Ivan Jones presents an impressive collection of richly detailed pastel animal portraits. See more of his work by visiting his website.
I grew up in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, England. Even as a child, I have always been interested in art. It was not until I was in junior school and asked to help paint the background of a float used in the local town’s Coronation Parade that I really discovered my passion for art.
Opening all the tins of poster paint, seeing all the raw colours, mixing them, and creating a scene on a grand scale had a great impact on me. I can still visualise the sight and smell to this day.
My secondary education was at a grammar school where art was not in the curriculum. I was lucky enough to have a teacher who was happy to teach art to me after school, and passed A level art at the age of sixteen. Although I considered going to art college, I instead did what was expected of me and studied veterinary science in London. It was not until I retired in 1999 that I found the time to renew my love for art.
While in my teens, I was introduced to pastels by a friend of my father. He was an excellent artist and his use of pastels was an inspiration. Sixty years later, I still have a few of the pastels he used! I don’t use them, of course, but I hold onto them for nostalgia’s sake.
When I retired, my wife and I moved to Australia to look after her mother. I needed a medium that was not too messy as I was working in her front room. I found a fantastic art shop around the corner from her home in Melbourne that had a huge selection of pastels. It seemed that fate had led me back to them again.
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My style is traditional and highly detailed. In my animal portraits, I have no doubt that my veterinary background inspires me and enhances my understanding of what lies underneath the skin of an animal. I believe this gives me additional ability to create more detailed and accurate portraits, whether of an animal or a person.
I work largely from photographs that have been taken by myself or my wife or selected from photographers who kindly give me permission to reproduce their images in pastel.
Pastel is very flexible; it allows for corrections to be made relatively easily with a soft brush or eraser. It can also be layered to create a 3D effect, with details being added in pastel pencils to the base pastel colours.
My favourite technique is base layering using soft pastel sticks rubbed into the surface of the pastel board to provide colour and texture. This is followed by more layering, with both soft pastel and pastel pencils. Then the final details and highlights are applied with sharpened pastel pencils.
I am fortunate, indeed, to be in a position to create art at my own pace and largely without pressure. A very enjoyable hobby!
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