James Lumbers graduated from the Ontario College of Art and worked for many years as an industrial and corporate designer. It was in the late 60’s when he started to paint. When an opportunity was presented to him to join a scientific expedition to travel to the Sub Arctic to document the wildlife of the area. His love affair with the north was to continue for the following 10 years.
In 1973 Lumbers was elected a Fellow of the Explorers Club of New York as a result of his visual documentation of peoples and wildlife of the far north. In the same year he was also elected a member of the Society of Animal Artists of New York.
Lumbers is documented in Who’s Who in American Art and A Dictionary of International Biographies in the UK, as well he has appeared on numerous TV and radio shows over the years and there have been documentaries, magazine and newspaper articles produced about the man and his art .
By the late 70’s Lumbers was recognized as one of Canada’s best known realist painters. Over the years, he has had numerous exhibitions across Canada and through the United States. The one recurring theme in all his work is portraying our heritage in Canada and the traditions that make us what we are.
Lumbers has painted many celebrities over the years, John Diefenbaker, Chief Dan George, Sir Edmund Hillary, Andrew Davis & the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Wayne Gretzky, Gordie Howe, and Joe Montana and several other personalities.
The style of painting that brought international recognition to Lumbers all started on a summer afternoon some years ago. When sketching an abandoned house on an island in The Georgian Bay, he found a diary with some photo negatives tucked inside it. Some months later, he printed these negatives and found that someone had photographed the family sitting on the same porch as in his sketch. The diary documented that the pictures were taken in 1913. It was this event that launched a series of paintings that is still ongoing today and called “Moments in Time”.
Lumbers has developed a strong sense of history while researching his paintings and has often remarked that “We are the products of our memories and traditions”. A book was published in 1993 about the man and his work. Today Lumbers is a household name across Canada and recognized for his subjects around the world.