James first encountered the Himalayas while traveling with HRH The Prince of Wales as the official artist on the royal tour of East Asia in 1998. The following year he trekked up to Mount Everest with his paints.
Between the years 2000 and 2008 much of James’s work focused on painting Himalayan landscapes. He undertook numerous grueling and dangerous expeditions to remote areas of the mountains. The resulting work formed the basis for six solo exhibitions in central London. In 2005 James discussed his experiences of painting in the Himalayas with Libby Purves on Midweek, BBC Radio Four.
Many of his expeditions to the Himalayas have been organised by the Nepal Trust, a charity who specialize in bringing sustainable development in the Humla region of Nepal. In 2002 James was made a patron of the charity.
‘Hart Dykes’ ability to capture the essence of the landscape and the fleeting effects of light and colour place him firmly among the best of the British school of ‘plein air’ painters.’ The Art Newspaper. International Edition 2004