Featured artist

David Jones


I was born in London, and after leaving secondary school embarked on a newly founded non-diploma course in graphic design at our local college. I found that I had a love for typography and layout but canít say that I ever learnt much about fine art. However, my father was a brilliant artist and it was from him that my inspiration came.

As the graphic design course was non-diploma any potential employment relied mostly on walking the streets of London and showing oneís portfolio to advertising agencies, and as my self confidence as a late teenager was virtually zero I gave up on the idea of being a designer and sought refuge in my grandmotherís family business - where I stayed for five years. By this time I was completely out of date with the advertising world.

Feeling the need for security I decided to enter public service, and started painting in my spare time with my fatherís encouragement. I loved painting old buildings and Dutch harbour scenes with boats, and was soon selling my pictures. But then, shortly after moving out of London and coming to Northamptonshire, my father and best friend aged just 52 died and I lost my inspiration. Into the attic went my easel and paints and there they stayed until I was 40.

Perhaps reaching 40 was a wake up call because I realised that, although I was no Rembrandt, I was basically a creative person. But wasnít doing any creative activities, so I decided to sign up for life drawing classes at our local secondary school. Sadly, due to low turnouts, this came to an end after 18 months. It was then that I came across John Black at his then Wellingborough gallery, some 27 years ago - and it was John who took over from my father. I donít think John ever taught me anything about technique - but more importantly, he had a way of giving me the self confidence I lacked, so bringing out the best of my artistic abilities in his very professional and subtle way.

Ironically, I used to shy away from portraits as I was never any good at getting a likeness - but then I came across a book in the library (Drawing With The Right Side Of The Brain by Betty Edwards) which taught me about negative spaces and the shapes in between. After six months of looking at things in a different way and practicing the exercises I was producing a reasonable likeness in my portraits. I was determined to become as proficient as possible and would often be painting 30 Ė 40 hours a week in addition to my full time job.

I was then approached by an agent in London who gave me several commissions before disappearing. I was over the moon at being paid £200 - £300 a time only to discover later that he was being paid four figures for my portraits by his clients.

I have recently been approached to produce a series of pencil sketches and watercolours for a new drama series being aired by the BBC sometime in late 2016 or early 2017. This is an exciting challenge for me - and one that I have an affinity with, as it involves the Nootka American Indian tribe of Vancouver Island in the late 18th century. As a child playing Cowboys and Indians I always wanted to be the India for some reason.

The last ten years or so have brought a few health scares, and I consider myself lucky to still be alive and able to produce a reasonable portrait. My preferred mediums are pencil, pastel and oils. Commissions, when they come along, are quite often portraits of deceased and much loved people and animals, so for obvious reasons can only be done from photos. I know some artists say that the only way is from life, and I really enjoy my two hours life drawing at ĎThe Shedí most weeks - but provided I have enough photos to work from I do get a feel for the subject and will not let a portrait go until I have managed to capture a bit of the subject's soul. It sounds a bit airy fairy, but I know when itís there in the picture.












































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