Amanda Jones is a self-taught artist who works predominantly in gouache, pastel and pencil as well as occasionally creating works in acrylic on canvas. Her work covers many themes, ranging from marine environments to urban landscapes in addition to botanical still lifes and animal studies.
Water is often a vital element within Amanda’s work, as she loves the interplay of movement, colour and light that it creates. Amanda was a member of the Great Britain synchronised swimming team for nine years competing at the Olympic Games and Commonwealth Games as well as at European and World championships. It is from this time she has developed an instinctive understanding of the quality of water and how it behaves.
In Amanda’s most recent works, she has begun to explore creating images ‘at night’ (couleurs de nuit) examining how the darkness can contrast with and enhance colour to create both vibrant and atmospheric images.
Like photographs in black and white, Amanda Jones’ studies in graphite pencils are enhanced by the restricted shades of monochrome. Limiting her colour palette, she also increases the importance of form and highlights the subtle distinctions in tone and shade, creating a more engaging image.
When painting, Amanda uses a selection of incredibly fine brushes (most frequently 000 and 0000 in size) to complete her works, creating extremely detailed pieces that take a considerable length of time to complete. Therefore, Amanda works mainly from photographs taken with her Pentax k-x. She is often found rooting around gardens and hedges, adding to her bank of images. This also gives her a wonderful excuse to visit rivers, coastal towns and harbours.
Some of her works are interpretations of these places she visits and photographs, remaining easily identifiable and often true to subject. However, others are a combination of elements, stitched together from a variety of different locations in order to create a new and unique place, only existing in her mind and on paper.
Amanda creates realistic imaginary worlds and studies alike, in creating her highly detailed works, Amanda focuses on the tiny elements that slowly combine within images to create a complete picture. In this way she hopes that ‘the viewer will work in reverse- seeing the whole picture before being drawn in to discover the tiny intricacies and surprises within.’ In this way Amanda’s work is multifaceted, you are easily able to get lost within her complex images.
Amanda works from her purpose built studio in the garden, known as The Happy Mouse Studio. The choice of studio name was very important, as mice have always been her lucky mascots, a tradition that started in her synchro days.
Gouache is a type of opaque watercolour paint. However, it differs from watercolour in that the particles are larger, the ratio of pigment to water is much higher, and it may also contain an additional, inert, white pigment such as chalk. This creates beautiful vibrant colours. Amanda finds gouache a very versatile medium to use as it can be applied in much the same way as water colour paints, but can also be used with very little or no water at all. Results vary from laying down washes of colour, to being able to overpaint and so build intricate details – an integral element of her work. Amanda usually uses Windsor & Newton Designers Gouache as well as Daler Rowney. The range of colours available in shops can be quite limited as gouache is a less common paint medium, but can be easily sourced online.
Amanda usually paints with Windsor and Newton Cotman 111 brushes on Cotman fine grained water colour paper (at least 140lbs/ 300 gsm). As her paint brushes are so fine, she usually expects to wear out and so destroy a set during the production of every painting.
Amanda’s approach to a painting is unconventional. Images are always sketched out first and often using a set of grid lines for reference. She feels this is particularly relevant when painting boats as different boats possess particular design characteristics and she believes it is important to get these correct. Once the image is drafted out, she will then start from an area that “feels comfortable” and works out from this.
Amanda’s pastel work is produced using Faber-Castell Pitt Pastel pencils. She finds the use of pastel pencils allows her to achieve fine and detailed images. She works on Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper which has a rougher and a smoother side. Unusually, Amanda prefers to use the smooth side so as to create the very precise images she desires. She prefers to avoid the use of fixatives, as there is some concern that this can dull the colours of pastels. This would be particularly worrying when working on dark or black paper where her aim is to enhance the vibrancy of the colours against the dark or night time backgrounds.
As she does not use fixative, Amanda works on her pastel pictures in a very unusual way, starting in the top left corner and moving across in bands, gradually progressing down the page – in much the same way as an inkjet printer works! This reduces the risk of smudging the detail already put down on the paper.
Amanda draws with Faber-Castell pencils. Pieces of work are usually created using the range HB to 8B. However her most trusted pencil is the Staedtler Mars Micro 0.3 mm propelling pencil. It has an incredibly fine lead which enables her to add the tiniest of details. (Amanda, and her husband, also collect antique propelling pencils ranging from the late Georgian period, through the Victorian period, to Edwardian times, but she has never been tempted to use any of them).
When creating a work focusing on an animal or bird, the eyes are always the last thing to be added. Amanda feels the eyes bring the image to life. The eyes breathe character and personality into the creature, and it is no longer just a set of strokes on the paper.
Amanda Jones is also a member of the Wiltshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers through which she has learnt to spin a variety of fibres in to yarn.
Exhibitions that Amanda Jones’ work have been selected to appear in:
- 2015: Oexmann Art Award Exhibition
- 2014: Mottisfont (National Trust) Open Exhibition
- 2013: Oexmann Art Award Exhibition
- 2012: Mottisfont (National Trust) Open Water Exhibition
- 2008: Wine Street Gallery, Devizes
Prints are available here!
Commissions are accepted and some originals are available on enquiry. Please use the contact form here to enquire.