Thursday, October 20, 2011

Artist Interview with modern day impressionist Sheri Jones

"Collector or Dealer"
Sheri Jones
Oil on Canvas
18" x 36"

When I first saw Sheri Jones work it made me think of my brother.  Not something that artwork normally does for me, but you see, my brother Vince is a car guy.  He’s been a mechanic all his life and now works as an engineer.  In his spare time he rebuilds and restores vintage cars, trucks, motorcycles, pretty much anything with a motor and wheels.  I think every family probably has at least one car nut.  Sheri Jones became inspired when she and her husband starting shopping for an old truck for him to restore.
Sheri has been painting for more than 25 years.  She considers herself an impressionist and strives to create an accurate but painterly look.  She paints from life, both outdoors in true plein air fashion, and in her studio from a still life.   Whether with a brush or a palette knife her paint handling is bold and loose.  With vibrant colors and thickly textured impastos Sherri brings new life and vitality to these old warriors of the road.
When Sheri received my interview questions she replied with enthusiasm and graciously shared her time and knowledge.  Her responses were thoughtful and revealed an artist constantly striving to improve her craft.

What’s on your easel right now?  Can you tell me about your works in progress and how they fit in with your body of work?
I am currently working on a 62 Volkswagen Beetle. It is bright turquoise and a nice reminder of times gone by.  I have been painting a series of vintage trucks. The old cars are a natural transition. The old truck fascination began when we started shopping for an old truck for my husband to restore. We started seeing them everywhere. I also wanted to paint these with more ease when painting plein air. He is currently restoring a 52 Chevy truck we bought.  I am inspired by the works of California artist, Timothy Horn when it comes to vintage vehicles.

"Blue Bug (62 Volkswagen)"
Sheri Jones
Oil on Canvas
11" x 14"

What artists or art movements influenced or affected you?
One of the most influential movements has been plein air painting. It changed my approach and improved my process. It forces me to paint fast and make quick decisions.
Another group that influenced me has been the Daily Painters. I found my kindred spirits with this group. Painting often and daily gives me the freedom to explore a variety of subjects.

Do you have a preferred medium (oil, acrylic, pastel, watercolor, etc.) or do you work in different mediums depending on the piece?  Why?
I am currently working with oil paints. I love their durability and creamy quality. I often apply the paint with a palette knife in an impasto manner. I love color and texture and I am able to achieve this with oil paints.

Where do you draw your ideas or subject matter from?  Do you ever paint on location or use photographs as references, or do you paint from memory?  Do you keep a sketchbook?
Inspiration for my paintings comes from my everyday environment. I like to paint things that I am familiar with and that surround me. I love painting plein air and get out as often as my schedule allows. This is usually once a week. Call me crazy, but I love to catch a sunrise on one of the back roads near my home in Granbury, Texas. I love to paint from life and often set up a still life in the studio, but I also paint from photos.  I keep a busy schedule and working from photos are sometimes my best options.  I do keep a sketch book in my car and carry a camera with me always.  The iPhone makes this possible and I use this tool often.   

"Old Blue"
Sheri Jones
Oil on Canvas
14" x 11"

What size/scale do you usually work in?  How long do you spend on a typical painting?
When painting from life I usually work small and use 8x10, 9x12 or 11x14. I often use the smaller studies for larger paintings. It is a great way to work out color use and design.
I paint the smaller paintings in less than 2 hours. My studio pieces are usually 11x14, 16x20, 22x28, or 30x40. I take more time with these and can spend from 8 hours to weeks to finish one. I typically paint in stages. My first stage is to get the canvas covered and set it aside to dry. I come back to it with fresh eyes and a new approach. I can often see things that need to be corrected after a little distance from the process.

Are there times when you can’t be creative or the paint just isn’t flowing?  How do you handle periods of “artist block?”
In the past, when facing an artist block I have studied a new medium.  I worked with molten glass, making lamp work beads.  The process changed my approach to painting. It taught me about color, form and design. It made my work more abstract and free.
If that doesn’t work I simply go to my studio. I have projects in stages all over the studio. I work full time and my time in the studio is limited. I make the most of my free time and seem to be more inspired. If I have too much time on my hands I don’t seem as productive.

How do you know when a painting is finished?  Is it sometimes hard for you to decide a work is complete?
I will set a painting up in my living room and study it from different angles. Quick glances and time are often the best tests. I also frame them and leave them in view. This is another good test for checking for errors and corrections. I have several artist friends and my husband that will critique a work and give honest suggestions.  I keep correcting and improving them until they stop bothering me. 

"52 GMC Truck"
Sheri Jones
Oil on Canvas
20" x 24"

What support do you like to paint on?  Do you prepare and prime your own canvas or panels?  Do you use any particular painting mediums (damar, linseed oil, liquin, alkyd gel, etc.)?
I like the Raymar cotton canvas panels when painting plein air. My larger pieces are usually on stretched canvas.  I also work on wood panels I get at the hardware store. I use a latex paint for a base, sanding between layers.  The only medium I use is odorless Mineral Spirits. I use this and a little paint to put my first layer on. I like a warmly toned canvas to begin.

What do you think makes the difference in becoming “established” as an artist, and what advice do you have for young and emerging artists looking to develop a career?
Becoming an established artist takes good old fashion brush mileage. Paint as often as possible and have many, many starts. Draw, paint or do something art related every day.

Do you teach or lead workshops?  Do you feel that teaching helps an artist develop, and if so, in what ways?
I am not currently teaching, but would be open to teaching workshops.   I have taught one day workshops for adults and taught children for over six years.  I love being in the class room and know being around other artist is very inspiring.  You learn what you know by repeating and teaching others.

"Faded Pink"
Sheri Jones
Oil on Canvas
8" x 10"

What’s next?  Do you have any current or upcoming exhibitions of your work?  Any special projects you’re involved in right now?
I recently had work accepted in U-Gallery, an on-line art gallery. I have had 2 solo shows and a two man show this year and participated in many group shows.  I have work that was juried into the Lake Granbury Art Association and the Navarro Council of Arts in Corsicana, Texas. Also The Artist of Texas is having a juried show at the Dutch Art Gallery in Dallas, Texas. It will hang during the month of November and December. The reception is scheduled for Saturday, November 6th. I will also have my work on display at The Visitors Center in Granbury during the month of November.  I will continue to paint daily and post as often as possible.

Please visit or for more paintings from Sheri Jones including her wonderful landscapes, still lifes, and more vintage automobiles.

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