Drawing inspiration from his lifelong interest in mythology and symbolism, Jonathan's work is full of color and character. Though largely self taught, his vision was shaped by friendships with many great painters, and the mentorship of a classically trained commercial artist. Decades of work as a professional musician have also imbued his art style with a keen sense of rhythm and harmony.
After completing an Associates degree in a local trade school, Jonathan continued his family's antique and furniture business among other jobs. His experiences in making design choices for retail sales helped foster an appreciation for color and harmony that carried over into his work. Jonathan began painting in acrylics in 2013 and later transitioned to oil and watercolor.
His earliest artwork evinces this attention to the market for decorative art. He began by painting landscapes and still lifes from photographs in a traditional American Impressionist style. By 2015, his distinctly unique style of painting began to manifest as he explored new techniques and honed his craft. In the years since, his style has emerged fully fledged and immediately recognizable for his brushwork and color choices.
My work is an archive of my personal impressions of the world around me. I try to approach my imagery with an objective detachment, painting what I see without attaching labels to the objects. Sometimes this results in particularly compelling scenes of the rural southern landscape I've been a part of for all of my life. I often intentionally omit the shadow cast by myself and my easel, preferring to imagine myself as part of the landscape and otherwise invisible.
When I'm not painting outdoors, I try to bring that same sense of spontaneity and naive curiosity to other subjects. I spent several years painting miniatures from reference photos cut from old magazines and textbooks. I approached painting in much the same way I taught myself to play music, by starting with the essence and working towards the particulars. I learned harmony and rhythm before learning to read classical notation; likewise, I learned to appreciate color and form before teaching myself to draw in detail.
I didn't begin painting until adulthood, but I've had a lifelong fascination with illustration and animation. The simplicity of form seen in cartoons and anime inspired me to draw comic illustrations as a child. I only shared them with close friends, and threw them away before starting another. These childhood sketches of funny little characters were a sort of initiation into the mysteries of fine art. It was only after a decade of practice that I realized the importance of those same broad cartoonish gestures in my studio paintings.
When I first began painting, I would sit quietly at a desk. I sat like a student, and I strove to match lines and colors with tiny brushes. Over time I learned to slide my chair further back and hold my brushes a bit more loosely. Now I always paint standing, and do my best work when I can sort of dance around the canvas. I impart as much motion from my entire body as possible, and allow that mysterious inner composure to help steady my lines. I try to achieve the elegance of a calligrapher in my brushwork.
When I actively engage with self expression in my personal projects, I draw on archetypal imagery. I often take inspiration from my memories and dreams, weaving the symbols into other subjects in order to convey a richer emotional meaning. With due appreciation for the ability of vision to transcend material understanding, and the power of color and tone to speak louder than words, I paint to share my understanding of the world. Whatever subject I choose to represent, however abstractly, I hold paramount the effect of the image on the viewer and my role in translating it.