I recently returned from Boston where the crew and I were attending the TransCultural Exchange Conference on International Opportunities in the Arts. The conference was great. We learned many things. The highlight of which was a workshop presented by German artist Ulli Boehmelmann on the logistics of mounting an international exhibition. (She was speaking about her experience in particular of presenting work in Russia). I found these artist-led workshops to be the strongest of the conference. Artist talks can be so impactful and encouraging and motivating in terms of narrowing in on what kind of art career I'm seeking. I've talked about this before, but it's so easy to become lost in the proverbial 'trees' - deadlines and paperwork and blog posts - and neglect the career 'forest' plan. My point is: it was a good week for thinking and planning and getting inspired.
Plus we trekked around Boston. A city I haven't visited since I was 10. It's wonderful. We are already planning a return trip, one with no conferences. Just walking.
The highlights. Make Way for Ducklings. Sloane Merrill Gallery and a wonderful show by Timothy Powers Wilson. And the Museum of Fine Art where we spent a good deal of time in front of a little Rembrandt (what a collection).
Here is the Jones Gallery crew in the Common.
In between workshops and gallery visits, I took a few photos and made some sketches. I'm now working on a few Boston paintings.
On another note. Regarding War and Peace.
I listen to audiobooks at the studio, which I have gone on about before. And because I spend some mighty long hours at the studio, I look for meaty, lengthy listens. And I love Tolstoy and Anna Karenina, so this month: War and Peace. 60+ hours. Yarr.
I am almost finished. Narrowing in on hour fifty. While I knew the broad strokes of this book before beginning, I didn't know the minute details of the storylines. But now that I am immersed, Tolstoy's charms are wearing thin. I'm planning to read Anna Karenina again soon to clear my head of War and Peace.
To mark my near conclusion of this epic audiobook experience, I've compiled a list of War and Peace characters, who, in my humble opinion, I would love to see trampled by a hoard of stampeding Russian peasants before the end of the book. Some of these characters have already met their demise at this point in the novel (I cheered), and as for the others, I patiently await their smushing by peasant herd.
Those Who Should Be Trampled:
Andrey Nikolayevich Bolkonsky
Princess Marya Bolkonskaya
Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya
Among others. Especially Pierre. Please tell me he doesn't endure until the end.
I'll be teaching HUM 1905: Introduction to Art & Architecture, scheduled for UNB Saint John's 2016 Summer Session. Classes are offered Monday and Wednesday evenings from 7-9:30 pm, beginning May 4th. Auditors are welcome (a cheaper option with the added benefit of no midterms!).
Contact me for more information or for assistance in registering. Registration opens March 1. Space is limited to 30 students.
HUM 1905 course description:
This course is a broad introduction to Western art from ancient Greece to the twentieth-century. Students will learn processes of visual analysis, become familiar with key figures and artistic movements, periods and styles, and explore how painting, sculpture and architecture relate to each other and to the wider historical context.
This introductory course is open to all students; no prerequisites are required. It is designed to provide students with a fundamental understanding of art history and an opportunity to develop a critical approach to visual culture.
I am still using Caleb's audible account. Only he has caught on to my rabid book downloading and I had to pay for this year's subscription. A SMALL SACRIFICE for endless hours of bookish joy. Here are my favourites from the past year.
1. Middlesex, Jeffrey Eugenides. I like titles with the word 'middle' in them.
2. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz.
3. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, Susanna Clarke. I read this one already years ago, but didn't recall much other than liking it. Plus I like long-ish listens. Even more so when Simon Prebble is doing the reading. This one, like Kavalier and Clay, I wished would keep going on and on.
4. North and South, Elizabeth Gaskell. Which I've gone on about before.
5. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt. Me and novels about art history are destined to go together.
My ongoing "do better" list.
1. Drawing. I typically take a utilitarian approach to my sketchbook - making notes on composition or angles or location, sorting out the preliminaries for a planned painting. Unplanned, unfettered drawing tends to fall by the wayside in favour of deadlines. Experimentation though, mark-making for the sake of mark-making, leads one to the good stuff. Drawing, must do more, I say to myself. Often. So this winter, I am trying to draw with regularity. Sketchbook and pastels every day, for a few minutes at least.
2. Organization. Look at all those little boxes! These are the first issues of the Jones Gallery Quarterly leaving the studio last week. Organized. A little spreadsheet and everything. Go me, an-organized-and-effective-me.
My minions helped, to be honest. They're the organized ones. They disparage my helter-skelter ways.
3. Not delivering wet paintings to galleries. I have an exhibition with Argyle Fine Art coming up in April. The last time I had a show with them, a few of the paintings I delivered were a tad wettish. Stupid oil paint and its extended drying time. So I am working on Halifax paintings diligently. It's February! So much drying time until April.
4. Catalogues. I've been meaning to do a portfolio catalogue for years. YEARS. It only took the depths of February and a conference deadline and upcoming portfolio review to finally buckle down and create one.
I am now fully ensconced in my new studio on Germain Street, Caleb is manning the gallery on Duke Street, and the winter days are slipping by. With Caleb at the gallery, my studio time is becoming more and more productive and focussed. So it seems, anyway. February could easily throw an unproductive wrench into my self-congratulations. Winter is such a perfect nap season.
On the go: I am working on an upcoming solo exhibition at Argyle Fine Art in Halifax in early spring, and the first issue of the Jones Gallery Quarterly is about to be delivered to the post office. Also on the easel this month: paintings of Portland, Maine.
This new studio is largest working area I have ever had, triple the size of the gallery (and former studio space). I'm looking forward to working on some large paintings here. I'm planning some big ones for my upcoming show at the Saint John Arts Centre in September.
I've also been working on some photos and sketches from a recent trip to Portland, Maine. They have some great alleys and fire escapes and power lines.
Caleb Jones is my brother, an internationally recognized athlete, and the new Chief Gallerist at Jones Gallery + Studio.
Many of you may know Caleb through his storied athletic accomplishments - an internationally ranked javelin thrower, gold medal winner at the Canada Games and current Canadian champion - but he also knows a lot about art.
Caleb has traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East and South America, helped me on some of my graduate studies research trips, and has spent decades following me through gallery after gallery. He knows what good art look like and is the second most qualified person in the world to talk about my work. You’ll be in good hands!
You will now find Caleb most days at the gallery while I continue to work in the studio around the corner. These are busy days for Jones Gallery! We have two solo exhibitions coming up, exciting plans for collaborations and international art fairs, and we’re shipping artwork all over the world.
Beginning January 20, 2016:
Wednesday - Saturday 12-5 pm
Outside of these hours, I am generally working in a studio around the corner from the gallery. Gallery is open happily by appointment.
I've been looking at fences and stairs lately. Both add a cluster of visual interest to a painting - a little flurry of horizontal or vertical lines can drive an entire piece. I go for walks around Uptown Saint John with my camera a couple times a week looking for ideas. A good staircase or fence will form the basis for a composition, then I work out the details at the studio.
On an unrelated note, I just finished reading (and watching) Elizabeth Gaskell's North and South, andI've been contemplating the similarities between Milton and Saint John, both industrial towns. And then on Mecklenburg I saw these berries and this iron fence, and thought, Margaret (or maybe Gaskell) would approve. Little bits of beauty in this rough-and-tumble place.
Also on Mecklenburg. This eerie place. That one is straight out of Victorian Gothic horror.
Join us this weekend for the Jones Gallery Once-Every-Few-Years Holiday-ish Special. Free painting with purchase! New work on the walls, mystery paintings wrapped, twinkle lights on, door prizes sorted.
Also! If you have been considering subscribing to the Jones Gallery Quarterly, now is the time! In-store Quarterly subscriptions are eligible for the special offer. Sign someone up for Christmas and get a wee gift for yourself.
Here is a little peek at what is in store for Friday & Saturday. The little gift bags are on display throughout the gallery - pick out your mystery painting! There is also a $50 Jones Gallery gift card door prize.
If you follow the studio, you know that I have a sale perhaps once-per-year. Here is the 2015 version! We did this a couple years ago and it was a fun one: a free mystery painting with purchase. I have a basket, full of wrapped up little paintings, and (with purchase) you get to pick one out! A little gift when you buy a gift.
Receive a 4”x4” ($145 value) painting for free with $300 minimum purchase. Offer available on Nov 13-14 only. Supplies are limited. One per customer.
Friday, November 13, 11-7 & Saturday, November 14, 11-4
I am currently exhibiting selections from my travel sketchbook, paintings based on my trip to Rome, and new Saint John cityscape work.
And seasonal hours are now on! The Gallery is open Wednesday-Saturday 11-4. Or anytime happily by appointment.
I am thrilled to share with exciting news with you.
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.
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.
*Subscriptions for the 2016 edition are now SOLD OUT! Subscriptions for 2017 will go on sale in August, 2016.*
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.
Another magnificent Gallery Hop. Hundreds of people and regular hoppers and new ones and yes, a good night.
Congratulations to the Fundy Fringe Festival and Third Space on their successful events, which were also happening that night/week. Sometimes, everything in Saint John aligns and we're an awesome place.