Colt, James Lee

James Lee Colt

  (Am. 1922-2005)

The following information is from the artist’s obituary, University of Texas Education News James Colt was forever the teacher of the philosophy behind great art. This quote from him sums up the core values of his life works: “Every great painting has it’s own ‘Tour De Force’. It conjures up human perceptions of fear, nostalgia, peace, or horror. You want to be sure you can back up your profundity of thought graphically. You want to set up an anxiety and tension in the viewer.” James L. Colt was born James Lee Clutter on December 18, 1922 in Kansas City, Missouri. He changed his name to James Colt in 1977. His parents were Edna Frances and Chester A. Clutter. His father died in 1926, and his mother, Edna, remarried in 1927 to Harold M. Haskin. Colt moved to Southern California with his mother, step father, and older sister Marian between 1927-1930. He loved to sketch and paint as a young boy. His early years were spent in San Jacinto, California and in Arizona near the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation. He attributes his concentration on the 1870 era in his western paintings to his family history. His great grandfather was in the cavalry in the Civil War. His grand parents entered Oklahoma Territory to participate in the opening of the Cherokee Strip. An uncle was a Rough Rider with Teddy Roosevelt at San Juan, and another uncle was a farrier in Springfield, Missouri. The educational background and qualifications of James Colt include formal training in classical art. He has earned both an A.A. degree and a B.A. Degree. In addition, he studied at both Otis and Chouinard Art Institutes. His ability to execute transparent watercolor and gouache were self-developed. The professional achievements of James Colt have been recognized by his election to membership in three societies: Society of Illustrators, New York Pastel Society of America, New York American Artists Professional League, New York His work has been exhibited in the National Art Club of New York as a charter member of Pastel Society of America and in the American Watercolor Society shows at the National Academy galleries in New York. Colt’s style of painting is best described as Semi-Abstract Impressionism. The vast majority of his works were western acrylics and watercolor gouache. Colt’s best sellers during the 1970’s were paintings depicting race cars, bull fighting and westerns. Almost all of his paintings displayed both movement and drama. He was an art teacher with his own studio in the mid 1960’s through mid 1970’s where he taught around 30 students per week in Newport Beach, California. Colt’s Impressionist style was influenced by two Spanish artists, Velasquez and Goya. His greatest influence was also his teacher in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Sergei Bongart, who was the student of Nicoli Fechin. James Colt was fascinated and completely absorbed in his artistic life style and calling. If anyone could be used as an example of the label “Eccentric Artist”, it would be James L. Colt. He was able to connect and express himself to others mainly though his art.