"Spirit" painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell

LH013: Jim Stilwell – Vision Quest Inspired Paintings

"Spiri"t painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell
“Spirit” 16×20″ acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell. 

Jim Stilwell is a painter of visions.   The images originated from some intense experiences he has had on Vision Quests.  Hence the parental warning at the beginning of the audio.  I wanted parents and other adults with children in their care to come here and read this post before deciding whether to listen to Jim’s interview in the presence of children.

The issue is that Jim very generously shares the details of his Vision Quest during the audio, including some events that could be frightening or confusing for children.  Jim was out for four days fasting in the desert and describes feeling visited by a demon.  He also alludes to his enactment of being in a coffin (his sleeping bag), and there area other references to death in the interview.  Also, because Jim has collaborated with veterans to paint their visions, there are mentions of post-traumatic stress disorder in this interview.

Ironically, out of an experience that included intensely frightening events came work that many find extremely uplifting and beautiful.  Some of the paintings do send strong messages about societal behavior and consequences (see below “Tipping Point” and “Welcome Home”).   Others include Native American imagery and imagery involving the natural elements and spiritual world.

Like many artists, Jim began his career as a commercial artist.  He became known for his architectural renderings and worked with developers and architects in Florida.   Along with examples of his paintings, below you will also find one of his architectural illustrations.

Soul Gift

Jim’s intention during his Vision Quest was to discover his soul gift.  Surprisingly, the answer was not art, even though creative images flowed as a result of the Quest.  A true highlight of this interview is hearing Jim reveal what he learned about himself and the purpose of his art.

Jim Stilwell, Asheville area artist
Asheville artist Jim Stilwell

To connect with Jim and see more of his work:

Other Highlights of this interview include:

  • Jim walking us through what his Vision Quest was like
  • what Jim refers to as “collaborations” in which he works with someone else to understand and then paint the other person’s vision.  Jim has worked on collaborations with members of the military and generously donates his work to veterans organization
  • Jim’s journey from architectural illustrator to creating the inspired types of paintings he does now
  • Jim’s love of sharing his knowledge of perspective drawing via classes his website and workshops. He has a whole separate website dedicated to sharing his methods.  He will be teaching an already-sold-out and wait-listed class at Olli (at UNC Asheville) called “Easy Steps to Creating Perspective in Art” beginning in January 2017.  Other opportunities to learn from Jim will be posted on his website as they arise.

Links mentioned during this episode:

  • Hero’s Journey Foundation (the organization that conducted Jim’s first Vision Quest)
  • Animas Valley Institute (the organization that conducted the Vision Quest Jim describes in-depth)
  • The Warrior Connection, a retreat center in Vermont which helps returning military veterans process their experiences and adjust to being back home.  Jim plans to donate 100% of the proceeds from the sale of his painting “Welcome Home” (the first one below) to the Warrior Connection and has also donated prints to them to sell.
  • his class at Olli (Osher Lifelong Learning Center at UNC Asheville)
  • Zapow Gallery, which carries Jim’s work

Other work by Jim Stilwell 

(Some pieces are noted as available for sale.  Prints of all of the pieces in this article are available: 11×14″ for $40 and 8×10″ for $15, and to purchase, contact Jim at jamesstilwell@bellsouth.net or 828-275-3214)

The below is the first collaboration painting created by Jim, discussed in the interview:

Welcome Home acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell, $2000, with full proceeds going to support the work of the organization The Warrior Connection
“Welcome Home” acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell, available for purchase for $2000, with full proceeds going to support the work of the organization The Warrior Connection, for inquiries contact Jim at jamesstilwell@bellsouth.net or (828) 275-3214.

The next painting is also discussed during the interview:

Tipping Point acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell
“Tipping Point” 20×24″ acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell

 

The next piece, called “The Last Crusade,” is the collaboration piece Jim refers to in the interview as “The Crusader”

The Last Crusade painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell
“The Last Crusade” acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell, commissioned piece, but 11×14″ prints are available for $40 and all proceeds will be donated to The Warrior Connection, contact Jim at jamesstilwell@bellsouth.net or (828) 275-3214.

 

Sister Moon acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell
“Sister Moon” 18×24″ acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell

 

"Fire Dance" acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell
“Fire Dance” acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell

 

Shoes acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stillwell
“Shoes” 16×20″ acrylic painting by Asheville area artist Jim Stillwell

 

"Mountain House" architectural drawing by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell
“Mountain House” architectural drawing by Asheville area artist Jim Stilwell

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “LH013: Jim Stilwell – Vision Quest Inspired Paintings

  1. Wonderful interview! Even though I get to experience Jim’s artistic world first hand – because he’s my husband; it was great to hear some extra details. Life with an artist, especially Jim, is always an exciting adventure. Thanks Meredith – well done.

    • Thanks, Edrianna! I’m so glad you liked the interview. I thought Jim did a fabulous job! And I appreciate your patience, how long you had to wait for us that day 🙂 You were an important part of the picture!

    • Glad you enjoyed the show, Carol, and thanks for listening and taking the time to comment!

  2. Great job, Meredith! Your voice is so professional, and the interview was awesome. I am so proud of you!

    • Thank you so much, Robert! I am so happy you got to listen and enjoyed Jim’s interview! I appreciate your taking the time to comment, too.

  3. What a blessing it was to experience the deep sharing about creating an ever more meaningful life by reflection, and willingness to open up to challenging, life changing experiences and collaborations. Thank you Jim for your time, sharing, and powerful inspiration.
    Thank you, Meredith, for your efforts and for sharing your ability to focus totally on each artist–you achieve in every interview a sort of social meditation that is amazing.

    • Erik, I am so happy to have you along for this journey 🙂 You help inspire me to keep going! I’ll make sure Jim sees your wonderful comment.

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