A Letter from Dorothy Best - published here on July 26th, 2015 - what would have been Jimmie's 89th birthday.
Dear friends of James Best Art,
First I would like to thank all of you for all the cards, and messages you have sent. I am unable to answer all individually, but please know I have read every email, heard every phone message, and read every card. I knew James was loved and respected by so many, but I have to say even I was overwhelmed buy the outpour of love and support.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all those that reached out and supported the "Best" family by purchasing watercolors, prints and original oils/acrylics.
Jimmie and I were together 38 years. We were best friends, life partners, and business partners also. We did everything together. Jimmie would create all the beautiful art, then I would take over the marketing. I would varnish, have framed, name, photograph, prepare certificates and eventually ship to all of you. Also in this process was our friend, but more like a son, Scott Romine. Scott would design all our web sites, graphics, edit video, just about anything we'd ask of him. Scott also is an artist and since 2007 has created with Jimmie the Dukes of Hazzard themed art work.
I am sharing all this with you so you will understand the complicated process of offering these very special art works to you. James was an incredible man in so many ways. His talent as an actor knew no boundaries, and his legacy of his body of work will live on for generations to enjoy. I feel I have a very important job to do and that is to continue his legacy as a fine artist as well. James was a very prolific artist, he usually painted everyday. He would even paint in his dressing room while working, and travel with supplies handy at all times. Some of you may have witnessed him painting at personal appearances. James was also a very loving man along with having a quick wit that would keep me laughing on a daily basis. He was always there to support family and friends. I don't mean to say he was a push over by any means. If he loved you, you knew it, but he also expected that same loyalty and love in return. You always knew where you stood with him. Jimmie was all about Family and considered his friends family too. His honesty and no nonsense professionalism was a problem for him more then once in the world of Hollywood, but he would never back down from what he believed was right. He would go out of his way many times to help others he felt were being "scuffed by the big boys" to quote his words.
Jimmie's passing has been a very difficult time for me and the entire "Best" family. When you loose someone with the larger then life presence that Jimmie possessed there are no words to describe the emptiness one feels. That is why I feel compelled to continue this web site, jamesbestart.com, and continue sharing the talent of James Best. With the help of Scott and all my family and friends I intend to do just that.
On the day I was finally able to enter Jimmie's art studio to start the process of dismantling his world I had no idea all the treasures I would find. I sincerely believe Jimmie was stockpiling works that the family would be able to enjoy and sell for years to come.. It is the family's intention to do just that. Periodically we will offer items on this web page, and ebay for you all to enjoy and hopefully purchase so that we all can share in the continuation of James Best talent and legacy. We will offer originals, but we will also offer giclee prints. The prints will enable everyone to be able to own a piece of Jimmie's heart, as he put his all into every painting. We ask that you share with your friends the FaceBook page James Best art, and the web page too. If they don't know James as an actor they will quickly appreciate him as an artist.
The first series of prints we will be issuing is titled "SEASONS OF LIFE'. These prints are from paintings in my private collection and the originals will never be sold. The originals Jimmie painted for me to be displayed over the fireplace in our home. It took him several years to complete all the seasons to his liking.
"BEST SPRING", "BEST SUMMER", "BEST FALL", "BEST WINTER" will be offered in 22 x 28 for $300 apiece or the set of four $1000. also in 14 x 18 $200 apiece or set of four $700. This size could be framed and all displayed over a sofa. We will also offer a boxed set of 12 notecards with envelopes, 3 of each season for $40.
The "Best" family hopes you will enjoy the James Best art website and you will visit often. Together we can keep the memory of this great man alive.
Dorothy Best with the "Best family"
James Best's film and television career spans over 50 years and includes over 80 movies and 600 tv appearances. He is best known as Sheriff Rosco P. Coltrane from the hit show The Dukes of Hazzard. He, his wife, and several members of his family currently run a film production company, Best Friend Films.
James, on his painting...
"I guess I always wanted to draw or paint, even as a young boy in grade school. I never had lessons nor the opportunity to take them. It was just at the end of the depression and money (what there was of it) was better spent on just things as food and clothing. I lived in a little rural town in southern Indiana.
In grade school, during some of the more boring classes, I had a tendency to draw cars, airplanes, and shapely girls not unlike some of the Famous Varga girls. My teachers discouraged me from continuing that sort of activity and strongly encouraged me to put my mind to better and more productive activities.
I finally got to High School, and there I had the opportunity to take an art class. I really didn't care so much about the course, but there were about five to one girls that made up the class and that helped me overlook the obvious lack of artistic talent of the instructor who taught the class. I was thrown out of art class.
Years later I visited my home town and sold one of my paintings to the very teacher that had tossed me out of her art class. Being raised in a small rural town, surrounded with trees and clean fresh sparkling creeks and springs, it was a natural inspirational setting for an aspiring artist.
I remembered the fishing trips with my father when we waded the streams in the fall with all the splendor of colored leaves washing about our feet. I have painted those memories many times and I guess I am never happier than when I face a chalk white canvas and fill it with the brilliant colors of those memories.
For painting to me.... takes me home again."