Collection: Ralph James

Ralph Grady James

About the Artist

Ralph’s original inspiration came from his father, Eugene James, who was an artist as well as an architect and structural engineer. Mr. James seemed to capture images on canvas or paper with little effort at all; Ralph began to wrestle with capturing his own images even as a young boy.

Local seminars and the encouragement of other artists have impacted Ralph’s art as well. One pivotal seminar was led by Heiner Hertling, which introduced Ralph to oil painting; others have been led by John and Suzie Seerey-Lester. For several years, the encouragement (and challenge) of working with local artists in the weekly drawing group with Scott Burdick and Susan Lyon has inspired Ralph to continue to stretch his ability.


Ralph lived most of his life in the Piedmont of North Carolina. He attended N.C. School of the Arts in high school and later Indiana University to major in music. Although deeply committed to his study of music at the time, Ralph's passion for the visual arts resurfaced after he returned home and settled into life with his family.


He has always felt fortunate to be close to both the Appalachian mountains and the Atlantic coast. In 2022, he relocated to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia where natural beauty abounds. He has always believed that our connection with nature enriches our health—both mental and physical. His art attempts to represent that connection.