California painter James Hartman was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1950. He studied art at Meramec College. Hartman then went on to become an Art Director for a publishing company for 14 years, assisting in the design and graphics of a range of publications. Before moving to California in 1983, Hartman lived in Holland for over a year where the work of the Dutch masters and the colorful environs of the landscape inspired him.

His work in the Bay Area has included murals, and specialty paint finishes for a variety of clients. Living in the Bay Area has provided Hartman opportunities for further studies in Fine Arts at the San Francisco Art Institute and Stanford University. In the early 1990's he began to paint in earnest, mostly in the plein air style. In his paintings he searches for essential forms in nature, while expressing a personal response.

He lists amongst his influences the California Society of Six, and the Bay Area figurative painters David Park, Elmer Bischoff and Richard Diebenkorn. Hartman has participated in numerous shows throughout the Bay Area and his paintings are now included in collections both private and corporate internationally.