Still touching sky-Art by Don Jones

July 14, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Posted in Friendship | Leave a comment
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From fine drawings to clay globes, to his new, colorful sculptural forms, I’ve been a long-time admirer of the creations by artist Don Jones. I first met Don at the California State University at Bakersfield in the 1980’s where he was the Art Tech of many skills.  Amid the mix of Conceptual Art and Process Art trained instructors, Don, (and also Mike Heivly) gave much appreciated, concrete, technical input. Don told me then he considered being a classical guitarist but that his 5 hours of practice a day just wasn’t enough to cut it. In those words a lesson I’ve remembered, dedication, practice, do the work, do the work, do the work to get good!

Following is Don’s take on his artistic path.

My career as a full-time serious artist began in 1978 when I moved to Santa Fe NM and started my drawings of the sky.  They were of colored pencil that I blended using rubber cement thinner.  The finished look was smooth and polished.  I did these for 4 years and did ok considering.

My next chance at a career took me to Bakersfield where I worked as an all-around fine Arts tech at CSUB. I was not so good at that job and moved back to New Mexico. I opened up a gallery/frame shop that really needed more money and a better location (to make it successful).

However, I had a major flash of inspiration at that time:  I thought that if I could just combine my skills in clay with my love of the sky, I could make a living and do something unique. Originally, I got interested in clay as a student at the University of Utah in 1965.  I couldn’t throw worth a crap and it made me mad. So I spent hours and hours in the lab and eventually became very good. So good in fact, that they hired me to teach beginning and advanced ceramics as an undergrad. Then I got a teaching assistantship to Montana State U in Bozeman in 1967 and earned a Masters in ceramics in 1969.

The result (of applying sky drawing concepts to clay) was a successful wholesale/retail business selling closed hand-thrown forms with skies on them. Some examples.

This worked out well until 2004 when I just couldn’t make another one and I burned out.  Maybe I get bored easily or maybe I’m too curious about other media and other ideas.

After two years of banging around at retail jobs I moved to Rapid City where I thought I could retire and paint landscapes with all the other old guys in the Black Hills.  I painted 50 oils and sold some at a gallery but gradually realized that there are (many) painters out there a lot better than I am.

Deep in the back of my mind was a series of forms that were curved and had something on them, but I hadn’t explored that yet.  Last year (2009) I decided to make some of these which involved inventing the process.  At first I did oils on the surface such as this one above.

Then I decided that the forms themselves were good enough alone or in combination.  I started with wall sculptures using Nepalese Lokta paper for color. Here is one under construction.

And some finished pieces:

I am now working in more extreme curves for the second series of these. A video of more of these pieces may be seen here: Pthalo2


contact Don Jones for more info, or to purchase his work via email: djartist (at)

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