Jacqueline Jones, an artist based in Porth in the Rhondda Valley, has her colourful paintings on canvas displayed in five separate venues at present including in Brecon, Crickhowell and London writes Robert Macdonald.
As a member of the Welsh Group she is represented in the exhibition, the Welsh Group in Focus, now showing in y Gaer, the Brecknock Museum and Art Gallery in Brecon along with a photo of her at work in her studio by the photographer Bernard Mitchell.
In Crickhowell she has a one-person exhbition in the Tower Gallery while her paintings can be seen in two galleries in London as part of the celebration of London Welsh Week.
Her exhibition in the Tower Gallery has been entitled ‘A Green Moon in Scandinavia’, which is the title of one of her most striking paintings – a surrealist image involving a single female figure, the outline of a horse, a pinnacle shape filled with the outline of human heads and a green moon. “In the Northern Sphere there is a phenomenon called the Green Moon”, she says. “This is caused by the Northern Lights turning the moon a shade of green. For me, a Green Moon also symbolises nature, all things green and an Eco awareness.”
Jacqueline was born and raised in the village of Llechryd near Cardigan. Her father was a local baker but he died when she was young and her mother kept the bakery going and as a single mother raised Jacqueline. On the walls of the bakery when Jacqueline left school she hung her daughter’s first exhibition of drawings. Jacqueline was to study sculpture at Carmarthen Art College and one of her first jobs after leaving art school was working as an illustrator for the Ceredigion Museum recording archaeological finds from local digs including arrowheads and flints.
Moving from sculpture to painting she developed a rich and exotic sense of colour, drawing her subject matter from varied sources including her early fascination with archaeology and Welsh mythology. “My recent work is largely figurative with a narrative running through it. Some of it draws on my love of archaeology and myth, at other times from my own personal world. I draw further inspiration from quirky customs of our towns and villages. Currently my work is evolving into an amalgamation of all the environs and experiences I have had.”
Her paintings have a dreamlike quality, mostly involving one or two single figures standing alongside animals and the shapes of buildings, often churches, against a background of warm colours. She paints quickly with a feeling for expressive mark-making. Images from her own past emerge including the figure of a miner. On both sides of her family she had forebears who worked in the mines including a relative who was a pit winder and another who had to install pit props, a dangerous job she remarks.
As well as being remarkable painter she is also a poet and has won awards for her poetry, her writing being singled out by Gillian Clarke who in 2008 was appointed the National Poet of Wales. Her paintings reflect this intensely poetic quality married to a bold way of expressing imagery in paint which is highly individual.
The Tower Gallery exhibition continues until Sunday, March 19.