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The Artist Index home page
the artist index for Upstate South Carolina
jim creal

about the artist

art of the carolinasI was born and raised in Spartanburg, South Carolina. My study of philosophy from Washington and Lee University, 1975, started me on a quest to be a well-rounded man. Between 1975 and 1992, I learned divergent skills and earned additional degrees in geology, 1981, and fine arts, 1992, from the University of Montana. I worked on a textile production line in South Carolina, as a mate on a dive boat in the Florida Keys, as a structural welder in Nebraska and as a minerals exploration geologist in Ireland, Scotland and Alaska.

Since 1992, I have dedicated myself to working as a professional visual artist engaged in the creation of cohesive bodies of original work using traditional fine art print processes. I have two principal bodies of work, one representational, (principally The South Carolina Coastal Lithograph Project), and the other gestural abstractions. Works from both bodies have been exhibited in many venues, recognized by many awards and held in various collections.

about the work

"Lithography traditionally involves making a drawing on a limestone block from which you chemically process the image and print an edition. When I first started my study of lithography I fell in love with the rich drawing possibilities that this process offers. There is nothing like drawing on a grained limestone surface. It is possible to build rich tonal and textural passages as you work with different grades of lithographic drawing crayons and pencils. It can take many hours for the image to develop on the stone. After a time the image starts to take form or have a presence with which I can engage in a dialogue about its future development. This is when the fun begins. See my South Carolina Coastal Lithograph Series.”

Creal says, "A monotype is a one of a kind print process. Ink is laid up on a plate and manipulated to make an image from which one good impression can be made. There are no editions with this process. In my monotypes I enjoy the fluidity and speed of the process and most often explore non representational works involved in the interplay of textures, movement and variations in light and dark. I work to create strong formal abstractions with elegant gestural movement."

jim creal jim creal jim creal art of the carolinas art of the carolinas art of the carolinas

about South Carolina Coastal Lithograph series &
my kickstarter project

jim creal art

Project Overview

The Coastal Lithograph Project’s mission is to create a lasting body of lithographic work devoted to capturing the mood, spirit and rich diversity of South Carolina's coastal habitats and some of their extraordinary indigenous creatures.

Telling the visual story of South Carolina’s coastal habitats is my way to introduce audiences to their magnificent beauty, their significance as a vital ecosystem under stress, and their value as national treasures that need to be preserved for future generations.

jim creal

Project Origins

My South Carolina Coastal Lithograph Project is as much a passion as a project, combining my love of the rich drawing possibilities offered by stone lithography with my regard and concern for the viability of my native state’s coastal ecosystem. This is a project that will probably take me the rest of my life.

Some years ago, I began creating a series of award winning lithographs depicting scenes from undeveloped areas of South Carolina’s barrier islands. I am proud of these works and believe they and my future efforts along the Coast represent the best manner with which I might leave behind a meaningful body of work.

jim creal

Project Reasons and Impetus

  • South Carolina is home to one of the longest stretches of barrier islands in the United States and the habitats encompassing these islands form an ecosystem of awe-inspiring beauty and ecological importance.
  • There has been a significant loss of wild habitat along South Carolina’s coast in my lifetime.
  • There will be a continuous struggle between the forces of preservation and development for the remaining undeveloped coastal areas.
  • If predictions of rising sea levels come true, these coastal habitats will change dramatically in the relatively near future. What is here today may not be there for future generations to enjoy.

jim creal art

Project Sites for Research

I have identified approximately 25 coastal sites to explore for source material for this project.

Site List
( click here to reveal or hide list)


Grand Strand

  1. Waites Island: Coastal Carolina University, extensive Pleistocene Maritime Forest

  2. Meher Spiritual Center: Myrtle Beach, private spiritual retreat, interesting

  3. Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve/Wildlife Management Area, SC DNR
    Lewis Ocean Bay heritage/ WMA:  Pleistocene barrier island complex, Venus Flytraps, Black bear

  4. Myrtle Beach State Park: some of the last natural remaining area on Grand Strand

  5. Brookgreen Gardens: magnificent sculpture gardens, historic rice culture irrigation dikes

  6. Huntington State Park: dunes and beautiful beach, salt, brackish and freshwater marshes

  7. Hobcaw Barony: Baruch Marine field Laboratory of the Baruch Institute for Marine and Coastal Sciences USC : The Belle W. Baruch Foundation Controlled natural pristine estuarine environments

    Santee Peedee Delta Region &
    Cape Romain Area

  8. Winyah Bay: 4th largest estuary complex in Southest, boat access

  9. Tom Yawkey Widlife Center: South Island Reserve, and North Island DNR, Historic Rice culture, irrigation dikes, alligator research

  10. Santee Coastal Reserve: Murphy Island, WMA, IBA (important bird area) Historic Rice culture irrigation dikes use as waterfowl sanctuary
    10 A. Santee Delta, WMA:

  11. Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge: boat access
    Cape Island north, major Sea Turtle nesting site      
    Bulls Bay, inside the bay, Bird Island embryonic barrier island, 

    Barrier Islands:
    Bulls Island to Edisto

  12. Bull Island: part of Cape Romain, parallel prograding beach ridge, maritime forests, classic drumstick shape, extensive Hurricane Hugo damage new replenishing growth

  13. Capers Island Heritage Preserve: eroding maritime forest, extensive Hurricane Hugo damage which is now showing significant re-growth

  14. Charleston Harbor: Crab Bank, Castle Island, Pelikan Rookery
    Morris Island, transgressive barrier island looking north, excellent view of Old Lighthouse

  15. Bird Key Seabird Sanctuary, Heritage Preserve: SCDNR, Stono inlet north of Kiawah, boat access

  16. Kiawah: prograding barrier  island with classic drumstick shape,  North end, Cougar Island, Beachwater Park and south end, ebb tidal delta and recurved spit

  17. Edisto: Sea Island Botany Bay Plantation Heritage Preserve: DNR, pristine estuary with hummock islands and undisturbed transgressive barrier island Edisto Beach State Park: dense maritime forests, transgressive barrier, Native American shell mound

  18. Deveaux Bank Heritage Preserve:
  19. SCDNR, IBA

    Low Country: Ace Basin to Savannah   Ace Basin, largest estuary in SE

    Land access:
  20. Donnelly WMA:
  21. wetland and upland habitats, longleaf pine, tidal marshes, managed wetlands

  22. Bear Island WMA:
  23. best wildlife viewing in prime winter seasons with migratory waterfowl

  24. Dungannon Heritage Preserve:
  25. bald cypress tupelo swamp, mixed upland forests, woodstorks

  26. Nemours Wildlife Foundation:
  27. historic rice culture irrigation dikes use as waterfowl sanctuary

    Boat access:
  28. Otter Island:
  29. St. Helena Sound Heritage Preserve, DNR

  30. Combahee River:
  31. boat trip up river from the inlet

  32. Hunting Island State Park:
  33. palmetto/maritime forests

  34. Pritchards Island:
    USC Beaufort, undisturbed transgressive barrier island

Some sites are accessible only by boat and some I want to see from the air. I need to be able to access project sites for research and to photographically and graphically capture the atmosphere, details and vistas of the habitats and their inhabitants.

The photographs of the flora, fauna and vistas of the sites will provide a habitat inventory for the creation of hand-drawn, hand-printed, lithographic images. These images are not only to be descriptive of place but to capture an essence of the transcendent nature and spirit of this coastal ecosystem.

jim creal art

Project Image Story Lines

The finished product will be a limited-edition series of museum-quality lithographs that tell the visual story of the major defining habitats through landscapes of shore, dunes, climax maritime forests, island rookeries, estuaries, bordering rivers, tidal inlets and portraits of key indigenous plants and wildlife, including both feature/key species and threatened/endangered species.

Other visual story lines would include: geological/morphological features derived from aerial views, man’s impact through historical and economic activities: e.g. 18th century rice plantation impoundments now managed as migratory waterfowl habitat and impact of natural forces bringing change such as hurricanes, sea level rising and destruction caused by invasive species.

Project Aims and Ultimate Use

Ultimately, I want to exhibit this work in venues statewide and envision artist talks about the sites and habitats to accompany the exhibit openings. Each image can be discussed for its local reference and habitat significance in both what is proto-typical and anomalously distinctive. A natural out-growth of these accompanying talks would be discussions of mankind’s relationship with these environments and stewardship obligations.

I hope to create a lasting body of work that shares a heritage with the work of Catesby and Audubon is enriched by our current ecological understandings, advances the public recognition of the value of these special places, contributes to the cause of conservation and becomes a descriptive visual story of place to be enjoyed by future generations.

Project Support

In 2013, I initiated a very successful Kickstarter capital campaign for the Coastal Lithograph Project. While this campaign has run its course you may still access the Project's Kickstarter site to see the project video, description and project updates. 

The project was featured on it second day live for Kickstarter's Staff Pick of the Day and was front and center for anyone across the nation to see. The SC Arts Commission picked up on the story and ran an electronic article about my project on its Hub newsletter. 

While the campaign funds provided for equipment, supplies, travel and lithographic production, they were not sufficient to fully fund the project in its entirety and multiyear commitment. Anyone wishing to support the work of this project,  please contact me directly.




Inking up a lithostone for the printing of an edition in
the 2010 Barrier Island Series

Lithography is a time consuming, technically demanding two hundred year old print process practiced by few artists today. Lithographic prints retain with fidelity all the nuances of an artist’s drawing made on the surface of rare Bavarian limestone blocks. Lithography is possible, simply put, because oil and water do not mix. The artist makes his drawing in reverse on the stone with oil based pencils.

The image, once finished, must go through several critically precise chemical processes to enable printing. These processes create two distinct surfaces on the stone. One is an oil loving surface where the oil based media was drawn and the other is a water loving surface in the non-image areas.


Printing the edition is an art-form in itself. It requires considerable skill and intense concentration. Each print in the edition is hand printed and considered an original work of art. In printing, the stone is wiped with a dampened sponge depositing a water film in the non-image areas. Then, a roller, charged with oil based lithographic ink, deposits ink only where the original media was drawn.

Paper is laid over the inked image and rolled under a special litho press transferring the image to paper. The printed impression, a mirror image of the original drawing is lifted off the stone to dry. The process is repeated for each print in the edition.


awards, grants, and experience



  • Librarian Purchase Award, Pritchards Island: Mystic Wood, lithograph, 2nd Annual Juried Art in the Library Competition, Spartanburg County Library, Tom Stanley, juror. Todd Stephens, librarian.

  • 3rd  Place, Donnelly Wildlife Management Area, Storm Clouds Gather, lithograph, 34nth Annual Pickens Juried SC Artists Competition, Clark Whittington, juror.

  • 2nd Place, Daufuskie Island: Palmetto Stage, lithograph, 1st Annual Juried Art in the Library Competition, Spartanburg County Library,
    juror: Dr. Will South, juror.

  • Susan B. Benjamin Memorial Purchase Award and Honorable Mention Award, Daufuskie Island: Palmetto Stage, lithograph, 33nd Annual Pickens Juried SC Artists Competition, Marcia Wood, juror.

  • Seth Schafer Heimlich Memorial Purchase Award and Juror's Choice Commendation, Pritchards Island: Mystic Wood, lithograph, 32nd Annual Pickens Juried SC Artists Competition, Frank Thompson, juror.

  • Merit Award, Pritchards Island: Forest Section, lithograph, 30th Annual Juried Exhibition of the Spartanburg Artists Guild, Jack Leigh, juror.

  • Selected for Art in the Air Billboard Competition, Geometry Lesson, monotype, Spartanburg/ Greenville

  • 1st Place, Professional Graphics Division, Vapors Rising, monotype, 35th Annual Sidewalk Art Show, Spartanburg County Museum of Art, Pam Myer, juror.

  • Cultural Exchange and Exhibition, Winterthur, Switzerland, 2000, Spartanburg Artist Representative.

  • Best of Show Crystals Descending, monotype, 27th Annual Juried Exhibition of the Spartanburg Artists' Guild, Dr. Leo Twiggs, juror.

  • 1st Place, Professional Drawing Division, The Three of Diamonds, monotype, 1998 SC State Fair Juried Exhibition, Mary Douglas and Richard Gruber, jurors.

  • Best of Show/Burwell Purchase Award, Marking in the Grid, monotype, 31st Annual Sidewalk Art Show, Spartanburg County Museum of Art, Kathleen Jardeen, Frank Thompson, and Toni Elkins, jurors.

  • Best of Show, Movement in Fibonacci Sequence, monotype, 24th Annual Juried Exhibition of the Spartanburg Artists' Guild, Maureen Garvin, juror.

  • 1st Place, professional graphics division, The Arousal of Desire, monotype, 30th Annual Sidewalk Art Show, Spartanburg County Museum of Art, Guy Lipscomb, juror.

  • Merit Award, The Contemplation of Caravaggio, monotype, 23rd Annual Juried Exhibition of the Spartanburg Artists' Guild, Jean McWhorter, juror.

  • Best in Show/Purchase Award, Spartanburg Gothic, monotype, 29th Annual Sidewalk Art Show, Spartanburg County Art Association, Paul Martyka, juror.

  • Honorable Mention, Development of Form in Space, after Boccioni, monotype, 20th Annual National Juried Artists Exhibition, Shelby Art League, Shellie Williams, juror.

  • Fine Arts Merit Award, Spartanburg Gothic, monotype, 1994 SC State Fair Juried Exhibition, Harry Messersmith, juror.

  • Merit Award, The Cast of the Die, monotype, 19th Annual Anderson National Juried Exhibition, Katherine T. Carter, juror.

  • Best in Show, World Pulse, mixed media on paper, 1992 University of Montana Student Art Show, Larry Pirne,  Stephani Stephenson, and David Samuelson, jurors.


  • 2010 - SC Arts Commission, Artist’s Venture Initiative Grant, Establish Lithographic Print Facility in Creal’s Studio
  • 2006 - Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg & SC Arts Commission, New Work Development: Etching Processes
  • 2002 - Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg & SC Arts Commission, Lithographic Collaboration w/ Rolling Stone Press
  • 2001 - Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg & SC Arts Commission, Lithographic Landscape Study with Boyd Saunders
  • 1994 - Arts Partnership of Greater Spartanburg & SC Arts Commission, Lithographic Training with Boyd Saunders
  • 1993 - Arts Council of Spartanburg & SC Arts Commission, Monotype Exhibition.


1993 - Present
Owner of Creal's Studio and Gallery,
Spartanburg, SC

Create original artwork, (ongoing), and represent outstanding SC artist/printmakers.

1995 - Present
Resident Artist/Teacher
South Carolina Arts Commission's Arts in Education Program

Taught printmaking processes in schools across the state.

2009 – 2012
Exhibits Coordinator and Preparator,
Spartanburg Art Museum

Coordinate exhibition activities and prepare exhibitions

1996 - 2000
Gallery Director
Milliken Art Gallery, Converse College

Created yearly exhibition schedules and coordinated all exhibition activities.

Minerals Exploration Geologist
Dresser Industries, Ireland and Scotland
Participated in the 1982 discovery of a world-class deposit of barite, lead, zinc and silver ores in central Scotland.


2014 - South Carolina Coastal Lithograph Project: Kickstarter crowd source capital campaign 2014

2014 - Art Fields 2014 Juried Exhibition, Lake City SC; 2014 SC Arts Gala, Columbia SC; Shifting Plates II, Upstairs [artspace], Tryon NC

2013 - Art Fields 2013 Juried Exhibition, Lake City SC; Carolinas Got Art Juried Exhibition, Charlotte NC; 2013 S.C. Arts Gala, Columbia SC;  invitation to exhibit at 2013 South Carolina Biennial, Columbia SC

2012 - Jim Creal: Prints, Etheridge Center, USC Aiken, Aiken SC: “Shifting Plates: South Carolina Upstate Printmakers,” Metropolitan Arts Council, Greenville SC: Coastal Carolina University, Conway SC: Spartanburg Art Museum,

2008 - “Working Proofs,” Artist's Guild Gallery, Chapman Cultural Center, Spartanburg, SC

2005 - “Contemporary Regional Printmakers,” Spartanburg County Museum of Art

2000 - Alte Kaserna, Winterthur, Switzerland.

1996 - “2 Printmakers: Doug Whittle and Jim Creal,” Presbyterian College, Clinton. SC • “Graphic Works,” Nina Liu and Friends Gallery, Charleston, SC

1995 - “Jim Creal Monoprints,” Tryon Fine Arts Center, Tryon, NC • “Running the Gamut,” The Arts Center, Spartanburg, SC

1994 - “Monochromatic Studies,” Nina Liu and Friends Gallery, Charleston, SC • “Visual Explorations,” Goodall Gallery, Columbia College, Columbia, SC, & Fluor Daniel Gallery, Greenville, SC

1993 - “Jim Creal and David James,” Sandor Tezler Library Gallery, Wofford College, Spartanburg, SC

other personal sites

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other professional activity


I studied lithography with Boyd Saunders, initiator of the print program at the University of South Carolina and co-founder of the Southern Graphics Council. I have also had the opportunity to work collaboratively with professional lithographer Wayne Kline of the Rolling Stone Press and receive training with professional lithographer Lynn Froelich.

In March 2010, I was one of two South Carolina artists to receive the new South Carolina Arts Commission's Artist's Venture Initiative Grant. With the support of the grant, I set up my studio to produce original lithographic editions.

I continue to work on the creation of new work in The South Carolina Coastal Lithograph Series. Lithographic edition commissions are accepted.

other personal sites

other supporting sites


realism : barrier island series
expressionism : monotypes
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