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 Cheryl in Rapid City, and again there was no looking back.
Its been said of L’Amour, that he lived the lives of his heroes. "1 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 and Arizona. But they’re the cowboys; I’m basically a country-casual boy. I would not be terribly useful at a roping or branding."
"Others build various products, J build oil paintings," states Paul. "I love everything about the craft of the art, but at heart, 1 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 has come from the thousands of sources available in books and galleries..., and he states, "From just about everything the Cowboy Artists of America make available."
"I’ve been pleasing people with their own image for many years* but along the way I also pleased art directors with my commerical photography. I was grooming myself by designing and lighting sets and objects to create a specific mood or occasion. What good fortune."
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 (1 feel) an advantage over many’ artists who 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 set up and build a studio oil painting.
"However, for the pure joy of pushing oils around on a board or canvas, nothing beats the plein air experience, What joy Cheryl and I have traveling the back roads and trails of the American West and stopping when and where to set up our pochade boxes and have a go at the moods and feelings of a particular view. The trick is to paint the atmosphere between you and the view.., a formidable task. And then off to nearly every gallery and collection available. We have spent countless hours and days intensely studying thousands of oils available throughout the west.... but its the Cowboys. Indians, horses and vast landscapes that hold me the longest. What ‘kid’ doesn’t Want tO play Cowboys and Indians!"
Paul and his wife Cheryl live in South Dakota and Arizona. They traveled continuously for over eight years in their bus conversion, the ‘WanderingStar’. Paul considered the voyage his chrysalis for transforming from photographer to artist. They have a son Travis in Philadelphia.
"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 nonobjective 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 a 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
- Cohn Powell
- President George W. Bush
- Dan Quayle
- F.W. de Kierk
- Carl Sagan
- Kevin Costner
- Garth Brooks
- Reba McEntire
- Phyllis Diiler
- Steve Allen
- Jay Leno
- Carol Burnett
- Malcolm Forbes
- John Denver
- Gordon Lightfoot
- and Peter Fonda are among those who have posed for Paul.
His work has been featured in:
- National Geographic
- Midwest Living (Meredith Corp.)
- Ford Times
- and used in publications of T.W.A. Services
- General Motors
- Montgomery Ward
- Nissan Motors
- and Northwestern Bell
Paul also was a major contributer to the Abrams coffee table publication by Lois Sherr Dubin, "North American Indian Jewelry and Adornment".