Chelsea Bentley James

Chelsea James
Chelsea James

Chelsea Bentley James studied art at the University of Utah and shows her work at Dolby Chadwick in San Francisco.

After some early success with still life paintings, Chelsea was advised to “Paint what makes your heart hurt.” Although those early still lifes were necessary to her technical growth and she loved painting them, Chelsea felt they might become somewhat formulaic. So she looked for a motif that was uniquely hers and found the vulnerability and openness of the desert.

This conversation echoes a recurring theme here on the Savvy Painter podcast: which is to trust yourself first. As Chelsea will tell you, you can’t fool anyone, and when you paint from your heart and trust your intuition, your authenticity is rewarded. People notice.

Chelsea and I also talk about her painting process, allowing a series to grow, avoiding preciousness and even painting with toddlers in the house.

Other Artists Mentioned:

Nicolas de Staël (in the interview, Chelsea mis-remembered his first name as Daniel)
Vincent Van Gogh
Ann Gale


Recent Paintings


Earlier Works We Talked About In the Interview:

The bread painting that started it all.
The bread painting that started it all.
"Composure 12 x 18" Oil on canvas 2008
“Composure 12 x 18” Oil on canvas 2008
'Green Beads'
‘Green Beads’
'Off the Hook' 36" x 36" oil on canvas - still life 2006
‘Off the Hook’ 36″ x 36″ oil on canvas – still life 2006
First landscape painting that changed Chelsea's direction
First landscape painting that changed Chelsea’s direction

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