Jim McRae was born in Marietta, Ga., on March 24, 1924, and grew up in Atlanta, Ga.
After serving in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Northwest and the Aleutian Islands during World War II, he returned to Atlanta and played professional baseball in the minor leagues in towns from West Virginia to Florida before beginning a career in art. He attended the Atlanta College of Art and later taught figure drawing there.
Jim worked as an artist in several disciplines. He earned success as a cartoonist and commercial artist and became a portraitist of note in the Atlanta area, before embracing the solitary and difficult life of a studio artist. He earned acclaim and prizes for his large abstracts, but eventually concentrated on figurative painting. He spent nearly 60 years mastering his craft, always remaining true to his guiding vision. His work is held in the collections of museums and collectors worldwide. But, he himself was ever his most honest and uncompromising critic.
In 1973 he moved to Franklin, N.C., and continued to work as an artist, creating a considerable body of work that continues to give joy to those who view it. He died on Dec. 7, 2010, at the age of 86.