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Art & Life with D.R. Jones

Today we’d like to introduce you to D.R. Jones.

D.R. Jones, please kick things off for us by telling us about yourself and your journey so far.
When I was a kid, I saw an ad in the back of a comic book saying I could “Be an Artist” and earn up to $80 a week as an illustrator. (Yeah, it was a long time ago.) All I had to do was draw the fetching young lady depicted in the ad and win a scholarship to art school. Well, I didn’t win the scholarship, but I did gain a lifelong appreciation of art and artists.

Not long after that, my family took a vacation to New Mexico, and I was introduced the wonderful art of Santa Fe. I was blown away by the work of the artists I saw there, especially my favorite artist John Nieto. My mother, herself an accomplished painter, noticed my interest in art and encouraged me to pursue it.

Over the years, I began creating Southwest influenced paintings, with some success, but I was seeking a personal style. I then discovered the Expressionists. I loved the boldness of the colors, the simplicity of the composition, and the slightly skewed interpretation of the world. After studying this style, I discovered that several of the artists that originally inspired me (see John Nieto, above) were also influenced by Expressionism. I had come full circle.

Now my work is less dependent on the style I admired in my younger days, and I’m focused on moving forward to tell my own tale. The story I want to tell contains vignettes from my personal journey; starting with my Texan heritage, enlivened with a rock-n-roll counter-culture sensibility, and leavened with an evolving social awareness.

I hope to communicate visually what doesn’t easily communicate verbally. As Georgia O’Keeffe said,” I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way… things I had no words for.”

Can you give our readers some background on your art?
I love color! I try to put all the color and emotion I can on canvas. I start each work by applying a base layer of paint. Sometimes I use a base of blank gesso, but more often I throw fluid acrylics onto wet canvas and smear it around with a masonry trowel. In either case, this underpainting becomes an integral part of the finished piece. Next, I sketch in the main subject(s) with a pastel pencil. Then I start laying in color. I usually have some sense of where I’m going with the color selections, but I’m always looking for those happy accidents where color combinations come together to create something electric.

I often choose semi-Western subjects for my paintings – horses or cowgirls. But lately, I’ve been working on a series called “Legends,” paintings of iconic creatives in music, film, or art. These people have been powerful influencers in their fields and in popular culture at large. They’re also meaningful to me for what they represent or what they have accomplished. I’ll be working on this series for a while. I also plan to start a series of colorful, large-scale figurative works.

How do you think about success, as an artist, and what quality do you feel is most helpful?
My goal as an artist is to connect with people through a visual medium. One of my collectors recently told me, “I look at your painting in my home every day. It always makes me smile”. If my work can evoke an emotional response, then I have succeeded. If it also stimulates an intellectual response, providing food for thought, then that’s a bonus.

What’s the best way for someone to check out your work and provide support?
I’m currently represented by Bent Tree Gallery in Wimberley, Texas, plus ongoing collaboration with Steidel Fine Art and Blair House Gallery also in Wimberley. Upcoming shows and special events can be seen on my web site at

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