Midtown Raleigh News

Painter Jimmy Craig Womble II finds beauty in often-overlooked objects and settings

Pivers Island Morning, an oil painting by Jimmy Craig Womble II.
Pivers Island Morning, an oil painting by Jimmy Craig Womble II. COURTESY OF JIMMY CRAIG WOMBLE II

Jimmy Craig Womble II has painted old barns, abandoned houses, rusted-out cars and old fish houses.

He finds beauty in those oft-overlooked objects and settings – both the colors things take on as they deteriorate and the stories they tell about people and places.

“It’s funny,” said Womble, who works from a studio in Beaufort. “We’ve got so many beautiful landscapes here, but I’m prowling around the grittier area.”

A collection of Womble’s recent work will be on display starting Friday, Oct. 4, at Adam Cave Fine Art at 115 ½ E. Hargett St. An opening reception will be held during First Friday.

The show, “Flotsam,” features many images from the coast, along with several from Raleigh.

Womble said that his goal in his most recent work is not just to create something beautiful, but to pull the viewer into the scene.

“The unifying thing with all of these paintings, hopefully, is the path of light, which the viewer can travel through,” he said.

Womble grew up in Nash County and always was interested in drawing. After graduating from the School of Design at N.C. State in 1995, he headed back to Nash County, where he painted and worked odd jobs to make ends meet.

He started out painting the county’s old barns, and when he moved to the coast about a decade later, he turned his attention to its docks and boatyards.

Womble will sometimes learn the history of a place, but he often is content to imagine what went on. He likes his paintings to be general enough that any viewer can appreciate them.

“I don’t want to get too bogged down in the particulars,” he said.

Womble said he is in constant conversation with himself as he refines his work.

“I want each piece to have poetry, intensity and honesty,” he said. “How I get there is sort of what I’ve been wrestling with.”

That’s one plus of an event like First Friday, he said. It gets him out of his head and talking to people.

After looking at his paintings for three or four months, he finds himself wondering, “Is this any good?”

Viewers will let him know.

“You’ve just got to wait and see,” he said.