“I’m not out to be controversial or upsetting: my pictures come from within and often I have no idea how they will turn out.”
This time, for Under the Spotlight we have been talking to Rosemary Jones, a talented printmaker and painter who lives and works in Worthing, West Sussex. Her vibrant, colourful work features images of local landscapes, flowers and plants.
Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school?
I remember art at school being quite traditional, although I’ve always been able to draw since I was a little child. I did enjoy it though, and something clicked when I tried oil pastels for the first time – I found that a very good way to work.
What would your school report have said about your art?
I always got very good grades and comments about my work, although only a D for A level.
Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?
I followed completely different paths after leaving school but really found my artistic direction when I was looking for something else to do with my life about 12 years ago. I discovered the OCN evening courses in art at Northbrook College, and I found a whole new life there: Observational Drawing and Painting, Life Drawing, Sculpture, Composition and Painting.
I also had to write essays and so that led on to a new interest in 20th Century British art.
What or who has inspired you over the years?
Teachers have inspired me – I had a fabulous pottery teacher many years ago called Joan Bowles and we were just on the same wavelength. I suppose she was the first real artist I’d ever met.
Jonathan Howlett at Northbrook was another great inspiration in that he started me on the courses and opened my eyes to all this, especially lino cutting.
What Artists do you admire?
Eric Ravilious: I love his paintings and wood engravings. Doing the research for a college essay about him led on to everything else I’ve done.
Antony Gormley: his sculptures fascinate me.
Edward Bawden: he is the king of lino cutting in my opinion.
Chardin, Caravaggio and Dürer too.
What is your favourite piece of work (yours and someone else)?
My favourite painting of my own work is my ‘Lux Aeterna’, which is an image of inside Chichester Cathedral.
I painted it when my mother was dying and I was listening to Morten Lauridsen’s ‘Lux Aeterna’: it was meant to be different but the music took over and I painted the light of eternity, and so a requiem for my Mum.
It’s difficult to choose a favourite work by another artist but I particularly like the lino cuts and other prints by Robert Tavener, particularly his Sussex work.
What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far? What are you proud to have achieved?
Two things: I was very pleased to be Artist in Residence at the Worthing Tourist Office in the Dome during the Worthing Art Trail in 2014. I considered that a great honour and privilege.
The other was recognising a cast iron bench designed by Edward Bawden in one of my gardening customer’s gardens, thanks to my knowledge of 20th century art. It was eventually sold at auction for a very large amount of money!
What have you sacrificed for your art?
Nothing really – in fact the opposite is true that art has opened so many doors it is quite unbelievable.
What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?
It’s not a case of ‘I can’t, because’; it’s ‘I can, if…’
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/craftsperson?
Join in with the networking!
How do you start a piece of work?
Usually by taking a lot of photographs, to give me references and scale.
When is it finished?
When I’ve finished cutting the plate, when one more cut would be too much.
Do you have a mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your art means to you?
Not just art – ‘There are always possibilities’. Spock said that 🙂
Does music help with your creativity? If so what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece?
I have a radio in my studio which is usually on either Radio 3 or Smile: this is because neither station has adverts. My musical taste is pretty wide and as long as it’s pleasant and/or interesting to listen to it’s fine!
What is your favourite medium to work with/in?
Lino cut, or trowelling on oil paint with a palette knife. With lino cut I have to be very careful, and my painting is the opposite.
Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?
I have a favourite lino tool which was given to me by a lady I gave lifts to while we were on an art holiday together. It’s a beautiful fine tool and was the most wonderful present really.
Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for?
I guess I just wanted to be noticed! (This is a family joke: it’s a reference from a book called ‘There’s no such thing as a dragon’ by Jack Kent, which I used to read to our children when they were small).
Is there anything you avoid with your art?
I’m not out to be controversial or upsetting: my pictures come from within and often I have no idea how they will turn out. I can’t draw squirrels or foxes either!
Thank you so much Rosemary, for talking to us, it has been a real pleasure. if you would like to see more of Rosemary’s work, please click on the links below.