More Regional Artists - Lee Mims

Clayton, NC

Lee Mims


Being raised on a farm in Raleigh, NC with two older brothers taught me two things: to love the great outdoors and all its creatures and survival with big tough males is possible. You just have to stay a step ahead. When I went to college, I took what I’d learned to heart and looked for a career that would keep me outside and among men. No sense wasting lessons well learned. Geology was a perfect fit and, after receiving my Master’s Degree, I went to work for a large mining company as a field geologist. I spent almost everyday in the field surrounded by so much beauty that it inspired me to spend my spare time engaged in the drawing and painting I’d loved as a child.

Then my life took a turn, I got married, had children and moved to my husband’s horse farm. I needed a stay-at-home job so I decided to board and train horses. This worked out well because it supplied me lots of new subjects for my sketches which soon turned into formal horse portraits for my clients. Then, some of them actually wanted to pose a child or two with their favorite noble beast, and my portrait studio was born. Still, it wasn’t long before I felt constrained by portraiture, so I went to workshops with master painters like John Seerey-Lester and Heiner Hurtling and added plein air landscaping and wildlife art to the list of things I love to paint.

Before I knew it, 25 years had gone by and my portrait/fine art studio needed more time than I could give it and train horses, so I gave them up and went on the road with my art. I traveled from Pittsburgh to Miami, showing my work at various juried shows and sales. I’ve entered countless exhibits and contests, won awards and had one-woman shows at places like the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science, and the North Carolina Estuarium, and the Teresa Pelt Grubbs Gallery at the University of Mount Olive. My work has been displayed with the Arts for the Parks exhibit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and the Bosque Arts Center in Clifton, Texas. Most recently, I won best in show at the North Ridge Country Club in Raleigh and a place in their permanent collection. I’m a member of the NC Wildlife Association and the Portrait Society of America.