Art @ the Library - September 2013
Jim Murray
Reception: Saturday, September 14, 2013 2-4 p.m.
Music by Lisa Calvo

Our September artist, Jim Murray, came to discover his talent as an artist on a most creative path. Born in Winthrop, he lived in Billerica and later moved to Chelmsford. As a young man he joined the Navy and was a member of the Seabees, the construction battalion. Jim supervised Survey Crews and the Soils Testing Lab. As a Seabee he helped to design and layout highways, airstrips and military bases.
After the Navy, he studied Civil Engineering at Lowell Tech (now University of Mass/Lowell). To fill out his college schedule he decided to add a few electives. He chose some art classes taught by artist Carlton Plummer. “It was as a student with Plummer that I discovered my potential to create with oil paints.” he explains.

His painting took a back seat as he pursued work as a technical writing contractor where he created “exploded drawings” for various technical firms.  He also took up other occupations. In 1975, he took on an eighty-acre tree farm operation in Limerick, Maine, and in 1977, he started a company designing and building custom stonework for high-end homes and restoring stone churches, chimneys and historic structures.

Not one to turn down an opportunity, in 2004, he auditioned for and was selected as “Skipper Jim” in “The Real Gilligan’s Island” Reality TV Show on TBS.  He made appearances on “The Ellen Show,” “The Larry Elder Show,” and “E.T.” He placed fifth out of fourteen contestants in Survivor Style Challenges. He also was a background extra on “The Proposal” and was Santa at the Mall, for Cherry Hill Photo in 2006.

More recently, Jim has been working as a Longshoreman in the Port of Boston where he operates a yard crane, works as a mechanic, welder and safety officer, among other tasks, on both cruise ships and cargo ships. He is proud to be a union member of International
Longshoremen’s Association (ILA) Local 805, East Boston.

Lately he has made time to return to his passion of painting. He works with a variety of media: pastels, oil, pencil and pen and ink.  He says he likes oil the best because he enjoys “getting a painting to glow.”  He finds working with pencils and pastels to be the most challenging. “Pencil is a craft that requires a lot of skill.” He explains. “Using layers of chalk when working with  pastels requires a steady hand.”
He describes himself as “an illustrator exploring paintings.” His background working as a technical writer and illustrator taught him to have the patience to pursue details. “I like the juxtaposition of manmade and mechanical objects with natural surroundings –as tractors alongside a nice landscape or shore cranes and ships against a colorful sunset, for example. The two work together well.”

Jim says, “Art shows the best of the human condition. It inspires people and makes them feel good.  Like natural light and colors, beauty is everywhere.” Jim and his wife Dorothy have raised two sons - Sean and Eric and have been blessed with six grandchildren: Connor, Eric Jr., Allison, Ryan, Gavin, and Jenna.

Learn more about his acting on this website: