The Art of James Brandess

– Posted in: Miscellaneous

It is cold and dreary here in the Midwest. Snow is blanketing the ground. I am inspired by recent correspondence with an artist friend of mine to share his colorful work with you. Photos courtesy of James Brandess Studios & Gallery, Inc.


On pleasant summer days, it’s common to find a crowd of people peering through the front window of Saugatuck, Michigan’s former Post Office. The historic building is now home to the James Brandess Studios & Gallery. Jim frequently paints portraits and still-lifes in the front window.  


"Summer Marsh, Saugatuck, Michigan"

Jim trained at the world-renowned Art Instititute of Chicago (AIC). Before opening his own studio and gallery 15 years ago, he had the benefit to work at Ox-Bow School of Art in Saugatuck. Ox-Bow was founded in 1910 by a group of artists affiliated with the AIC. According to M. Travis DiNicola, “Ox-Bow is a strange mix of a haven, a school, a summer camp for adults, and a resort. It is a place where artists – both teachers and students – go to be renewed by being a part of a community dedicated to art and learning.”

"Springtime, Kalamazoo River, Saugatuck"

"Springtime, Kalamazoo River, Saugatuck"

It’s easy to see why Jim stayed in Saugatuck. The charming resort community is nestled on the shores of Lake Michigan and at the mouth of the Kalamazoo River just a 2-hour drive from Chicago. Saugatuck is surrounded by rolling dunes and pristine natural forests. It is the perfect place for an inspired artist!

"Oval Beach, Summer"

"Oval Beach, Summer"

I was introduced to Saugatuck and Jim Brandess 10 + years ago when I attended an opening at his gallery. At the opening, I fell in love with his Impressionistic style. It was only years later that I was in a position to acquire a piece. In fact, I commissioned him to paint my portrait (shown above, in progress). It was a painstaking process. I sat over several days totaling at least 15 hours. I couldn’t be happier with the end result!

Jim shared images of a canvas he painted this summer while standing in his own garden. The daisy and coneflower piece below measures over 6′ long and recently found a home. I am struck by the realism of this piece and Jim’s ability to capture movement. 


Do you have a favorite artist who is particularly adept at capturing the essence of flowers and gardens?  If so, please comment.

I am anxious to add another James Brandess original to my art collection. I hope you appreciate Jim’s work as much as I do. Please check out his web site for many more photos.

If you are looking for a delightful summer vacation destination I highly recommend Saugatuck, Michigan.

Adam Woodruff

Adam Woodruff

Adam Woodruff has practiced garden design since 1995. He trained as a Botanist at Eastern Illinois University. Woodruff attributes his unique design aesthetic, naturalism with a twist, to early college exposures to a diverse range of plants and environments (collecting trips in local prairies, field excursions to bogs in Canada and treks through forests of the Northeast). He also maintained the campus greenhouse, where he fell in love with tropicals. In recent years, influences on his designs include travels abroad to Europe, Asia and the Yucatan peninsula as well as observation of the work of great plantsmen such as Piet Oudolf and Roy Diblik. Woodruff’s designs often combine grasses, prairie natives and perennials with lush tropical foliage and seasonal blooms. This harmonious blending of plant material that is not conventionally grouped together is the ‘twist’ that makes his style unique.
Adam Woodruff

Latest posts by Adam Woodruff (see all)

4 Comments… add one

Leave a Comment

Nancy Bond January 29, 2009, 12:28 pm

Lovely — his art has an “Impressionistic” tone. I adore the daisy and coneflower piece — I wish it had found its way to my living room! 🙂 Thanks for sharing this.

Nancy, I was wishing the same thing. I need to stay in better contact with Jim. His work is very popular so the window to purchase a piece he is painting seems to be rather narrow. I have missed several great opportunities. I noticed a beautiful winter scene on his site the other day. It is in the original artwork section and is titled “River Bluff Park, Saugatuck”.


LINDA from EACH LITTLE WORLD January 29, 2009, 12:33 pm

What a pick me up on a grey day! I never tire of looking at art. We have something similar in Door County, WI where I’ve taken drawing classes with a friend on and off over the years at the Peninsula Art School. We spend the morning in class, the early afternoon drawing, the late afternoon visiting galleries and the evening reading. Just about a perfect vacation.

I have a gardening friend who does lots of great garden and landscape paintings: Cynde Quinn. If you click on “paintings” on her site you can see a variety of work.

Thanks for your comments Linda. I’ve heard great things about Door County. I hope someday to retire to a resort community. Everyone seems so relaxed and happy. Although, Wisconsin and Michigan winters don’t appeal to me!

I can’t seem to access your friend’s site. Can you repost the link? Thanks


Cameron(Defining Your Home Garden) January 29, 2009, 5:11 pm

I run a series “Gardens in Art” on my blog where I feature NC artists whose paintings are inspired by gardens. Also “Art in Garden” with sculptures, etc.


Cameron, thanks for sharing!


Tweety November 12, 2009, 4:41 am

I have a 1994 painting called “Flower” and it is autographed by James Brandess. It is number 128/5000 and I was wondering if anyone knew what the value is on his art work?

Tweety. You might call the studio to inquire. (269) 857-1937.


[shareaholic app=”recommendations” id=”13070491″]