Janice James was a Florida watercolor artist who specialized in landscapes and seascapes. The vibrant colors of her works of art come from her passion and creativity. As a member of the Florida Watercolor Society, Janice has been featured in many local and national exhibitions.
For those who appreciate the beauty of the world around them, Janice’s works offer a unique window into the beauty of the natural world. Through her art, the artist hopes to inspire viewers to connect with nature, everyday scenery, and landmarks to appreciate its beauty and to understand the importance of preserving it.
""Janice James always did an outstanding job of capturing downtown St. Pete and all of the special buildings that one remembers over time,” said Tom James (no relation), who founded The James Museum of Western & Wildlife Art with his wife, Mary. He and his wife own several of James’ pieces.
“She was like a memoirist,” said Lennie Bennett, the Tampa Bay Times’ former art critic.
James was a community artist.
“She valued where she lived,” Bennett said, “and understood its importance.”
James found art as a 9-year-old and, as an adult, had a career in commercial art. In her 20s, she drew for department stores in Miami. She met her husband at the University of Miami but didn’t reconnect with him until the day she stepped into the bank where he worked as head teller. They started golfing together on weekends and married in 1955. James sewed her wedding dress and the dresses of her bridesmaids.
The couple had three daughters, Kathy, Sandy, and Joanne, and James stopped working to raise them. She turned her talents to making their clothes and her own. She also painted in oils and acrylics, then she found watercolors.
In 1972, Bill James’ career in banking brought the family to St. Petersburg, where James started painting local landmarks, including the Vinoy, the Don CeSar, and the Snell Isle Bridge.
Her prints always sold well, said Gilbert Johnson of Poor Richard’s Framing, and he’s sure many homes in St. Petersburg’s northeast neighborhoods still have James’ work hanging.
“It wasn’t just that she was doing the scenes that attracted all of us,” James said. “She was talented enough to be a fine artist who made a living doing what she was doing.” James donated her work to nonprofits to auction off, painted for community organizations, sewed the uniforms for her daughters’ cheer and majorette costumes, volunteered, played violin and golf, got every detail of her own outfits just right, doted on her granddaughter, Sarah, and loved a lobster and champagne dinner.
“She did things and we look back now and we’re like, how did she do that?” McKeithen said.
Some artists are introverts, Russell said, happy to escape into their work. That was not her mother. “She loved to be around people,” Russell said.
In 2004, James and her husband moved to Sun City Center. He retired while James kept painting, sewing and fussing over her outfits.
After her death, James’ daughters found a closet full of her work, including watercolors of the Italian countryside and private homes. They have more than 100 of her original paintings and prints. They aren’t surprised anymore when they bump into their mom’s work.
Throughout her life, she captured the places she loved. Now her work is part of the landscape"".