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Bar Association of San Francisco Member Benefits: Publications

Past President Takes “The High Road”


A beautiful painting hangs in one of BASF’s meeting rooms, entitled "The High Road." Communications and Public Relations Director Ann Murphy recently asked the artist, 1977 BASF President James Brosnahan of Morrison & Foerster, about this painting and his artwork in general.

Ann Murphy (AM): Do you do a lot of artwork? If so, what are your favorite themes?

James Brosnahan (JB): For 18 years, whether I am in trial or not, I have painted almost every Sunday morning, outside as much as possible. Although I have painted some people, soldiers in Iraq and so forth, my favorite theme by far is the Sierra mountains as high up as possible and especially on the east side. I am a plein air painter about 3-4 hours a week.

AM: When did you start painting? Have you taken lessons? What’s your favorite medium? The High Road, by Jim Brosnahan

JB: I started painting 18 years ago. I have had lessons with some very fine plein air painters and teachers in California and I have painted with some professional painters, time permitting. For the last 20 years there has been a real increase of terribly talented plein air painters in California. That would include Gill Dellinger, who I have painted with a time or two, Kathleen Dunphy, whose class I attended in Murphy’s California and Ray Roberts, who is also a well-known plein air painter in California. At first I used acrylics, then water based oils and for the last four years, I have been using oils.

AM: What inspired the piece that BASF has?

JB: There are so many places in the Sierras that are inspiring and uplifting when you are there. One of them is a very high road almost 9,000 feet on the way to Victoria Lakes off 395 just north of Lee Vining. That is what I tried to reflect in the BASF painting. I called it the “High Road” because to me the bar association is always pursuing the high road.

AM: How did you come to donate it to BASF?

JB: Well, the Bar has been putting up paintings by other people who I know. I just thought it would be neat to have a painting up there.

AM: Do you sell your work?

JB: I do not sell my work. I have donated my paintings to various charities for auction or sale as fundraisers, which I have done several times. I do give paintings to friends and family members, of course.


Come by and check out “The High Road” the next time you are at The Bar Association of San Francisco. It resides in the Sacramento Room.

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