A Portrait of Derek Jones

Derek Jones and I share a love of coffee. Freshly ground, black and usually accompanied by something very sweet. Today, as he’s preparing our morning fix, he’s left me alone in his studio.


For a moment it feels like a sanctuary and I soak up the lovely sense of calm. The light is diffused and my gaze drifts over a wealth of drawings pinned to every surface. Portraits in their dozens engage and captivate me; each one a testament to the intimate moment shared by artist and model. I slowly absorb the scribbled notes, swift sketches and colour swatches amidst a sea of brushes, pastels, gouache tubes and conte crayons. I feel energy.


Fascinated by eyes, lips and breasts, it is the way in which light falls upon flesh that informs Derek’s drawing. These tokens of sensuality have inspired a continual search, which threads through his work like a companion on a journey. As we indulge in a Sumatran roast, he alludes to the importance of personal reflection of his work as a catalyst for direction.


Throughout his career, he has strived to convey the sensuality of his model through the surface marks he makes. His search has thus far been realized in a huge catalogue of work across many mediums and various techniques. He has amassed not only a vast archive of material, but also a wealth of admirers and collectors.


After studying Fine Art at Newcastle, and working in the museum service and education, Derek has exhibited nationally and Internationally for over forty five years.


And still he is “always looking”. I’m drawn to a hand written quote tacked to the wall.


“One must still have chaos in oneself, to be able to give birth to a dancing star”. Nietzche


We speak of his “uncomfortable state” while drawing and the process by which he engages his paper with a sense he will make a mess from which to work his way out of. Each sitting becomes a challenge to express his fascination with the intrinsic offerings of femininity. The words of Friedrich Nietzsche clearly resonate


It would be fair to say that Derek Jones is a perfectionist, afflicted by a brutal introspection. I propose his pointed self-criticism may in fact be one of his best qualities and in a rare moment of ease, says of his recent work

“It’s starting to get there…”.


I’m doubtful Derek will ever reach a final destination, but his continual search is testament to his passion and dedication. Derek is working towards a solo show with us later in the year and is currently embracing digital technologies as part of his process. He chats with the quiet assurance of an artist at the top of his game.   Thoughts are percolating! With every muse, a quirk ignites a fascination, and a new journey begins. I’m more than excited to be presenting his work at Found. And just like his coffee, the work promises to be fresh, intense and deeply engaging.


Derek Jones, a solo show, opens at the Found Gallery, 84 high St, Dunbar, East Lothian, Eh42 1JH on 24th September and runs until the 8th October.


For any further information please contact Amy at the gallery on 01368 863030 or amy@thefoundgallery.co.uk





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