Friday, April 13, 2018

Mollie Jones, Watercolorist, Tells Her Story

Rosebowl and Berries, 22 x 28

Watercolor is my medium of choice . . . painting light and reflection and anything red has obviously become my passion in my work. It seems that the more complicated and involved my compositions have become, the more I love to paint. There is a thought that keeps repeating itself in my head and it's very worth repeating, "paint what you love, and you'll always love to paint". I really think it is that I'm proving to myself that I can "still do it". But let me share the beginning and progression as with so many artists of my generation, life got in the way of my art world at an early age.

When I was four or five, I saw Santa put an easel under the Christmas tree at my grandmother’s house so I've always known I was an artist. Santa must have known too. During school days (back in the dark ages), I was the girl who drew the scenes on the blackboard with colored chalk for all the holidays, as was the custom of our time. My loving dad thought artists were somewhat "kooky" so I was not able to have any formal art education during my school years, but I was forever drawing, painting, or doodling with anything that would mark a paper. During my college years I met and married my husband and immediately life started getting in the way of any art aspirations I may have entertained and this continued for the first 15 years of our marriage. We started several companies, one being a pet food company where we shipped product all over the US. But, in the 80's the recession destroyed many small business, and ours was one.

Somewhat out of desperation, I decided that I could draw (I am a good "drawer") and produce enough work to attend some street fairs that were common in Texas and sell my work . . . and it worked!! I specialized in pen and ink wildlife of ducks, birds, dogs, cats, deer, anything that caught my fancy and to my delight, my work was very successful. I raised children during the day and drew (with The Eagles, ha ha), at night. I had black and white prints made, hand-colored each print in the limited edition, matted and framed each, and basically hit the road showing in large festivals all over the US.

Great Horned Owl, pen/ink, 16 x 20

For twenty years, I traveled with the art show circuit and I must say in hindsight, I loved every minute of the travel. Artists are a special bunch of individuals, we all have our likes and talents and personalities, and I was fortunate enough to meet lovely people,  many whom I’m still in contact with today. But, as the advent of the mini mall and art/craft booths grew common, the major art shows declined and I changed my focus to calligraphy (still in the detail mode obviously) and began a new direction. To my delight again, it was a successful move. And, as the years flew by, I was able to educate two children with the gift of degrees from Texas A&M and Ole Miss all from the fruits of the art world that I love.  

Fast forward to 2009 when I was fortunate enough to begin my watercolor journey and join a blog on Facebook called Artcolony, which included a good number of major watercolorists in the US. I had begun dabbling in watercolor and had found a family so I worked at my "craft" diligently in order of like souls. When you surround yourself with really talented artists you have the bar raised tremendously to try to stay caught up with my new friends. I found that the color red began showing up in all my paintings and if there was a reflection or glass involved, all the better.

Ritzy Rose, 11  x 15

I was fortunate enough to attend two workshops early on with Joyce Faulknor and Paul Jackson who were marvelous teachers and really explained how you look for certain things in crystal and glass and translate them to paper, and I caught on pretty quickly. 

When my work began being accepted into national exhibition competitions, I was further inspired to try to get better and better as with watercolor, you never learn it all. But glass was my passion, followed by silver. And it was actually no work at all, only fun! There were many days that I could paint 10 hours almost straight and being 5' tall, I stand when I paint. The hours fly by even to this day. Glass became an obsession to find in junk shops and flea markets, or in the case of some gorgeous crystal decanters, a friend's well stocked bar.

Gin and Friends, 22 x 28

Next came invitations to teach workshops with societies around the country in watercolor, which I found I loved doing, and still do. The idea of sharing some secrets and techniques in painting glass and silver was appealing and it allowed me to travel again

The only negative is the time spent trying to book airline tickets. I was able to check one of my bucket list events off with the acceptance into Splash 18, a coffee table publication of the Best Watercolorists in America, with my "Blue Plate Special Pears" and a new love was found . . . painting old blue and white china. I keep going back to the combination of the reds and blues and fruits and glass and silver. I keep painting what I love.

Summer Pears, 22 x 28

Blue Plate Special Pears, 28 x 36

In the past three years I have been able to attain Signature status with Texas Watercolor Society, Southwestern Watercolor Society, Georgia Watercolor Society, WAS-H of Houston, Wyoming Watercolor Society, and have acceptances in Southern Watercolor Society, Adirondacks of NY, and also Transparent Watercolor Society of America.

I love having goals, it keeps raising the bar and at this particular time in my life. My art has been a true blessing. My newest painting was probably the most fun to paint to date and I was fighting my nemesis . . . green!  It seems that it just gets better and better when joy is involved.

Candlewick and Grapes, 22 x 28

More important to me than anything now is the support from my family and my art world. With the recent loss of my husband of 56 years, I have found a comfort that many will never know and it is solely the world of art that I am able to enjoy and know that I can continue to enjoy until the day I put my #8 Black Silver round brush down. My artist friends will never truly know how important they are in my life personally and how genuinely happy painting and everything that is involved with painting can be. Creative people find joy and beauty in most everything and I find that in art.  Everyone should be so lucky!

This is Week 14 of 2018 Artists Tell Their Stories. Thank you for reading and sharing Mollie's stories today. To connect with Mollie and see more of her work, please visit the following links: