The challenge of not relying on recognizable subject matter.
After hearing Irish poet John O’Donohue ask, “What do you think happens to your unlived lives, the dreams you never pursued?” Marion Jones, a member of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, New Jersey, picked up the art she had left off some three decades ago, before a career as a psychotherapist. Jones writes:
I paint with acrylics on heavy, cold-pressed watercolor paper or canvas. The fact that acrylics can be applied like oil paint or watercolors offers so much choice in the way I use the paint. I like to thin acrylics with water. This allows me to work and re-work areas, and to apply layers of paint without having to wait for a long time until the layers underneath have dried. Sometimes I use pencil or oil pastels to enhance texture or color.
I begin a painting by covering a portion of the paper or canvas with a basic color, then building on the images that emerge from inside me. The process is complete when I feel a sense of calm, order, and resolution.
As the painting develops, I’m fascinated by light that comes from unexpected places, the impact of structure, the play of patterns against each other, the subtlety of color, and the challenge of making a painting work without relying on recognizable subject matter. Experience has shown me just how much harder this can be.
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Marion Jones is a member of the Unitarian Society of Ridgewood, New Jersey.
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