Artist James Asher
Asher painting on location in Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

Services are being held this week in New Mexico and Texas for James Asher.

Artist James Asher
Asher sketching on a shikara on Lake Dal, Kashmir, India

His obituary from the Santa Fe New Mexican shares the following:
James Dean Asher, distinguished artist, died in the early morning hours of February 6, 2019, at his home in Santa Fe, New Mexico, after a long battle with esophageal cancer. He leaves behind his cherished wife of 33 years, Joe Anna Arnett.

Together, they have traveled the world, capturing their favorite scenes in paint. From India to Europe to South America and locations all around the United States, they’ve shared adventures that have informed their art and enriched the lives of others.

James was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1944 and grew up in Butler, Missouri. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Central Missouri University and an additional degree from the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles, California.

Joe Anna Arnett and James Asher
Joe Anna Arnett and James Asher

A most unique watercolorist in his ability to convey brilliant detail in this most difficult medium, James Asher’s paintings hang in museums and important collections in the US and abroad. With Joe Anna, he created Artful Partners, and produced popular art instruction videos. James was also one of four featured artists on the PBS series Passport and Palette.

Asher was an avid fly fisherman. He loved sharing his sport and fished many of the rivers in the Southwest and around the world with friends. He and Joe Anna were recently featured in Plein Air magazine in an article titled “Oil and Water: A Love Story.”

Painting by James Asher
James Asher, “Kashmiri Flower Seller,” 1987, watercolor, 10.5 x 17 in. Private Collection, Studio

The two have shared a lifelong passion for art, illuminating goodness and hope. For them, art was “a light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness does not overcome it.” Mr. Asher will be remembered throughout the art world not only for his talent as an artist but also for his gentle spirit, his sense of humor, his engaging smile, and the love of life and adventure he shared with Joe Anna.

The family suggests memorials to the Cancer Foundation for New Mexico at


  1. My sincere condolence to you JoAnna. I enjoyed the article in Plein Air Magazine; what wonderful memories you will have in sharing your life with such a great water colorist and human being.

    Gerri Bradford
    Longmont, CO. artist

    • My condolences from Canada!! He is gone but not forgotten!! His artwork and memories will live on forever!! At night if you walk outside and look up into the stars you will feel better for that bright star shinning so bright will be James looking back at you!!!for part of him will always be with us forever!! Al oleschuk Edmonton,alberta,canada!!!


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