltris (Type-Ins), Amstrad Action #92

Selected Group Exhibitions

​2022                   Contemporary British Portrait Painters, The Dept Store, Brixton, London

​2022                   Contrast & Connection, Contemporary Six, Manchester

​2021                   Now We Are Six, Islington Arts Factory, London

​2021                   One: Single Object Still Life, 155a Gallery, London

​2021                   Contemporary Landscape, 155a Gallery, London

​2021                   Portraits in Isolation, the CBPP with the Net Gallery

​2020                   Heatherley's Staff Exhibition, Bankside Gallery, London

​2020 - 2023       Assemble, Tregony Gallery, London (various)

​2019                   Disrupted Realism II, Stanek Gallery, USA

​2019 - 2022       various, Tregony Gallery, Cornwall

​2019                   Art of Painting Conference, Natsoulas Gallery, California

​2018                   Disrupted Realism, Stanek Gallery, USA

2015 - 2020       International Figurative Biennale, John Natsoulas Gallery, California

​2013 - 2021       New English Art Club, Mall Galleries, London

2017 - 2018       Royal Society of Portrait Painters, Mall Galleries, London

2017                   Honouring the Legacy of David Park, Santa Clara University, California

2017, 2014        Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize, Mall Galleries, London

​2015                   ING Discerning Eye, Mall Galleries, London, by invitation

​2014, 2013        Royal Institute of Oil Painters, Mall Galleries, London

​2014                   Threadneedle Prize, Mall Galleries, London

​2013                   Ruth Borchard Self-Portrait Prize, King's Place, London

Academic Qualifications

​2004     MA Fine Art, Canterbury Christchurch University

​2002     BA (Hons) 1st Class in Fine Art, Canterbury Christchurch University

​1998     Diploma in Fine Art, Grimsby College


2022                   Penn Studio School of Fine Art

2020 - 2022       The Winslow Arts Center

2014 - 2017       Art Academy, London

2016                   Grande Borie, France

2014 - 2015       Arts in Provence, France

2010 - 2014       Kent Adult Education

2008 - 2009       Centre for Flexible Learning, University of Kent

2007                   Canterbury Christchurch University
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