The Road to Athens

 Previously in academia, and pursuing a career as a professor in science education, Jamie Calkin found himself shifting directions. He slowly realized his joy and happiness was in the arts, specifically, watercolor and bringing local surroundings to life.

Art inspiration began to seep into Jamie’s life while reading Aldo Leopold’s, “Sand County Almanac.” The images complimented the text well and transpired into more than he had planned. Meanwhile, he was hiking and backpacking a great deal while teaching environmental science to elementary students, which inspired him to create visuals as an alternative way of learning. The teaching style led Calkin to attend many watercolor and drawing classes.

 Jamie loves working with watercolor because he can easily travel with his supplies in a backpack. The vibrant colors against a white background with loose black ink outlines allows for a happy medium of structure and creativity.

 He always creates his artwork with the community and individual in mind. Everyone has ties to buildings, restaurants, churches and streets, and he creates tangible pieces for your intangible memories and hopes to bring happiness every time his artwork is viewed.

Feel free to contact Jamie if you have an event or specific scene you would like painted. He loves the challenge of creating commission pieces and creating art that is special to you.  

My Toolkit


I like to draw and paint for other people. The process is fun for me, too, because it helps me to sit and appreciate a city scape or natural place. My favorite medium is ink and watercolor. I like these for a lot of reasons...the biggest is the look of it, bold and bright.

My tools fit in my art bag. I use Holbein watercolors, filbert brush, Speedball calligraphy nibs of varied wides, and Bombay waterproof ink. For most smaller pieces, I've settled on hot press Fabriano extra white watercolor paper, usually 140lb. For larger paintings, I like watercolor canvas (pre-stretched). For even larger panels and murals, I've started using polymetal (used for signs) and Golden watercolor ground (gesso). 

I almost always start my work by loosely 'finding' lines...on paper with a dull number 2 pencil, on canvas or panel with lemon yellow watercolor. I then use the pen or brush and ink and follow or ignore the pencil lines. I usually erase the pencil when I'm sure the ink is dry. The funnest and easiest part comes last, filling in the shapes with bright (often unmixed) watercolors.


My Style

Like all self-taught artists, my work doesn't fit neatly into categories or labels. Here's some words I like to hear about my work...vibrant, loose, expressionist, street art, cityscapes, local, ink and watercolor, bold, unique, colorful. My work is probably closest to that of Raoul Dufy.


My Art Around Athens

I have murals, paintings, bulldogs, tiny libraries, and fire hydrants painted by me all around Athens! But I've lost track of them all.

If you spot one, could you add it to this map?

I appreciate your help on this archival project!