Alva Review-Courier -

'Pencil artist' finds inspiration in ranch life

 

February 13, 2022

With pencils, Lori Jones creates images as finely detailed as a photograph.

Give Lori Jones a No. 2 pencil and a sketch pad, and you'll see wonderfully detailed drawings flow from her fingers. The self-proclaimed "pencil artist" finds her inspiration all around her.

Jones is fortunate to live on a ranch in the beautifully rugged Gyp Hills of southern Kansas between Medicine Lodge and Coldwater. As she and her husband David handle the ranch chores including livestock and horses, she keeps a camera close by. When her eyes catch an intriguing scene or a particular play of light and shadow, she tends to shirk her ranch duties to capture the image. Later she'll transfer those photos onto paper or canvas.

Traveling such as the trips to Texas to visit her husband's family provide fresh inspiration, but Jones says the day to day work on the ranch, her children and grandchildren give her plenty of ideas. Western art is part of her everyday life.

From an early age, Jones has loved to draw and create. She grew up on a ranch in Colorado. In 2008 her family sold that ranch and moved to Kansas. She credits her "fantastic" art teacher in high school with encouraging her to make her art more than a hobby.

Marriage and the children that followed slowed down her art career. Jones said she had to put her paints away because they didn't mix well with young children. However, it was easy to keep a pencil and paper handy to do sketches when she had moments to herself like waiting in the car. Now that her children are grown and she's enjoying grandchildren, Jones has more time to devote to her art.

When she's at home, Jones can be found in her studio where she sometimes works in watercolors and colored pencils. Recently she attended a workshop on dry point etching and is experimenting with that technique. If Jones is not in the studio, she may be downstairs at the vise when she does custom engraving of firearms.

Although Jones has done some portraits, most of her artistic creations come from what she sees around her. Western art and old barns are favorites along with the beautiful sunsets we see in this part of the country. Although she enjoys working with color, she continues to return to her first love, her pencils, for much of her work.

Touting the versatility of pencils, Jones says they are portable, mobile and flexible. While the reliable No. 2 is readily available, she keeps a set of 2H to 9B pencils and a couple of erasers at hand. The softer leads are great for shading while the harder points give her fine lines. She says those supplies are readily available at a nearby Walmart.

Jones has enjoyed teaching her pencil art, but it has been three or four years since she conducted formal classes in Pratt. She has done some teaching with 4-H kids in Barber County, Kansas, and other informal instruction.

An intricately braided mane and tooled western saddle are depicted in pencil by artist Lori Jones.

Next weekend, Jones is presenting a two-day class in Alva at Graceful Arts Gallery and Studio. The Friday and Saturday class, Feb. 18-19, titled Drawing with Confidence is described as an all-inclusive, fun and productive two days. It will include drawing, layout, perspective and shading techniques that will result in a finished drawing.

Jones said previous art experience is not required. "While 99 percent say they can't draw a stick figure, anyone can learn," she said. The class provides a lot of hands-on experience.

Although class size is limited, Jones said there is still space available. As an added bonus, the class will count for continuing education college credit. Contact Graceful Arts Gallery 580-327-2787 about the classes or contact Jones on Facebook at Lazy J, Ranch Horses and Western Art with questions. Her website is http://www.lorijonesart.com.

 

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