Following the Line to Inspiration

Senior Gardener Jim Davis can be considered the artist-in-residence at South Plant. If you stop into the lunchroom in the Annex Building you’ll see his unique and interesting contour drawings hanging on the wall. While Jim finds inspiration in dramatic subjects like Seattle Seahawks players, most of his drawings installed at South Plant are of his coworkers.

“There’s something about an ordinary person doing an ordinary thing that is inspiring to me,” he says.

Jim has been an artist ever since his third grade teacher complimented one of his pictures. He’s been drawing ever since, but it wasn’t until he spent some time studying architecture that he chose his preferred style of contour drawing.

“The idea is you don’t pick up your pencil while you draw,” he explains.

Because Jim’s discipline involves not lifting the pen, even the slightest mistake means he has to start all over again, no matter how far along his drawing is. Contouring is only part of his art, though, because the real beauty of Jim’s drawings can’t be seen until he adds the color.

“To get that right is not easy because you’ve got to mix colors to get it perfect,” he says.

Jim does most of his work at home, but to help keep the process going he will do some shading and contouring at lunch or during his break.

“One of my coworkers saw me drawing and said he would buy one, but it takes me so long to finish no one could pay me enough,” Jim says with a laugh.

Rather than selling his drawings, Jim decided it would be fun to hang the finished products in the lunchroom.

“So far, everyone has really liked them, and I’m glad that I can make them feel happy,” he adds. “To be honest, because they take me so long, I’m happy just seeing the finished product. The compliments are just a bonus.”