Paintings by Laura Dell Jones
My name is Laura Dell Jones, I’m 65 years old as of this week and began seriously to study painting in 2014. Prior to that, I had taken a few art classes because it has been a life-long passion, but I last picked up my pencil in 1980. I had started working in pastel pencil and charcoal drawing portraits but in that season of my life, I became a new mother while advancing in my career, which required me to devote all my time and energy supporting our nation’s decision makers as an aerospace systems engineer. 31 years later, with a body depleted by a low immune system and a high-stress work environment, I had to retire early.
Once healthier, I decided to take an acrylics class in 2014, which led to an oil painting class, which encouraged me to enter my first art show in 2016. That was both exhilarating and scary for me. After trying to teach an acrylics class myself, I decided to concentrate on improving my own work in oils and increasing my portfolio of artwork. I am my most happiest viewing art and most relaxed and stress-free when creating art. That said, the physical act of painting can sometimes leave me physically exhausted, if not in actual pain. I suppose I shouldn’t paint for hours and hours without stopping, but I get lost in the challenge of the paint and what happens when it touches the canvas.
I once thought my style would be that of my favorite Impressionist artists, but find myself usually working more in the realistic realm. I’ve dabbled in abstract using some leftover paint in a casual way that leads me to see images and inspires the resulting painting. I paint what I see, literally.
I don’t use any standard processes other than that and a few guidelines I’ve learned doing my own research, such as the rule of thirds and grids. I often take photos and work with them in Power Point to see what I might paint. My work is largely self-taught, but I give God credit for any innate skill I may have.
I dream of having my own studio instead of the little sunroom off my kitchen and going on a sabbatical to some place where I find happiness (think beach) and where no family nor household distractions would interfere with my ability to devote days doing nothing but painting.
When I see a photograph that I would like to paint, I file it away on my computer – there are probably several hundred by now I want to someday paint.
I tend to only paint personal challenges. Going to college to be a Social Studies teacher, but ending up being a self-taught aerospace engineer in a high stress environment – and really, just overcoming a lifetime of challenges -has led me to become what I refer to as a “challenge-junkie”. I only attempt paintings that, first of all, evoke an emotional response in me, and those tend to be the most technically challenging. And I pour 200% into every endeavor, setting the bar very high for achievement in all things I do in life.
I study the works of other painters and receive daily FASO emails. I don’t try to compete with painters who are more skilled than I am – there are far too many good artists in the world to do that – but I study their work and try to discern their brushstrokes and paint application process in an attempt to learn from them. I have my own unique style and that is who I am as an artist – but that doesn’t mean that I cannot grow. I know that I have much to learn. I also need to recapture my self-confidence in my drawing skills.
My biggest challenges as an artist, other than time, is missing knowledge of techniques – and knowing when to stop. I repeat the same pattern over and over again. I paint. I like what I have on canvas. I decide to make a tiny change here and there and before long, the entire painting has changed – sometimes so much so that I have destroyed what I liked and have to recreate it – never ending up with quite the same painting, of course, even if I do get back to being happy with the work.
They are called the Old Masters for a reason. They were not good artists – they were the greatest in the history of humankind and have gone down in history as such. Some may not have been acknowledged or appreciated by their contemporaries, but have withstood the test of time.
While I may or may not ever leave behind a work of art that carries on into the future generations and is held up as an example of greatness, it is a challenge that I want to accept for myself. And to do that, I have to learn how.
I think the Old Masters Academy is a wonderful course that can help me improve my knowledge of the painting process. I would like to paint a portrait of my daughter in the style of the Old Masters. I would also like to learn the processes required by OPA, so that I might one day be able to join their ranks. I am a traditionalist when it comes to works of art – I have not enjoyed the more modern movements as I see them as less disciplined. I used to think of modern art as ‘anybody, even I, can do that’ and only appreciated the works that I couldn’t do (i.e., the Old Masters).
Why should people vote for me? Because I am a good artist, but not great yet. For that, I need help and winning the Old Masters painting course can only be a step in the right direction. However, I cannot afford it at this time on my own, so I would be ever appreciative if selected to receive it. Then I can be on my way to the next challenge – that of creating the greatest artwork in what remains of my lifetime, so that I can leave it as a legacy to my daughter, and her daughter and unknown future generations. Just as the Old Masters did.