I was born and raised in Newfoundland, Canada, and I discovered drawing at a time before I can remember. I have always been fascinated with figurative art, and I have strived to be a realist for far longer than I have known what the word meant. I took all the studio art and art history courses offered in my secondary school, and then I went on to get my B.F.A. at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada.
After the university, I showed my work in several galleries in Canada, took portrait commissions, gave a few artist talks, did some volunteer work, and I taught art on the side. Eventually, I found my attempts at a realist career failing in a gallery system more interested in modern art, and moved to Korea to teach English.
Teaching in Korea gave me time to re-evaluate my career, research technique, and hone my craft. I had time to reflect on the state of the art world, and I recommitted myself to making realist art that promotes beauty and a sense of purpose. I want to contribute to a revival of traditional art-making and a reinvestment of value and interest from a currently disenfranchised and alienated public. I want to use art to awaken compassion and sensitivity in a generation that has been dulled by nihilism and desensitization.
Great art can provide transcendence, clarity of vision, and a sense of purpose. In the age in which we live, we as a society have an unfulfilled holistic need, and I believe traditional humanist art can help fill that need. I believe in the power and importance of humanism in art-making and its ability to benefit society. I believe it is the vocation and even the responsibility of artists to create and promote values in society, and to work toward fulfilling the needs of it and its individuals. That is the very important contribution I want to make to society and to my generation, and it is the legacy I want to leave to future generations.
To that end, I have returned to school. I am currently training in the full-time professional program at ARC approved Studio Incamminati. Studio Incamminati was founded by ARCLM Nelson Shanks in 2002, and it is the home of a dedicated staff and faculty and an exceptional curriculum. I am already enjoying what I am sure will be a wondrous journey, and I am looking forward to further immerse myself in the experience throughout the coming years.
"James Cowman's user's guide on composition and Dynamic Symmetry, in particular, was one of the greatest milestones on my journey of becoming a better artist. Dynamicsymmetryart.com is undoubtedly the best resource on the subject out there, which I keep recommending to anyone interested in taking their compositions to a new level. It shocks me that even otherwise excellent artists today often know nothing about these old systems and rely mostly on their intuition to create their compositions. It's time that artists rediscover and revive the lost knowledge of the old masters and bring art back to its former glory. Jame's user's guide is a unique and invaluable resource in this effort." - Storm Engineer
"Jim offers something that is almost impossible to find online: a truly one-of-a-kind resource. His information about Dynamic Symmetry is meticulously researched and comes from a place of knowledge and genuine interest, not sales, as so many educational sites do. Reading his surprisingly accessible work has helped me to grow artistically in a deliberate and satisfying way. I return to Dynamic Symmetry Art regularly and always learn something new." - Rebecca Isenhart
"The information provided in The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist has been a tremendous resource for me as an artist and photographer. My photography work has improved tremendously, and all of my clients agree! I'll continue to share this user's guide with all of my peers and other creative artists." - Zine Massey
"I just graduated from the BFA in Graphic Design at the Federal University of Pernambuco, in Brazil, and one of the chapters of my monograph was about composition. As a motion designer, the proper layout of elements is a very important phase in my creative process, so any tool that helps with making decisions on that is very valuable. What I love about your studies is that it's full of images and resources, it's a gold mine in my opinion. Thanks for providing so much information at an affordable price." - Eveline Falcão
"The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist deserves to be a physical book in Barnes & Noble & on my coffee table!" - Elliot McGucken
"The Art of Composition: A Dynamic Symmetry User's Guide for the Modern Artist is, without a doubt, one of the most comprehensive e-books ever written on the topic of design in art. Whether you're a beginner, intermediate, or advanced art/photography student, this user's guide is indispensable. I recommend it to all of my artists and photographers and have it linked to my website The Artist Angle." - Jennifer Finley "Though I am not a newcomer to photography, I am far from being a professional. So too, it has only been in the past few months that I discovered dynamicsymmetryart.com. I was transformed from being concerned with camera equipment, f-stops, shutter speed, ISO to considering how I would apply the principles of classical art training to my photography.
As I began reading about the old world masters, including da Vinci, Degas, Rembrandt, and Renoir, I learned that Dynamic Symmetry structurally changed paintings from being passive to active and dynamic. Furthermore, I didn’t realize that a small, yet renowned, group of photographers were well known for using Dynamic Symmetry in their photographs of city life and people. My journey began by reading. The Dynamic Symmetry Art website has numerous resources that gave me a crash course in art and composition. I had to learn about the visual properties of different kinds of rectangles and how each can be divided into compositional elements. Then I began using the Dynamic Symmetry grid overlays in Lightroom to analyze and crop my photos. I have found dynamicsymmetryart.com extremely beneficial, and it has contributed immensely with my efforts to improve as a photographer. Thank you for your commitment to art and art education." - Warren Wish
"With the passing of Myron Barnstone, we lost a great resource on the application of the Rectangles of the Masters and the Golden Section in creating art. But the website dynamicsymmetryart.com is carrying on that work Myron so thoroughly believed in and taught. Dynamic Symmetry can be used in the simplest of ways as well as being infinitely complex if one desires. Great minds such as Leonardo da Vinci recognized the power that this compositional tool offers. Dynamicsymmetryart.com is an amazing reference for artists who are open to exploring the benefits of using Dynamic Symmetry in their work. It applies to all the arts and resonates at a primal level of understanding harmony and beauty. Much thanks to James Cowman for his dedication to furthering this information to the public." - Master Artist and Teacher, Dot Bunn, Red Stone Farm Studio