The artist, born in 1949, spent his childhood among sailboats and garveys on the waters of Toms River and Barnegat Bay in New Jersey. 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. Family sailing excursions from Chesapeake Bay to Maine have inspired works depicting present and past scenes of these romantic waters.
Lawless’s first recognition as a serious marine artist came in 1988 when his acrylic painting of the historic vessel Nantucket Lightship won honorable mention in the Sea Heritage Marine Art Contest and was exhibited at South Street Seaport in New York City. Two years later, Moonlight on Nantucket-1901, an oil painting of the side wheel steamer named for the island entering Nantucket harbor under a full moon, took third prize in the 1990 Sea Heritage Marine Art Contest and was on exhibit at Smith Gallery on Madison Ave in New York. His marine paintings have received accolades in many regional shows and competitions from New York to Florida and in 2005, the oil Naples-Morning Arrival was voted “The Peoples Choice” 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, and Helen Hayes Hospital in Haverstraw, NY. Galleries that have carried his original oils include the John Stobart Gallery in Edgartown, MA, the Noroton Gallery in Darien, CT, the Granary Gallery in West Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard, and the J. Todd Gallery in Wellesley, MA.
In 2001 following a portfolio review by the American Society of Marine Artists (A.S.M.A.), Lawless received Signature Member status. In 2004 Menemsha-No Hurry was chosen for the prestigious ASMA 13th National Exhibition. In 2014 Baguette earned the same honor when chosen for the 16th National. Then in 2019 Menemsha 251, an oil capturing the effect of the evening’s sun on the pilot house of a commercial fishing trawler, was selected for the ASMA’s Western Exhibition at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum in Oxnard, CA. From there it went directly on a coast to coast two year tour of five major maritime museums as part of the ASMA’s 18th National Exposition, the third such ASMA honor for this artist!
American Artist Magazine featured Lawless' artistic development and philosophy in a May 2006 article titled "Transitioning Into Fine Art" written by Editor-in-Chief M. Stephen Doherty (link available on the website).
J.A.V.M.A., the periodic journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, chose Dr. Lawless’ oil of his daughter’s Golden Retriever puppy encountering his first tennis ball, titled “Love At First Sight”, as the cover art for their June 15, 2019 issue.
The artist currently exhibits his original oils at:
CHATHAM FINE ART, 492 Main St, Chatham, MA 02633 508-945-0888 www.chathamart.com
Limited edition prints, signed and numbered, are available directly through:
LAWLESS GALLERY, 39 Academy Ave, Cornwall-on-Hudson, NY 12520 ~ Tel: 914-475-1615
Signature Member of the American Society of Marine Artists (ASMA) www.americansocietyofmarineartists.com
Follow on Facebook at: James M. Lawless, ASMA