James Boissett was born and raised in both suburban and harbour side Sydney, Australia. He enjoyed the rich tapestry of that busy hub of commerce with its commanding views of mountains and ocean. He has worked for many years in that central city environment, watching the ever-changing development, the crowding of buildings outwards and upwards, that have variously impeded and yet expanded views of the harbour and its natural surrounds. He lived around the Cremorne Point and Neutral Bay areas beside Sydney Harbour and then moved to Gosford in New South Wales. By contrast he also enjoyed many holidays in country New South Wales with his mother’s relatives, exploring the rugged bush lands with their deeply contrasting colours and shapes.

Having a passion for drawing and painting (mainly Watercolour) since a child, he entered his first Art Competition with a Watercolour of an Australian Landscape at the age of 14. James began his pursuit of serious artwork by completing a course in graphic design in 1980 when he developed his real passion for watercolour as a medium. His early works included character design and cartooning for children’s books that emerged into a focused development of his skills as a representational watercolour painter of Australian city and landscapes, Nocturnes and Sydney Harbour Foreshores. His paintings abound with the clarity, the contrasts and strength of colour that is typical of his representation of the rich tapestry of the uniquely Australian visual experience, and his 40 years of painting, mostly in Watercolour.

Emphasizing clarity, strength and subtlety, he uses light, tone and distance to achieve this. In particular, his Sydney scenes capture what he calls the “Sydney Light” – clear, warm and brilliant!

Drawing on the variety of contemporary life, James likes the transparency and luminosity of Watercolour and the interplay of paint and paper. For this reason he very rarely uses opaque mediums such as gouache whilst never adding mediums such as acrylic, as these hinder the effectiveness of pure watercolour. Other water based mediums are less transparent than Watercolour for a number of technical reasons and do not display the same luminosity. His Watercolour Paintings are not mixed media interpretations and attempt to use the medium of Watercolour to its fullest potential.

He has been Feature Artist in various prestigious Australian art shows as well as regularly exhibiting in major competitions and Gallery Exhibitions in Australia, France and the USA, winning numerous awards. The achievements may be seen not only in his outstanding results in prestigious Open and Watercolour competitions across Australia, but also in that his paintings being found in private and corporate collections across Australia, the UK, USA, France and Taiwan.

In 2009 he painted for a month in France, on the South West coast off the Bay of Biscay, using the ancient port city of La Rochelle and island of ile de Re’ as bases for daily painting adventures. On that visit he opened his second Exhibition in La Roche-Sur-Yon. Further exhibitions were held in France and the USA in 2010 / 2011 with another planned at the end of 2011 in France.

In 2011 James painted in Italy. He produced paintings and, studies of areas such as Venice, Chioggia, Villages in the North West, and the Cinque Terra Coast and villages.

Many of the Art Galleries that represented James for years had closed by 2014 which presented the opportunity of focusing more on Corporate and Private Commissions as well as Direct Sales. This included creating a dedicated in-house Corporate Gallery of his Artwork within an Australian International Company in Sydney’s CBD near Circular Quay and Sydney Harbour. A showcase of his Watercolour Painting and Sydney Harbour.

He has been painting very large format Watercolour Paintings up to 2.5m long.

Since the age of 20 James has been attending Life Drawing groups using Charcoal or Watercolour to render fast, loose studies of the Human Figure. This process assists the ongoing advancement of his Drawing and Watercolour skills whilst pushing the boundaries of the Watercolour painting “process”. His Watercolour Figure studies abound with colour, vitality and expressions of form and gesture. Captured mainly under strong light, usually with timed poses of about 10 minutes each, the style is very different to the approach he normally takes in his artwork. Very free and expressive, they all display the main principles of Watercolour, the figure as a guide, and with no time for error. He has exhibited a number of these expressive Figurative paintings recently in a Sydney exhibition. They represent another view of the Watercolour process and the Artist’s broad capability whilst retaining the essence of the Medium of Watercolour.


Graphic Design School Randwick. 1977 – 1980

Illustration at Graphic Design School Randwick 1981 and 1982

Attended Mitchell School Bathurst and National Art School Sydney – including numerous residential painting courses, mainly in NSW

Professional Art Practice

From 1979 to 1992 a Freelance Artist/illustrator for Art Studios, Magazine & Book publishers. Full time Professional Painter and Studio/ Plein Air Artist, Commissions, Plein air painting expeditions in Australia, France and Italy. Some Private Tuition.

Selected Awards

  • First Prize at the Camden Art Prize for “Whispering Moments” in the Watercolour section
  • Highly Commended at the 41st Ryde Art Award for “The Painter” in the Watercolour section
  • Third Prize at the Sydney Royal Arts & Crafts Show for “Ethereal Light” in the Marine/Seascape Section
  • Highly Commended at the 38th Drummoyne Municipal Art Society Annual Art Award for “Restoration The John Oxley” in the Watercolour section.
  • Very Highly Commended at the 38th Drummoyne Municipal Art Society Annual Art Award for “Sydney Sketch -break” in the Drawing ( Pen & Wash ) section
  • Commended at the 40th Festival of Fishers Ghost Art Award for “The Sea Awaits – The John Oxley” in the Traditional section
  • Highly Commended at the Sydney Royal Arts & Crafts Show for “Looking On The Outside” in the Watercolour Painting section
  • Highly Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “Sydney Westside” in the Traditional section
  • Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “Rural Tones” in the Open section
  • Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “Morning at Clontarf “in the Watercolour section
  • Commended at the 39th Drummoyne Municipal Art Society Annual Art Award for “Elegant Form” in the Traditional section
  • Very Highly Commended at the Singleton Art Prize 2003 for “Bridge Street Shuffle” in the Traditional Section
  • First Prize at the 2003 Wattle Time Art Exhibition Cootamundra for “Fractured Earth” Bathurst, in the Open section
  • First Prize at the 36TH Annual Raymond Terrace Art Show for “Soft Light” in the Open Acquisitive Section
  • Highly Commended (2nd prize) in the Wagga Wagga Quota Rotary Art Competition and Exhibition for “High and Dry” in the Open section.
  • First Prize at the Australasian Turf Monthly Equine Art Award for “On The Mark” in the Watercolour section.
  • Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “Bridge Street Shuffle” in the Traditional Section.
  • Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “Maleney” in the Watercolour Section.
  • Commended at the Camden Art Prize for “High and Dry” in the Open Section.
  • First Prize at the 40TH Drummoyne Municipal Art Society Annual Art Award for “Landscape Unfolding” in the Watercolour Section.
  • Commended at the 44th Ryde Art Exhibition in the Watercolour Section
  • First Prize the Blackheath Rhododendron Festival Art Awards in the Watercolour Section
  • Highly Commended at the Parramatta Art Society Art Awards in Watercolour Section
  • Commended at the Central Coast Festival of Arts – Wyong in the Watercolour Section
  • Very Highly Commended at the 41st Drummoyne Municipal Art Society Annual Art Award for “Ambience and Luminescence” in the Watercolour Section
  • People’s Choice Award at the Hunter’s Hill Art Prize for “Morning Light Over Lower Fort Street”
  • First Prize at the Australasian Turf Monthly Equine Art Prize for “Duel” in the Watercolour Section.
  • First Prize for at the Tumut Art Exhibition for Highlights Over Gloucester in the Watercolour SectionHighly Commended at the 31st Annual Easter Art Exhibition – Port Macquarie in the Open Section
  • Highly Commended at the 31st Annual Easter Art Exhibition – Port Macquarie in the Watercolour Section
  • Highly Commended at the Winmalee Autumn Artfest Exhibition
  • Highly Commended in the Watercolour Section at the Singleton Art Prize

Selected Competition Exhibitions & Art Shows (not Commercial Galleries)

Multiple entries in successive years in such shows as – The Herald Sun Camberwell Rotary Art Shows VIC, Sydney Royal Agricultural Shows, Heysen Art Prize SA, Victor Harbour Art Shows SA, Camden Art Prize, Fisher’s Ghost Art Prize, Singleton Art Prize, Drummoyne Art Prize, North Sydney Art Prize, Gosford Art Prize, Tumut Art Prize, Wagga Wagga Art Prize, Ryde Art Show, Hunters Hill Art Prize, Kings School Art Shows, Hills Grammar Art Show, Southern Highlands Equine Art Prize, Scone Art Prize, and many others over the last 20 years

Mosman Festival Plein Air Show, Balmoral 2011, Manly Arts “Easels on the Esplanade” Show 2012

Selected Featured Artist Exhibition

2004 Featured Artist Exhibition, St Edwards Art Show, Caroline Bay, Gosford

Selected Commercial Gallery Exhibitions

2005 Aug, “Art Sydney 05” The Saints Gallery, Sans Souci, Sydney
2005 Oct, “Classical Discipline” with Lynne Naismith, Boyd Gallery, Narellan, Sydney
2005 Nov, “Tranquil Moments” with Jean Sindelar, The Saints Gallery, Sans Souci, Sydney
2005 Dec, Australian Watercolour Institute Exhibition, Gosford Regional Gallery, Gosford

2006 Mar, Group Show, Dural Galleries, Dural, Sydney
2006 Apr, Group Show featuring Sydney Harbour, McGrath’s Art Gallery, North Sydney

2007 Feb, “Impressions of Australia”, with Judy Hawking-Burnette, and Bronwyn Bancroft, The Seen Gallery, Decatur, Georgia USA
2007 May, “Exhibition of Recent Works” with Steve Graham, Moulton Gallery, Mosman, Sydney
2007 Aug, “Earth & Water” with Doug Sealey, McGrath’s Gallery, North Sydney
2007 Aug, “Specialist Equine Art Exhibition” Boyd Fine Art Gallery, Narellan, Sydney

2008 Apr, Group Show, McGrath’s Gallery North Sydney
2008 Jul, “The Lucky Country” with Robyn Gosbell, Moulton Gallery, Mosman, Sydney
2008 Sep, Art2muse at The Tom Dunne Gallery, Darlinghurst, Sydney
2008 Nov, Exhibition, James Boissett (Solo) Promenarts Gallery La Roche Sur Yon, France

2009 Mar, “Nocturnes” Exhibition (Solo), Promenarts Gallery, Balmain, Sydney
2009 Apr, “An Exhibition of Watercolours” (Solo), Promenarts Gallery La Roche-Sur-Yon, France
2009 Nov, Exhibition of recent works with Graham Cox, McGrath’s Gallery, North Sydney

2010 Exhibitions in France including on the island of ile de Re’ & La Rochelle with Promenarts Gallery France
2010 Jun, “Modern Australian Landscapes” with Judy Hawking-Burnette, The Seen Gallery, Decatur, Georgia, USA

2011 Apr, “Sydney Sur Yon”, Group show, Promenarts Gallery, France
2011 May, “Christchurch Earthquake Appeal”, Art2muse Gallery, Double Bay, Sydney
2011 Sep, “Arts ile de Re’ – “Contemporary Art Show of ile de Re’ “Promenarts Gallery, France

2012 Feb, 2012 Group show, Melbourne Watercolour Show, Without Pier Gallery Melbourne
2012 Feb, Exhibition with Bahar Mirzamahmoudian, Art2muse Gallery, Double Bay, Sydney
2012 Feb, Group Show, “New Beginnings” Boyd Gallery, Narellan, Sydney
2012 Aug, Group Show, “Vive La France” Boyd Gallery, Narellan, Sydney
2012 Dec, Group Christmas Show, Boyd Gallery, Narellan, Sydney

2013 to Present, Corporate and Private Commissions. Gallery Sales. Direct Sales
Large format Watercolour Paintings to 2.5m long
Promoting and exhibiting my expressive Watercolour Figurative Art

Selected Publications and Promotions


“Contemporary Australian Art Portfolio” – A publication for an Austrade Export Project marketing Australian Artists entering the American market, promoted by the Australian Trade Commission.


“200 Tips and Trade Secrets for Watercolour Painting”, by Robin Berry. By – Quarto Publishing, London


The featured Painter in a group show with Photographers, promoting Australian Art to BMW (America), at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney

View artist’s Bio in PDF format.