In this interview with pastel artist Ivan Jones we find out what he's working on, what exhibitions he's got coming up, and why he loves working in his chosen medium.
I grew up in Mansfield Nottinghamshire. I first discovered my love for art at Junior School when I was asked to paint the background of a float used in the local town's Coronation Parade. Opening all the tins of poster paint, seeing all the raw colour, mixing them and creating a scene on a grand scale was awesome.
Currently I am working on a canal boat scene taken at dawn, using soft pastel and pastel pencils on Art Spectrum Colourfix pastel paper. The image contrasts early morning sunlight against the darker tones of the water and bridge, complemented by a slight mist rising from the water.
My first set of pastels was given to me by a friend of my father's, so when I retired it seemed natural to go back to pastels as a medium. Pastel is very flexible to use and allows for corrections to be made relatively easily with a soft brush or eraser. It also allows for layering creating a 3D effect, with details being added in pastel pencils to the base pastel colours. My favourite technique is base layering using soft pastel sticks rubbed into the surface of the pastelboard to provide colour and texture. This is followed by more layering, before the final details and highlights are applied with sharpened pastel pencils and sticks of pastel.
I have no doubt that my understanding of what lies underneath the skin of an animal gives me extra ability to create a more detailed and accurate portrait, whether of an animal or a person.
I was asked to reproduce, in pastel, an oil painting from the 1800s, that had been in the family who commissioned me since it was painted. It was of a child on a seat with detailed background, hair and clothing which was time consuming but very rewarding.
There are many artists I admire including David Shepherd, Simon Coombes, William Holman Hunt and the Pre-Raphaelites, the impressionists, and many of my contemporaries, so there are many, many works I would love to own!
The countryside of Herefordshire presents many beautiful landscapes that my wife takes photos of and I reproduce in pastel. It also provides a relaxing way of life with a close caring community and the chance to be involved in many charities and local events. This all adds to life quality and peace of mind, a big part of stimulating my creativity.
I have a number of places where I promote my artwork and commissions, including Facebook and Twitter. My artwork can be purchased directly from my website www.ivanjonesart.co.uk as well as from other websites that sell art to the public. I also have a Wordpress blog https://ivanjonesart.wordpress.com/ that links to Twitter, and I have two Facebook pages that promote my work: facebook.com/ivanjonesart and facebook.com/pastelworkinprogress.
I have three exhibitions this year. The first is a small window exhibition for the month of February at the Tower House Gallery in Knighton, Powys. The second is the Palace Art-fest at the Bishops Palace in Hereford between 29 April and 2 May 2016 ( the attached picture is of my paintings at the Palace Art-fest in 2013). The third is my open house during H-art (Herefordshire Art) week between 10-18 September - I will have 36 artworks on display that week. We will also be opening our garden on 18 September for the NGS.
Chris Bennett has a great way of capturing the essence of people. Becky Taylor has a wonderful way with horses. Alexandra Buckle creates striking images with her linocuts and Tom Clifford has a way with water, capturing the movement and light.
Lacey Glade was inspired by a print by David Shepherd, I captured this image when visiting Whitfield Court gardens, Herefordshire, one spring. The idea was to draw the viewer's eye to the light in the distance... very enjoyable to create. The moth orchid was my second attempt at flowers and I am very happy with the outcome - the black background contrasts beautifully with the different pink shades of the petals. It is a good size too ( 30inch by 21inch in a black frame). Shannon is one of the many commissions I have undertaken and his gentle personality shines through. The photo was taken by my wife and the owners were delighted with the outcome... I was very happy with the outcome of this commission of Tony, a gentleman who saw my work during my open house in 2014. Once again my wife took the photos and both Tony and I decided on the angle that best portrayed Tony's personality.