Born in Jelgava, Latvia, Damelis studied art at Vilnius University under Jan Rustem and Franciszek Smuglewicz, receiving a degree in 1809. He lived in Vilnius until he was deported to Siberia in 1820. Upon his release he lived in St. Petersburg and Minsk. He is considered one of the most prominent artists of the genre working in Belarus (White Russia).
His works include paintings of historic events (the Kościuszko Uprising, Napoleon's army in Vilnius, the death of Ulrich von Jungingen during the Battle of Grunwald, and the Battle of Vienna), portraits, drawings, and religious compositions. Among his successful students was Michał Kulesza.
- Romualdas Budrys. "ART EXHIBITION "VILNIUS CLASSICISM"". Association of Lithuanian Museums and Lithuanian Art Museum. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
- "Anniversaries of Great Personalities and Important Events (1979-1980)" (PDF). UNESCO. Retrieved 2010-07-22.
- Dietrich Beyrau, Rainer Lindner (2001). Handbuch der Geschichte Weissrusslands (in German). Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. p. 124. ISBN 978-3-525-36255-6.
- (Lithuanian) VILNIAUS KLASICIZMO DAILININKAI (Classical artists of Vilnius). Association of Lithuanian Museums. Retrieved 2010-07-20.