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jim bruce 300Jim Bruce

I have been a professional artist since I was hired as a layout artist by The Montreal Star in 1964. I started doing freelance illustrations for magazines in my spare time. In The Star Creative Services art department, I was made an art director after three years and enjoyed working with other artists, ad salesmen and clients. I began also to do more aviation art as my experience as an illustrator grew. I am a charter member of the Canadian Aviation Artists Association; member of the CAHS since 1964; and the Canadian Aviation Heritage Centre since its founding in 1999.

What is your artistic background?
My start as an artist was as a sports cartoonist with the Winnipeg Tribune. In my spare time I learned to draw and paint using top magazine illustrators in quality magazines as my "instructors". I relocated to Montreal with Air Canada (Trans-Canada Air Lines as it was called then) and after four years, moved to The Montreal Star as a layout artist; after three years, I was made an art director. I left The Star and was a freelance graphics designer/illustrator from 1973 until my retirement.

Why do you like to paint aircraft?
Aircraft represent action and excitement for me. They are also historical artifacts, with close associations with people.

What is your connection to aviation?
I trained to become a draftsman and got a job with Macdonald Bros. Aircraft in Winnipeg. After two years experience with MBA, I went to work at Trans-Canada Air Lines as an aeronautical draftsman and technical illustrator. I was also a private pilot at one time.

How do you choose a subject?
When an idea comes to me, I'll begin the research and do preliminary sketches. At this point I can determine whether or not to continue to the painting stage.

What are your favourite media to work with?
I like using oil for portrait painting and mostly use acrylic for aviation paintings. Many of my paintings have an acrylic underpainting and are overpainted in oil. I have worked with most media; watercolour is my preferred medium for landscape art.