From his suit to his cowboy boots

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Former town manager now a 'starving artist' in Texas

by Patrick Cronin

Seacoast Sunday, November 4, 2007

[The following article is courtesy of Seacoast Sunday and Seacoast Online.]

James Barrington has kept busy since leaving Hampton last year to move back to Texas. Here, he celebrates the opening of his new photography shop called James Barrington Originals.

HAMPTON — Former town manager James Barrington has traded a well-paying career in municipal government to become a "starving artist."

"We are enjoying life," said Barrington, who moved to Canyon, Texas, with his wife, Darlene, last year. "We are doing things that we want to do."

After spending 24 years in municipal government ­— almost 10 of them in Hampton — Barrington said he spent his last year "thinking about life and what he wanted to do next."

And what he wanted had nothing to do with default budgets, political shenanigans and battles between selectmen and the Budget Committee.

Barrington now works as a freelance photographer for the Canyon News newspaper and recently opened a photography shop, James Barrington Originals.

"My wife and I have talked about opening up a shop for a while," Barrington said. "Our house looks like a photography gallery.

"We have photographs hanging everywhere. She kept telling me that I was never going to sell any of them unless people see them."

Barrington said he's been taking photos since high school. The business came about after he found the perfect location for a studio/store near West Texas A&M University.

He displays them at his gallery and Web site, Barrington said opening the shop was the grand finale of an eventful year in Canyon.

"Instead of worrying about making a living, we've been living," Barrington said. "It has really helped. Both of us are in better health than when we were involved in city management, whether it was in Hampton or somewhere else."

One reason he moved to Texas was to reconnect with his spiritual roots, and Barrington said he has done that.

"We found a good church," Barrington said. "We are actively involved in that. This summer, I taught vacation Bible school and with a beard and a robe on, I played Joshua. I had little kids thinking I was Santa or God, but it was fun."

He and his wife celebrated their 34th anniversary with a trip to Ireland, which he wrote about in their local paper.

One thing he said he's not doing, though, is keeping an eye on what's going on in Hampton.

"Some of my friends call and e-mail me from time to time, but that is about the extent that I do to keep up with Hampton politics," Barrington said. "My blood pressure is in much better shape now than it was a year ago. So I try not to do anything to disturb that."

But he does keep his old home close to his heart by proudly displaying the Harold Lapointe painting the town gave him of the new Town Hall in the living room of his two-story townhouse.

"Everything is going well," he said. "We are making time to live. And I think that is something that everybody needs to do before it's too late."

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