This year's annual holiday encompassed Italy and Croatia, ending with a couple of days in Venice. My paintbox, a few St Cuthberts Mill Waterford blocks and an easel of my own design were given plenty of use, and I got over 40 paintings and sketches done in the 18 days away. Here are some of the results.
Running from the 2nd of March to 11th April, I have a solo exhibition at the Ripley Art Centre, Bromley. The word Reflection in the title is used loosely and doesn't warrant too much analysing. Being perhaps, in a literal sense the return by a body or surface, of light, heat, or sound, or in another instance, this closer to my interpretation, a thought or consideration, but I hope the paintings will do all the explaining. Subjects for the work vary from landscape, to city, rivers, sea and a number of airships - a theme I began in the mid 1980s and to which I have returned over the years. In 1986, gathering source material for my degree thesis I had the rare privilege of complete access to Barnes Wallis' notes. Sitting at a table in the Science Museum Library I pored over piles of paper, ideas from the mind of this most creative man, someone I considered an artist of technology. His calculations and references, some on napkins and envelopes suggesting a vivid imagination and thorough attention to detail. It was his airships which captivated me the most, huge, slow, artificially light, big gentle beasts, like whales floating about looking down on the world. A short video of the show can be seen by clicking here.
All are welcome but please call 020 8464 5816 just to make sure the gallery space is not otherwise occupied. The address is 24 Sunridge Avenue, Bromley BR1 2PX - plenty of parking, bus, train, see map below for details.
Last Saturday I had the pleasure of attending a day-long workshop hosted by watercolour artist Paul Banning. Under his expert tuition the assembled group were taken through the basics of using three primaries to create washes, building tone and hue, assembling composition and drafting. Each exercise designed to remove the student from their comfortable and usually bad habits. I learnt so much from the few hours that I'll definitely be going back for more. Reference for the painting below was black and white, and we were told to add our own colour.
Sitges is a quiet (out of season) town just south of Barcelona. During a recent visit I managed to paint a few scenes of the attractive architecture in the autumn sun. These are all painted on an 8"x8" Arches rough.
This morning I spent a couple of hours at a painting demonstration by the talented watercolour artist Matt Forster. Matt demonstrated some simple but essential techniques. It was fascinating to watch a master at work (over 10K hrs + talent = master), and if I learnt nothing else, it was deciding when to stop. Keep the colours fresh, let the light show through and let the pigment remain vibrant. I can recommend these demonstrations to anyone who has an interest in watercolour. Matt's web site is mjforster.com, through which you can buy his book and see examples of work.
Earlier this summer I entered six paintings into the Bury Art Festival. Tasteful art-lovers that they are, a selection of locals bought four of them. I find I sell more of my paintings to collectors in the North, not sure why that should be, anyhow, here are the six I showed.
Every artist who goes on holiday takes a bit of drawing or painting kit. Some do so with good intentions, but never make a mark; others try but family distractions preclude any significant creativity; a few manage to disappear and get stuck into some serious daub-making. For the first time I have found myself in the latter camp, able to spend glorious hours painting and drawing in this most beautiful part of Italy. Painting plein-air offers an artist that freshness and immediacy so elusive in studio work. Tone and colour can be seen for their true value and the local ambiance - heat, cold, wind, silence, added to hopefully give the work a bit of atmosphere. I've been churning them out, so here are a few from summer holiday to Italy, with delicious food, wonderfully friendly people and fine weather and fine architecture.
Armed with my brass paintbox, a selection of brushes and St Cuthbert's Mill Waterford paper, I spent as much time as I could trying to capture what the views and atmosphere around me. Painting in 35˚C heat. Used to painting in a more temperate climate, finding shade and dealing with paint which dried almost instantly was a challenge, and I could really have done with my small water spritzer to keep the paper moist and the paint moving. We all know that early morning and late evening present an artist with the soft, warm tones which bring alive a landscape, seen so often in the work of past masters. Living with reality and remembering that I'm not Turner, much of my efforts were painted in the stark light of the day, referring to the work of Andy Wood, Bob Rudd, Deborah Walker, Graham Berry and Richard Thorn, all of who's work includes mastery of painting in hard light. Enough words, here is a selection of paintings from the past couple of weeks.
The last four high profile open shows I've entered have been met with the words "we regret" and "unfortunately". Thirty years on from a couple of degree course rejections, I still feel irritation reading those words. I'd offered what I thought were fine paintings, the best I could do; and a small group of people looked at them, assumed glum expressions, shook their heads and electronically elbowed the lot into the bin. The big difference now is that five minutes after reading the email, I had forgotten about it, happily painting more items to inflict on another solemn, compact cadre of bods next month. Apart from the few quid one has to fork out for the privilege of having your work assessed, there's little to loose and a lot to gain. This may sound like a moan but I have had work accepted, sold and shown. A few people even commission me to paint things for them. There are too many reasons to move on, to be optimistic, to paint and draw even more. Look for the small, simple things, they are usually free and always there.
These are the most recent four I presented for an open exhibition.
Earlier this year I turned 50, something of a milestone, both welcome and unwelcome. Welcome because 200 years ago I'd have been an old man, but feel far from old; unwelcome because at 50, the eyesight begins to blur and the body lacks its youthful spring. However ... Having invited a good number of friends and family to a party to celebrate this birthday, I was given a selection of gifts including paint brushes, tubes of paint and a handmade paintbox made by classicpaintboxes.com. It is a beautifully crafted item, smooth and solid with a hinged palette and a mixing well. 18 empty ½-pan containers offer storage for a wide range of colours - I'd planned to double-up on ones I use more like Prussian blue and Raw Sienna but ended up with the arrangement below.
I don't often paint scenes of boats or the sea, but after seeing some of the fine pieces by Robert Brindley and Haidee-Jo Summers I was inspired. I make no claim to have the skill or talent of those two I believe you only improve if you challenge yourself by trying. A scene looking directly into the sun allows for a dramatic contrast and some bright sparkle on the water. It also puts objects into partial or complete silhouette which makes for simplified shapes, something a painter often considers when composing. In my watercolour here, I have used an image shot on a telephoto lens, foreshortening the yacht into a dramatic vertical motif, leaning over to give a sense of movement with a few figures on the right to balance both the vessel and my painting. The palette was kept to four colours: cerulean blue, French ultramarine, brown madder and red. A touch of white gouache was employed to pick out some highlights. Overall, I'm pleased with the painting, but would like to improve the sea, to give it more sparkle. Onwards!
Henry Jones Artist
Working predominantly in watercolour, preferably from life, otherwise from sketches in my studio. This site displays a small selection of my work, some is for sale, others already sold. If you'd like to enquire about a sale or commission, please contact me here for a quick reply.
A couple of my paintings can be seen in this exhibition at the A2 Gallery, Wells.
Open Exhibition 2016
4th – 31st August 2016
A2’s biennial open submission exhibition showing work from national and international artists practising contemporary and conceptual art.