Art History Travel Tour: Florence & Rome 2016

I am thrilled to share with exciting news with you. 

Freedom Tours and I have been working for months to plan an escorted art history tour to Florence and Rome in 2016. And we just released the tour information

Many of you have attended my art history lectures over the past several years and know this is a passion of mine. You can now watch me gesture enthusiastically on site rather than simply at a screen. 

The days are divided, for the most part, into morning lectures/tours and free time to explore in the afternoon. An Italian guide will take us from place to place and discuss local context; I will be accompanying the group to provide the art history content. We are beginning the tour in Florence and concluding in Rome. This will be an in-depth look at the Early to High Renaissance. We will be looking at (and surrounded by) painting, sculpture and architecture. I am hoping to weave the Renaissance story together in an immersive way to give you a real sense of the life and work of artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli and Raphael. 

You can see the complete itinerary here. For booking or travel information, please contact Freedom Tours. 

For the next few months I will be blogging about various bits of art history that we will encounter. Stay tuned. 

You can also attend my upcoming art history lectures on art in Rome. These lectures are taking place at the gallery (73 Duke Street), October 16-24. They will cover some of the work we will see in the latter part of the tour. 

Special thanks to Ellen, Heather and Lena at Freedom for having this idea and for all your work. 

Launching the Jones Gallery Quarterly!

Special thanks to Argyle Fine Art for being part of the inspiration for this project (they have an awesome print subscription series that I highly recommend). 

Readers, if you like: send me your address and I will mail you a copy of the Quarterly brochure. On real paper! Mail! I love mail. 

Or subscribe now and wait for your art bundles to arrive. 

Jones Gallery Quarterly Subscription

Receive FOUR paintings throughout the year, once per season. Each painting is an original 6"x6" cityscape work on canvas by Sarah Jones. (Cost of a 6"x6" painting in the gallery is $175, which means you save $50 per painting!). Subscriptions are limited. 

The first issue of Jones Gallery Quarterly will be Winter 2016. 

Shipping is free within Canada. 

Return policy: All sales are final. Each work will be executed according to the artist's highest standards and integrity. Each subscription and every work within is unique. By purchasing, subscribers are aware of the artist's work and are open to the surprise element of this project. 

Add To Cart

"The Place We Live": A Preface

I was honoured to write the preface to the 2015 Saint John High School Yearbook. These are, what I hope to be, some meagre words of wisdom on their theme, "The Place We Live." 

I spend a lot of time thinking about the meaning behind your theme, the place we live. Place is probably the central theme in my own work. I’m always trying to figure out ways to interpret place/home/ landscape. Which is tough stuff in an urban setting. Cities are complicated. Urban spaces are made up of fields of accumulated meanings: memory upon memory, old landmarks razed for new ones, graffiti spray painted over graffiti, its people coming and going.

These non-static elements reflect the nature of urban identity itself. Transient. Changing. Shifting fields of meanings. Given its ever changing nature, it’s challenging to concretely define an urban place beyond simple geography. What is Saint John, exactly? How are we different from Fredericton or Moncton, Toronto or New York? How do we parlay the complicated memories and experiences living or going to school in the Uptown into identity? And how do these experiences inform our sense of place?

So this is what I deal with in my artwork. Or valiantly attempt, seeking somehow to capture the essence of my urban place (Saint John) on a static two-dimensional surface. I try to mirror the development of urban space in my work, re-creating a field of accumulated meanings through the physical application of materials, built over time on the canvas, each layer a temporary interpretation of the landscape. I also try to draw attention transient elements of urban culture, like graffiti, construction sites, cranes, scaffolding and tankers – things that move in and out of the urban landscape, and that are often painted over, concealed, moved, ignored or edited in a bid to preserve an aesthetic ideal.

Sure, there are parts of Saint John that are less that aesthetically ideal. I remember thinking this with particular vehemence one afternoon in Grade Nine Social Studies, when the some dank fishy smell wafted through the open Prince William Street window (the odoriferous hazard of going to high school next to a working port).

But you know what, I like the grit. I like the decaying bits of old piers in the harbour and the tugboats and the odd characters and our rough-and-tumble South End. Perfection is boring. Flaw is character.

Some of you will be leaving Saint John. For university or travel or work, eventually.Watch what happens to your sense of place and how you self-identify. I went to Queen’s University for graduate school and was surrounded by fellow students who thought Quebec was the East Coast and that the Maritimes was a mythical land populated only by Anne of Green Gables and that Ontario (alone) equalled Canada. My sense of identity there came into sharp focus.While I was living in Kingston, the Globe and Mail published an article about one of those happiness indicator studies, in which they found that Saint John was the happiest city in Canada. I was triumphant. I made photocopies and distributed them around the campus bulletin boards. My small act of in-your-face-Ontario rebellion. We might be a little grimy around the edges but at least we’re a happy bunch.

Sometimes, the not-so-nice-at-the-time elements of the place in which we live or grew up - the bits we don’t like (it’s too small, too poor, too dirty) - become the things that we miss the most when we’re away from this place. And maybe they will be the things to draw you back. It drew me back. And I opened a studio and a gallery one block away from my old high school, in my favourite place in the world: our little uptown. I like the smallness of this place, that this community will get behind a young entrepreneur and support her career. I like that we’re warm-hearted enough to stop our cars for passing funerals and slow-turned enough to chat with neighbours. I like that the lofts in our uptown buildings are full of artist studios and rehearsal spaces. I love blueberry pancakes on a Saturday morning in the City Market and tea at the Feel Good Store and Queen Square in the summer.

So, the place we live. Or maybe soon, the place we lived. In either case: explore, go for walks, drink tea, visit art studios, eat pancakes, watch tugboats.

Sarah Jones (SJHS Class of 2003)
Visual Artist, Jones Gallery + Studio

Gallery Hop: A Recap



The best Hop in the history of Hops? The largest crowd I've ever seen & a perfect balance of our regular Hop supporters plus so many new faces (hello, visitors from Fredericton and Moncton!). And everyone seemed genuinely happy. It was Saint John at its most upbeat and positive. Sometimes I see glimpses of our little city being awesome - artists and creatives and art supporters and entrepreneurs all synchronizing and taking a moment to realize that we're doing something relevant. And I heard that the Saint John Theatre Company, James Mullinger, and every restaurant and bar in our uptown had a similarly successful (i.e.: full, sold-out, busy busy) evening. Well done, everyone. Let's do it again.  

Some frantically-snapped pre-Hop photos of the studio:

One of the paintings from the new PORT CITIES collection that left the studio last night:

Red Tanker, mixed media on canvas, 18"x36"

Red Tanker, mixed media on canvas, 18"x36"

Winter's Work: Last Viewing

The Gallery will be open this Saturday, April 18, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m., for one last look at my winter work 'On the Grid'. In the works at the studio: new Saint John and Halifax cityscapes, going up on the gallery walls May 1. 

On the Grid No. 1, 24"x36", 2015, $1200

On the Grid No. 1, 24"x36", 2015, $1200

On the Grid No. 2, 24"x36", 2015, $1200

On the Grid No. 2, 24"x36", 2015, $1200

PORT: An Opening

My exhibition PORT opened last Saturday at Argyle Fine Art. Stuff that was great:

1. Adriana and Crystal. The lovely ladies who run Argyle. I connected with them last summer for their Canadiana group exhibition and we have been working together since then. They are supportive and innovative and their gallery is refreshingly non-stuffy. They truly understand the role of art as a tool for public engagement, encouraging viewers to interact, question, participate. Often in a pretty fun way. 

2. Gallery artists. Some of Argyle's other gallery artists attended the show! I often lament the (sometimes) lacking presence of Saint John artists at other Saint John artists' events. Not so at Argyle. I had great conversations with Caitlin McGuire, Andy MacDonald, George Spencer, Gordon MacDonald, among others (you can see their work through the Argyle blog). 

3. Friends, friends of friends and new friends. People came to the opening! People I know! And Halifax people that I don't know but some of my Saint John supporters do and they came! Plus lots of other people I have never met before! We talked about painting and cranes and Halifax's North End and Saint John's snowpocaylspe.

Some photos I took before the opening:

PORT: A Preview

A little preview of some of the small works heading to Argyle Fine Art for PORT, my first solo exhibition in Halifax. Please join me for the opening on Saturday, March 14, 2:30-4:30 p.m., 1559 Barrington Street, Halifax, NS. 

Click on the images to view painting information.