Andrews’s paintings find a home at ChocMo

James Andrews next to his acrylic painting, “Meditation,” inside ChocMo Bistro in Poulsbo. Andrews’s art is on display now. A reception for Andrews will be held July 19.  - Kipp Robertson / Herald
James Andrews next to his acrylic painting, “Meditation,” inside ChocMo Bistro in Poulsbo. Andrews’s art is on display now. A reception for Andrews will be held July 19.
— image credit: Kipp Robertson / Herald

POULSBO — Thirty-nine years of painting currently hangs inside ChocMo. It’s that same 39 years that have led to James Andrews’s first art show. On July 19 from 7-9 p.m. at ChocMo, Andrews will present his paintings to the public.

Andrews has shown his work at festivals. This is the first time his paintings will be in a gallery exhibit of their own.

“If I sat around waiting to be discovered then I would be sitting around all my life, waiting to be discovered,” Andrews said at ChocMo. “I just had to go for it.”

Andrews set a goal for his work to be exhibited within two years. With the show at the Poulsbo business, he met the goal in half the time, he said. The art hanging on the walls, mostly acrylic, represents 39 years worth of painting. Not that the paintings themselves took 39 years, but its that time that brought Andrews to this stage in his work.

The gallery of Andrews work will be showcased through August at ChocMo. He precedes Marty Green (September to October), Greg McDonald (November to December) and work from Northwest College of Art and Design in 2013. The decision to start hosting galleries officially began in January. Mary Ryan, art space manager at ChocMo, said the owners of recommended Andrews’s art.

“When we saw his work, we thought it was really unique and thought provoking,” she said.

Andrews, a Silverdale resident, said his work is about connections. It’s about connecting people with the “why” or “why not.” The work could be described as surrealist.

The decision to seek out a show of his own happened after his supervising and leadership responsibilities at Kingston High School were eliminated, which cut about $5,000 of his income. Instead of worrying about loss, he saw an opportunity. He began working to build his career as a painter. He’s also been home more.

“It’s been nice,” he said. “I’ve been home for a lot more dinners.”

Andrews began working in the North Kitsap School District 13 years ago. He started at Kingston Junior High and transferred to the high school when it opened. Students have their own influence on his work.

“That’s probably the coolest thing about being an art teacher,” he said. “You have that constant, yearly changing source of inspiration.”

Working with about 150 students, he learns more from them than they do from him, he said. He teaches technique and work habits. He wants to help students “think and to see.” The variety of work he sees as a teacher helps inspire his own work.

“I feed off of them all the time,” he said. It’s a symbiotic relationship.”

The KHS teacher grew up in New York, where his father was an artist. Andrews went to college and studied theatrical design. He moved to Washington 13 years ago.

With his upcoming show, Andrews wants to show students that the people teaching them are also involved in their discipline. He said it’s too easy for students to question material if they don’t see an outcome outside the classroom.

Though it’s difficult — say impossible — to say how much time he’s put into the paintings, his wife and two children would say a lot.

Some work can “pour” out overnight. Take “Meditation,” for example, which he did in one 14-hour stretch.

Other work could sit for a while, which he would “chip away” at.

Looking forward, Andrews said someday would like to have paintings in shops around Seattle.


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