Artist Bio


The artist, born in 1949, spent his childhood among sailboats and garveys on the waters of New Jersey's Toms River and Barnegat Bay. While pursuing a veterinary career, this primarily self-taught artist, experimented with various media, including acrylics, water colors, oils, pencil & ink and snow and sand sculpture. For two years he lived on Martha’s Vineyard concentrating on painting the land and seascapes that make this island oasis so alluring to the artist seeking luminosity. He has studied under the late contemporary realist Dominique Rickard and renowned marine artist Don Demers, and is strongly influenced by the works of John Stobart and Richard Schmid.  

An avid sailor, he has extensively cruised the waters of the northeast and raced his 35' cutter Spináche in several Marion-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Races finishing 4th in class in 1993, 1995 and 1999, and taking first overall honors in 2001. Sailing excursions around Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket have inspired works depicting present and past scenes of these romantic waters. Nantucket Lightship, an acrylic painting of the historic vessel, won honorable mention in the 1988 Sea Heritage Marine Art Contest and was exhibited at the South Street Seaport. Moonlight on Nantucket-1901, an oil painting of the side wheel steamer named for the island, entering Nantucket harbor under a full moon, was awarded third prize in the 1990 Sea Heritage Marine Art Contest and was on exhibit at the Smith Gallery, Madison Ave., New York. His marine paintings have received Honorable Mention (1995, 2000) and Second Place (2001) in the exhibit “Artists on the Campus” at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY, and Edgartown Regatta took First Place in the 2002 Arts Alliance Juried Show in Cornwall, NY. In February, 2005, his painting Naples Arrival was chosen for “The Peoples Choice” award in the Naples, FL Wet Paint Auction. Other works have been on exhibit at Painter’s Tavern in Cornwall, NY, the Lycian Center in Sugar Loaf, NY, Helen Hayes Hospital in Haverstraw, NY, the John Stobart Gallery in Edgartown, MA, and the Granary Gallery in West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard. 

In 2001 he received Artist Member status after a portfolio review by the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA). In 2004 Menemsha-No Hurry was chosen for the prestigious ASMA National Exhibition. In 2014 Baguette earned the same honor.  in 2019 Menemsha 251, an oil capturing the effect of the evening’s sun on the pilot house of a commercial trawler, was selected for the ASMA Western Exhibition at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum in Oxnard, CA.

American Artist Magazine has featured Lawless' artistic development and philosophy in a May 2006 article titled "Transitioning Into Fine Art" written by Editor-in-Chief M. Stephen Doherty. 

JAVMA, the periodic journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, chose Dr. Lawless’ oil of a Golden Retriever puppy’s first encounter with a tennis ball, titled “Love At First Sight”, as the cover art for their June 15, 2019 issue.

The artist is currently exhibiting his original oils at the Chatham Fine Art gallery in Chatham, MA.  

Limited edition prints, signed and numbered, are available directly through Lawless Gallery (see below).  

CHATHAM FINE ART, 492 Main St, Chatham, MA 02633 


LAWLESS GALLERY, 39 Academy Ave, Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY 12520 ~ Tel: 845-534-8001 or contact the artist by email at: 

Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA)

On Facebook at: James M. Lawless, ASMA