Paul Jones was born (1946) and raised in Missouri and Illinois but the minute he was in South Dakota via the Air Force, he was ‘in the west’ and there was no looking back. He met his future wife Cheryl in Rapid City, and again there was no looking back.
It’s been said of L’Amour, that he lived the lives of his subjects. “I too have ridden the trails of the west and sat at many a cowboy fire,” states Paul. “I’ve ridden many seasons in Yellowstone with cowboy ‘Bullwhip Bob’ and in the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming and Arizona. But the others are the real cowboys; I’m basically a country-casual boy. I would not be terribly useful at a roping or branding. Except for coffee; I’m pretty good at that. “Others build various products, I build oil paintings,”states Paul. “I love everything about the craft of the art, but at heart, I see the challenge of constructing an image and go to it with any means and talent possible.” Paul studied oils in college leaving early to spend his military Vietnam years assigned to Africa. But his real instruction he feels has come from the thousands of sources available in books and galleries...
“I’ve been pleasing people with their own image for many years* but along the way I also satisfied art directors with my commercial photography by designing and lighting sets to create a specific mood. What good fortune that was!”
Paul makes no apology for using the camera to capture his subjects. It has been an extension of his hands and thought process for many years. “I often ‘see’ in different focal lengths, giving me (I feel) an advantage over those who may use the tool less efficiently. Charlie Russell repeatedly refers to having a good day or bad depending on his luck with his camera. As the very successful Ed Mell says, ‘the camera is my sketchbook’... and a fine tool to help build a studio oil painting.”
“I have spent countless hours and days intensely studying thousands of oils available throughout the west... but it’s the Cowboys, Indians, horses and the vast landscapes that hold me the longest. What ‘kid’ doesn’t want to play Cowboys and Indians and get lost in the west!”
Paul and his wife Cheryl live in South Dakota and Arizona. They traveled continuously for over eight years in their bus conversion the ‘Wandering Star’. Paul considered the voyage his chrysalis for transforming from photographer to canvas artist. They have a son Travis and daughter-in-law Rebekah in Phoenix.
“Regardless the tools to capture and explore visionary concepts, in the final analysis it is my oils on my canvas that speaks to the public for better or worse. Much of what is available for viewing is non-objective art. I have an objective...a pleasing palette transferred to a pleasing canvas with a bit of abstraction to tease the senses... to pull the eye in. Under the best of conditions, the viewer falls into the picture rather than colliding with the surface...”
*Mr. Jones has had the pleasure of making personal portraits of many people of note. Lady Margaret Thatcher, Colin Powell, President George W. Bush, Dan Quayle, F.W. de Klerk, Carl Sagan, Kevin Costner, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Phyllis Diller, Steve Allen, Jay Leno, Carol Burnett, Malcolm Forbes, Willie Nelson, John Denver, Gordon Lightfoot, Peter Fonda, etc. etc. are among those who have posed for Paul. His work has been featured in National Geographic, Midwest Living, (Meredith Corp.) Ford Times, used in publications of T.W.A. Services, General Motors, Montgomery Ward, Nissan Motors, Northwestern Bell, etc. etc.
Paul also was a major contribute to the Abrams coffee table publication by Lois Sherr Dubin, “North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment”.