Art and Authenticity

Categories: 2023 May-June Issue, Bortz, Jim, Oil, and Wildlife.

In the action, beauty, frailty, or majesty, Jim Bortz infuses into his oil paintings a quality that results in sunlight landing perfectly, flowing river waters the viewer can almost hear, and animals that are more than reproductions. That quality stems from his immersion into the wild outside his home in Cody, Wyoming.

Bortz spends countless hours hunting, hiking, and taking photos that provide critical references for his work. “I spend a ton of time in the field,” he says. “I study the animals I put in my paintings. I want to know their biology; I want to know their habits, their habitats. And, when people see my paintings, I want that to come across to them.”

Septembers, for instance, are reserved for exploration. No painting, no work. “I spend the whole month in the mountains with my bow, chasing elk,” Bortz says. “It’s so cool, all the stuff you get to see when you’re spending an entire month in the mountains here. So few people get to do that. I’m fortunate that I’m able to live a life where that’s part of my work.”

Read the full article in the May/June 2023 issue.


18″ by 24″

“I love to fly fish and, when I do, I usually have my underwater camera with me. Clear mountain streams provide endless opportunities to gather great reference photos.”

Have You Seen Junior’s Grades?

24″ by 24″

“The dynamic relationships between members of a wolf pack intrigue me. I don’t usually get too anthropomorphic, but the facial expressions on these wolves lead me to the not-so-serious title.”