Artist of the Month: Andrew Jones

Jane Street Shadows (oil, 24×30)
by Andrew Jones was an Experimental finalist in the 23rd Annual Art Competition.


Residence: New York City

Inspiration for this Painting: The inspiration for this painting was the late afternoon sun streaking through cast-iron railings of a stoop in the Village in New York City. This particular stoop is just a few blocks from my home. I’ve been fascinated by old cast-iron railings since I was a child. Growing up in Baltimore and visiting relatives in Savannah gave me a lot of exposure to the elegance of early 19th-century architecture. I am active with the Village’s preservation movement.

Sometimes it seems that living in the Village in the 21st century is the equivalent of living in Rome in the 300s. At the end of the Roman Empire, the great monuments of the Republic and early Empire were in decay and being dismantled for the construction of Christian churches. It’s similar to witnessing today’s gradual destruction of New York’s federal and Greek revival heritage. The stoops that I paint represent my personal Roman ruins.

Working Process: I typically complete a painting in four or five sittings. In the first sitting, I get 60 percent of the impact of the painting. The second and third sittings develop the colors, textures and values. The fourth and fifth are corrective, addressing perspective issues as well as compositional subtleties. These are the longest sessions, with the least actual brushwork. This painting followed that general process.

My favorite part of the painting process is returning to the studio after a full night’s sleep or after a workday and seeing the piece with a fresh perspective. Sometimes an artist can be too close to a work. It’s important to have ways to distance yourself from it. Upon returning to see Jane Street Shadows, I was delighted that the painting had the same impact as the experience that initially inspired me.

Why He Creates Art: I paint because art is my passion. For my livelihood, I work in the financial sector. Art can be a very solitary pursuit, but my job keeps me in touch with other people. Painting becomes more pleasurable when it serves as an escape from the rigors of work.

My stoop series captures something that’s disappearing. Already, a third of the stoops I’ve painted have been altered in a negative fashion. I have made my best efforts with the historic preservation community to protect old buildings, but local authorities often don’t enforce the laws. The only thing I can do is to preserve the beauty of the historic fabric through my images.

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