Celebrating the Life and Art of a Watercolor Master

Admired for his ability to convey intricate detail in watercolor, James Asher (1944-2019) traveled the world in pursuit of adventure and inspiration. Join us as we honor his life and artistic legacy.

Services are being held this week in New Mexico and Texas for James Asher.

Asher painting on location in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

His obituary from the Santa Fe New Mexican shares the following:
James Dean Asher, distinguished artist, died in the early morning hours of February 6, 2019, at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after a long battle with esophageal cancer. He leaves behind his cherished wife of 33 years, Joe Anna Arnett.

Together, they have traveled the world, capturing their favorite scenes in paint. From India to Europe to South America and locations all around the United States, they’ve shared adventures that have informed their art and enriched the lives of others.

Joe Anna Arnett and James Asher

James was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1944 and grew up in Butler, Missouri. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Missouri University and an additional degree from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California.

“Forgotten Fleet” (watercolor, 14 x 21 in.) by James Asher

A most unique watercolorist in his ability to convey brilliant detail in this most difficult medium, James Asher’s paintings hang in museums and important collections in the US and abroad. With Joe Anna, he created Artful Partners, and produced popular art instruction videos. James was also one of four featured artists on the PBS series Passport and Palette.

“Homestead” (watercolor, 8 1/2 x 14 1/2 in.) by James Asher

Asher was an avid fly fisherman. He loved sharing his sport and fished many of the rivers in the Southwest and around the world with friends. He and Joe Anna were recently featured in Plein Air magazine in an article titled “Oil and Water: A Love Story.”

“Drying Sail” (watercolor, 4 3/4 x 6 2/3 in.) by James Asher

The two have shared a lifelong passion for art, illuminating goodness and hope. For them, art was “a light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.” Mr. Asher will be remembered throughout the art world not only for his talent as an artist but also for his gentle spirit, his sense of humor, his engaging smile, and the love of life and adventure he shared with Joe Anna.

“Anasazi Fare” (watercolor, 14 1/2 x 18 1/2 in.) by James Asher

The family suggests memorials to the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico.


  1. A great man, and a big influence on me in my early days. Enjoyed spending time with he and Joe Anna during the Milford Zornes event at the Maynard Dixon Property last year. What a wonderful, generous couple.


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