Jim Arendt has been noted for his particularly broad manner of painting, using large and unadorned strokes of restrained color in order to convey a strongly physical sense of meaning in each of his paintings. Using very liquid transitions among areas of emphasis within his compositions, Arendt displays a unique mastery of textural illusion. Besides being able to link human philosophy and psychology in landscape, he very often involves personal history in his work. Arendt teaches Painting and Figure Structure in Drawing at the University of South Carolina and is very popular for his interesting and diverse teaching methods.
"The bucolic nature of landscape painting typically denies humankind’s interwoven relationship with the land. The dramatic vista or sweeping coastlines are scrubbed clean of the works of human hands. The inclination to see ourselves outside the environment that we inhabit is emblematic of our quest to control and order nature to our will. Therefore, our pictures of nature rarely include us. . .I have found my experiences in nature to produce nuanced emotional responses, neither wholly pleasant nor horrifying. The riot of plants as they strive to gain access to the sky and the unrelenting power of rivers is both cruel and beautiful. Nature is not a benevolent caretaker, but a dense and dangerous experiment in endurance. Her beauty masks the struggle for survival and blinds us to our impotence at her fury. . . Nature is not just the background for our lives. It envelops us in a tangle of violent growth and moldering decay. Through painting, I hope to better understand our connection to and role within the landscape."