Jane Jones is a Denver native who discovered very early in life, through crayons, that she loved color. Rarely seen without her crayons or watercolors, by the time she was seven she had already begun to separate her crayons into cool colors and what she called “citrus” or warm colors. She wrote stories and illustrated them and created “film strips” on paper using her 72 Crayola colors. Now she says that she lives for color and light, “that’s the reason that I get out of bed in the morning.”
A detour through biology and chemistry earned her a Bachelor of Science degree in 1976. “Looking into the lives of cells, plants and animals gave me a glimpse into the awesome power of living things and an incredible respect for them.”
After graduating from art school in 1989, she went on to earn a Masters of Arts degree in Art History and then taught Art History for 19 years. After art school she spent several years honing her techniques and searching for her artistic vision and voice. Jones knew that she loved color, that she was drawn to the personal intimacy of still life and that she loved the beauty of nature. Her art reflects her academic studies as well as her passion for the power and fragility of life.
One day while exploring with a new close-up lens on her camera she decided to investigate some flowers. “I saw a whole new and incredibly beautiful world of shape and movement, much like looking into a microscope.” That began a whole new artistic journey into painting the amazing world of flowers. For several years she filled large canvases with the magnified close-up images of flowers. But the time came several years ago to “put the flowers in vases and begin using symbolism to create more meaningful images” that would satisfy her spiritual exploration.
Gardening is the genesis for many of her paintings. She has found a profound satisfaction from finding bulbs, seeds and plants in catalogues and greenhouses and then nurturing them to full flower. “One of the toughest things that I have to do is cutting the flowers from the plant. But once I get just the right light on them and the glass vase - well, I’m beside myself with excitement at the possibility of translating it into paint.” Outside of the windows of her Arvada, Colorado studio is her garden, which produces many of the roses, lilies, irises, and tulips that she paints. And she has a great relationship with her florist. But commercial flowers are often too uniform, so whenever she can, Jones travels to gardens to gather information about more types of flowers and see them in their various stages of development. Her travels have taken her to such diverse areas as public and private gardens in Southern California, the Desert Botanic Gardens in Arizona, exotic and tropical gardens in Florida and to the fabulous tulip and bulb gardens and markets in Holland.
Through her studies in art history she came to know the lives and styles of many of the master artists of the past. Those that have influenced her work are Michelangelo for his dedication to his work and clarity of composition and communication, from Johannes Vermeer has influenced her aesthetic of light in a painting as well as her technique, and the Dutch still life masters, including Willem Kalf, and the Dutch floral masters Maria van Oosterwyck and Rachel Ruysch have enriched her sense of historical roots in subject matter. They remind her that an appreciation and aesthetic of beauty in ordinary things has a long and rich tradition.
Darlis began sculpting in 1982 with the addition of still life bronzes in 1997, winning two Gold Medals and a Bronze Medal for this series, along with many other awards, both regionally and nationally. Her oeuvre of works over the years has successfully included figures, nature subjects, zen landscapes and her most prevalent current works entitled “French Lessons”. A painter prior to being a sculptor, sculpting still lifes in bronze was a natural transition for the artist.
She has three permanent bronzes in Benson Park Sculpture Garden in Loveland, Colorado – The Old Greek, The Old Greek’s Wife and The View, a bas relief. She was the third woman to have a permanent bronze added to the Park. Other commissions have included works for the Colorado Springs Osteopathic Foundation and the Space Foundation. She has taught several workshops in figurative terra cotta sculpture, and is included in galleries across the country. Her publication listings include Who’s Who in American Art, Who’s Who in the Southwest and Who’s Who of Women, among others.
Recent feature articles in major publications include Denver Woman magazine in June/July, 2010 – “Darlis Lamb-Images in Bronze” and the U.K.’s Belen Echandia web site profiling Lifestyles, “Inspirational Women – Moments with Darlis Lamb”. She is included in Southwest Art magazine’s July, 2010 issue with a Profile in the Sculpture section. Southwest Art’s new hardcover book Sculpture of the Rockies also includes her Profile with a photo of “ Madame Rose”.
(Images: Jane Jones, Brandy Rose, Oil, 26" x 28"; Wall Flowers III, Oil, 12" x 12"; Flirty Girls, Oil, 26" x 36"; Darlis Lamb, Chili Festival, Bronze, 4" x 27" x 7"; Jalapenos & Habaneros, Bronze, 7" x 6"; Courtesy of the artists and The Peterson - Cody Gallery)