A sketch of the Artist by Maggie Soule
Everywhere Mr. Stinchfield goes, you'll find people talking behind his back, "Mabel, come here and look at what this man is doing!""Unbelievable!"Pretty soon a small crowd gathers, peering over Mr. Stinchfield's shoulder and making comments. The artist welcomes the attention: in fact, the busier he is, the better he seems to like it. He has been known to draw from dusk till dawn at some functions while only leaving his chair for brief intervals (when mother nature calls).
Finding the sitter's chair empty for a moment one day, I settled down in it to get better acquainted with "Jim". I'd heard a lot already from his close fellow artisans. Not only did they describe him as a great artist with many publications to his credit, they seemed to enjoy his company immensely as well. As Jim talked about his work , his lively brown eyes seemed to study my face, registering every detail. He showed me his popular cartoon collection, "Aunt Emma and Uncle Earl" which has been published in print, calendar and cook book form."Why," I couldn't help asking, "is Aunt Emma the fat one? "Well," came the answer, "someone" had to be." The long chin snaps upward, the grin widens, the brown eyes squint merrily. It's easy to picture the artist as a small boy. "My parents sent me to art school, but I didn't stay long," he says, "I preferred to work on my own. For all practical purposes, I'm self taught." Choosing the University of Maine over art school, Mr. Stinchfield received his degree in Electrical Engineering and upon graduation began working in the electronics industry in Massachusetts. "I made a good living but it wasn't what I really wanted to do." While living in New Hampshire and commuting to Massachusetts, the Westbrook, Maine native dreamed of returning to his home state. All along he continued to draw as a hobby and produced many pieces of artwork for friends and relatives. In 1980, Mr. Stinchfield retired from engineering and moved back to Maine and transitioned himself from electrical engineer to full time artist. From his scenic mountain home he maintains a studio and travels to entertain at various functions around northern New England. On the road for art exhibits, and entertaining as a caricaturist at conventions, weddings, barmitzvahs, birthdays and project graduations, Mr. Stinchfield nevertheless does much of his work from phototgraphs, enabling him to serve clients from all over the world by mail and the internet. To his friends who have come to know Jim Stinchfield, the whole person over the years, he is "quite the artist and quite the guy". One credits him with inspiring her 14 year old son to resume drawing after giving it up as "not the in thing to do". Whatever he's doing, be it portraying the humble and the famous, creating editorial cartoons, illustrating books or entertaining with his caricatures at functions, people keep talking about artist , Jim. Stinchfield.
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