Monday, Feb 22, 2016
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WonderStreet Interview with Ivan Jones

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.

Tell us a little about yourself: Where did you grow up? What got you interested in art?

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.

What are you working on at the moment?

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.

What is it that you particularly like about working in pastel?

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.

How do you think your previous experience as a vet has influenced your approach to animal portraits?

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.

Which of your commissioned pieces has been the most challenging so far?

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.

What work of art do you wish you owned?

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!

You live in rural Herefordshire. What influence does the surrounding countryside have on your work?

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.

Do you have an online portfolio or a blog where we can view your work?

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 as well as from other websites that sell art to the public. I also have a Wordpress blog that links to Twitter, and I have two Facebook pages that promote my work: and

Are you involved in any upcoming shows or events? Where and when?

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.

Could you share a few of your favourite WonderStreet users with us? What do you like about their work?

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.

And finally, could you please share a few images and tell us a little about each?

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.

Thank you Ivan for sharing your views with us!

More examples of Ivan's work can also be found on his WonderSreet profile:

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