James Sampsel, Passionist Painter

My name is James Robert Hopni Sampsel. I'm a passionate person in general. A Passionist, if you will. What is a passionist?

Passionism: The act of living for the sake of experiences, inspiration, love, and happiness, as opposed to gaining material wealth or consumption. The end product
a direct side effect of the life you lead.

My interests are of many, often times wide, but I have aimed in the arts of teaching, sharing, connecting and exploring with others.

In more detail, I'm an outdoor painter, fly-fishing guide, and  Adventure Whitewater guide.

I grew up in the foothills of Missoula Montana. By the age of 5, I had been introduced and gained the love for being outside, mainly connecting with rivers and their mystical beings we know as fish. I LOVE FISH! Especially anadromous fish that push up the current sometimes for 900 miles for the selfless goal of keeping the species alive. To
me there is nothing more beautiful than the spawn of salmon and steelhead. They make mirror reflections of themselves, scatter them, give them the tools and foundation of genes that make them strong individuals. Doing so in the hopes that this next generation share their knowing, and expand their teachings. This process is very inspiring, and I hope to honor them and mimic these teachings in the form of paintings. Impressions of the one thing we can actually say is perfect. Nature.

As a young boy, my father said to me, "So James, what do you want to do when you get older?". My response with little hesitation was: "Be a professional fisherman, musician, and an artist." My father replied, "That is great, but do you realize how difficult it is to become successful at these?" I had never made much thought to how difficult all this may be. The notion never even grazed my subconscious. I didn't let this discourage me though. Through many trials and persistence, I can truly say that I have achieved my desires, but know I will never stop growing. These labels don't represent who I am as a person, but are my passions that help me to connect with people from all over the world. I believe connecting and sharing is what we are here for. We are all unique. We all have the ability to do something great no matter whether you are the basket weaver or the warrior. Each of us is just as important as the other. Though we really are the same. Skin and bones. But we all have roles and it isn't for anyone to decide whether one is greater than the other. I believe this and  it's my part and duty to share. My passions are the vessels to interpret these understandings.


My oils and acrylics showcase the life that I lead with representations of what I see in nature, my travels, and experience with different people and cultures. I am an outdoor painter and also do much studio work. I predominantly paint from the northwest region of the United States but have no boundaries in which I explore. I work in an impressionist's style and use my emotions to move my brush.


Growing up as an angler my work touches the hearts of many fishermen, especially those familiar with the Deschutes, Rogue, and Umpqua Rivers in Oregon. My spiritual connection with nature and the native people who once ruled these lands keeps my pallet brilliant. I use feeling and color to move onlookers.