James WillisTutor Profile


James Willis     


speciality: architecture and art history


James has been tutoring with Art Safari since 2014, with many happy tours to Italy and Turkey as well as workshops in London and Suffolk.

James is well known for his large views of Italian cities in oil, acrylic and watercolour. He is a popular tutor at the Sir John Soane Museum in London and has access there to a wealth of architectural fragments and knowledge as well as a superb collection of paintings, including Canaletto. You may recognise him as a frequent contributor to The Artist magazine.

He lives in Hertfordshire.  In preparation for his paintings of London he has been researching locations to find the familiar views that also enhance the perspective in a fresh way.  This has led to many days of drawing in situ to find those views that work to best effect.

“The more work I have done in preparation, the more I have found that my original concept has evolved into showing the changing relationship between historic London and the new as well as exploring the more traditional panoramic format to illustrate the relationship between the city’s buildings and their horizontal and vertical lines.”

James Willis Venice“My aim in the finished works is to provide the viewer with a sense of place and time – a chance to look anew at many of the old and familiar city views.”

James has a BA Hons in Fine Art and Music as well as an MA in the History of Art.  His works are in private and public collections including with the Soane Museum (where he was the Resident Artist for some years), Luton Hoo Hotel and the Bentham Collection.   He lectures on painting techniques and concepts, Georgian Architectural Drawing and its historical context, the development of British Art in the 18th century and art in Renaissance Venice.   A number of his master classes – tackling oil and watercolour painting – can be viewed on YouTube. Details of his exhibitions, workshops and painting holiday are on his website.

For me painting is a way to explore the world and its people, to communicate my ideas about them and share my experiences.



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