A native of Oklahoma, Jim Daly was inspired by Norman Rockwell and began creating art as a child. Daly is arguably one of the most well-known Realist artists, and his paintings showcase everyday events in rural America and focus on childhood nostalgia.
Daly grew up during World War II and was fascinated with art at an early age. Encouraged by his mother to pursue his dreams of becoming an artist, Daly would often give paintings and drawings to family members and friends. Although art was a central component of Daly’s life, he passed up an art scholarship to enlist in the United States Army during the 1960s. He was stationed at Panama for the majority of his enlistment and attended art school after his tour. He married Carole Daly in 1976, and the two have had four sons.
As a young artist, Daly was inspired by Norman Rockwell and often painted scenes of children engaged in nostalgic activities. Many art critics view Daly’s paintings of children as a unique combination of rural life and childhood experiences. Paintings such as At It Again and Favorite Story showcase Daly’s commitment to realism and minute details. At the age of thirteen, he completed his first painting, The Old Barber Shop, which depicted a scene from his early childhood. While attending the Art Center College of Design, Daly was commissioned to draw a sketch for Al Aaron, the owner of the Aaron Bros. Gallery in Los Angeles. Daly created The Wall Street Journal for Aaron. The sketch was later mass produced and sold as a print. Daly’s relationship with Aaron continued for two years as he continued to provide drawings and paintings to the gallery. After earning his degree, Daly transitioned to using oil as a paint medium. He slowly gained recognition, and his paintings can now be viewed in several permanent collections of museums and historical societies. In 1986, Daly’s art was selected by the Public Communications Foundation to appear in the Public Broadcasting System’s The West of the Imagination, a documentary featuring artists who shaped the public’s view of the American West. Daly continues to create paintings and has been published in various collections for over forty years. Several of his paintings, such as Bedtime Story, have been used as illustrations for children’s books, including the popular Mother, I Love You and Sugarbush Spring. He currently exhibits his latest creations at Lahaina Galleries in Hawaii and art shows throughout the United States.