About Wendy James

Digital Photomontages

My intent is to create environments that reflect the atmospheres of our inner worlds.  Often there is one unidentifiable figure as a port of entry for the viewer.  The figure is frequently experiencing an alone moment, not phased by the altered, surreal environment.  For a split instant I hope for the scene to be plausible and then to knock the viewer off balance by a skewed perspective, placing un-likes together, or morphing one part into another. Maybe the scene will become a stage set for the feeling of a past memory or daydream.

I begin with a compositionally dynamic background photo. This might include strong diagonals, high contrast, repetition, converging lines, large black areas, etc.  Next I pour through years of accumulated film and digital images looking for ironic opposites, suitably posed figures, or symbolic objects, taking visual clues where a shape or line might fit or morph easily.  I usually have many photomontages “under construction” at a time. Many random images are displayed on the computer simultaneously until two jump out as a perfect match. Sometimes the process is instantly magic and fluid and sometimes an image will sit for weeks until the perfect mate appears. Using black and white images are ideal for seamlessly merging or pasting parts.

Oil Paintings

My oil paintings originate from photographs. I look for ordinary subject matter. I try to see “the usual in an unusual way” when I capture the image.  Making color decisions are very exciting for me.  Photoshop is my sketchpad and playground. I digitally manipulate and adjust the color until I’m satisfied. Sometimes the hours on this step exceed the hours spent painting.  I use my newly altered photo as a reference as I paint.  My intent is to make the viewer rethink our common, everyday scenes/objects and taste them as a new color flavor.


I graduated from Glassboro State College with a BA in Art Education.  In 1979 I began teaching art at Essex High School where I presently teach classes in ceramics and photography.  Initially, my artistic preference was working in clay, making figurative sculptures and pottery.  I became drawn to black and white photography, especially close up abstractions from nature, landscapes, and man-made structures. As the digital world made the process of combining images easier, I moved toward creating photomontages of surreal scenes. My most recent endeavor has been painting in oils.

Awards include:

“Art’s Alive 2010” Second Place (photography)

“Art’s Alive 2009” Second Place (painting)

“Art’s Alive 2008” Third Place (painting)

2008 Champlain Valley Fair “Best of Show” (painting)

“Helen Day Art Center Award of Excellence in Photography” in 2005

“Horace Eldred Award for Photography” at the Bryan Memorial Gallery in

2004 and 2005.

Contact info: