Jim Faulkner

Jim Faulkner’s dedication, sensitivity, and skill as a painter for more than 50 years made him one of the most revered artist in our region and state. On January 29, 2021 Jim passed away at 86.

Jim Faulkner studied at the Bryant School of Art in Virginia prior to attending Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.  Receiving both undergraduate and master’s degrees at Ball State University, Faulkner taught there for thirteen years following a two year stint at Boise State University. During this time, he taught and practiced contemporary abstract art.

Near the end of his college teaching in 1977, Faulkner returned to his background of realistic watercolor and sculpture. He became a full time painter.  For years, he and his just-as-lovely wife, Eleanor, trained and boarded dogs on their small farm, named Fallcroft, west of Muncie. That experience was  charmed, as everyone felt like they were dropping their dog-kids off at camp, instead of the typical kennel situation.

Beautifully maintained, the farmhouse, kennels, and barn were all part of an idyllic country scene. Jim’s studio in the barn was the envy of other artists toughing it out in corners of bedrooms or family rooms. He just seemed to do everything “right.” Painting scenes of our Indiana was one of those right things. Jim sets up in fields and alongside country roads to paint old barns, farmhouses, rolling fields, less-than-tidy barnyards. He paints them in a way that lets you know he loves them – just the way they are. And then, you love them too.

Throughout his career he searched for the essence of what he believed and felt to be true.

I am very taken by the constant change taking place in everything.  The new that decays, becoming the old. In the natural world, both new and old seem to hold my interest. I paint the meadows, woods, homesteads, towns, and people of the mid-west, trying to find meaning in the stillness of an abandoned farm, or the quiet of a snow-covered wood, or even the aging of the human face. If I find that meaning and quality, the painting is worthwhile to me and I hope, to the viewers of my work.

During his career, Jim’s paintings defined east central Indiana’s open landscapes, weathered buildings, and tree lines. His images are witness to the constant winds, shifting bedrock, and changing rural environment of Indiana.

Jim also painted and documented the landscape beyond the farmland of our region.  He and his close friend and fellow artist, David Dale, chronicled their experiences over 15 years, 500-miles and in four seasons along the winding course of the Wabash River. In 2006 and 2007, this journey culminated into a major traveling exhibition, River Odyssey: Two Artists Follow the Wabash, featuring landscapes and river town scenes from each of the counties bordering the river.

He received numerous awards throughout his painting career and is one of the most collected and well-known artists of east central Indiana. His artistic excellence and contributions to Muncie’s cultural vitality were honored with a 2015 Mayor’s Arts Award where Faulkner was recognized with the award for Artist in the Community.

As Genny Gordy, Muncie arts educator and artist, stated best in a 2013 blog post, “I hope that others recognize how lucky we all are to have an artist like Jim Faulkner in our midst. He is an exceptional teacher, friend, and human. Soft spoken – generous with teaching, time and favors, Jim has demonstrated to those of us who adore him, that kindness, tenacity, talent, good humor, and a steady, consistent pace will lead to a Life Well-Lived (and much admired). He is the one who keeps at it, never quits, encourages others always, is very kind to humans, dogs, and undoubtedly, other beings, and has given us all a life to aspire.”