“If people say my paintings bring them closer to their roots, then that’s fine with me.”
The paintings of Jesse Barnes are some of the most popular and valuable works of art being produced today. His paintings garner a significant amount of worldwide recognition. He was even given a prestigious honor of being commissioned to produce a painting to benefit the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. Even with worldwide fame, he continues to make his home and produce his artwork in the Ozark hills, right where it all started.
THE EARLY YEARS
Jesse Barnes was born in Jefferson City in 1936 and moved to Springfield when he was two years old. He attended school in Springfield but dropped out before graduation to help support his family. Jesse’s artistic ability developed early, and people gained interest in his artwork before he was even a teenager. His first original oil painting was bought by his elementary school principal when he only ten years old.
RISE TO FAME
Jesse refined his craft through his early years as he grew up through “self-taught” trial and error. Hallmark commissioned prints during this time as he worked with the craft guild. Through the guild, he displayed his works at malls throughout the Midwest and at Silver Dollar City. His paintings of country settings made him one of the most popular artists in the Branson amusement park, as visitors repeatedly asked where they could find the “light” painter.
SHOW ME SUCCESS
Word about Barnes’s unique style spread, and “The Light Painter” was soon a famous name among art circles. His first Limited Edition Print, Night Before Christmas, was released in 1983 and proved to be a major success. The print was originally offered for seventy-five dollars but is now sold in art stores for thousands of dollars, if you can find one. He developed a cult-like following, with fans standing in line for hours to buy the prints on the day they are released.
Since the famous style debuted in 1983, Barnes has released over seventy-five Limited Edition Prints and has been named to the USArt Hall of Fame. He has also created prints for the Bradford Exchange for Limited Edition Collector’s Plates. He still lives in his hometown of Springfield and continues to paint in a small room in his basement. His work is inspired by life in the Ozarks and his travels across the country, but Jesse stays true to his roots by choosing to make Missouri his home.
*Barnes owns the copyright to the title “The Light Painter.”
*At least one owl is included somewhere in almost every painting he produces.