"Paintings With a Wealth of Meaning" by Harry Lea
The drawings and paintings of Colin Jones are sufficient evidence of the
contribution he made to the contemporary art of Wales. His superb
draughtsmanship and remarkable grasp of colour are stated with an economy of
touch and certainty of vision.
The bold design and sombre colour scheme in the portrait of Father Caesar
emphasizes the delicate flesh tones and colours of the head. Here the minute
detail of the time worn features are expressed within the basic structure of
the main plains. Beyond these technical achievements the artist has caught the
kindly, sympathetic understanding, reflected in the eyes of his subject and the
forward leaning angle of the total design. The simplicity of figure and gown
is, nevertheless, full of modulated colour and graphic emphasis which reveals
substance and volume.
The general characteristics of Colin Jones' work owes much to his training
under Thomas Rathmell at the Newport School of Art, but without question the
facility of his talent was encouraged by his personal grasp of essentials in
form and colour together with a fine rectitude of character and a deep respect
for truth. In his recent paintings there is a clear paring down of unessentials
and his vision centres on clear and undisturbed shapes within which he conveys
a wealth of meaning by the skill of calligraphic brushwork or broad slabs of
accenting colour. There is a primitive strength here which recalls early Gothic
painting or stained glass. The "Pithead Funeral" with rich golden colour and a
dramatic use of bold linear forms or "Fallen Figure" illustrate these
The "Red Chapel" No 8 or "Mother and Child" owe much to his grasp of design.
Their severity is, however, much softened by the sensitive linear brushwork
used with cunning assurance and economy having much in common with Chinese
scroll paintings. This Oriental feeling is even more marked in the drawings, as
may be expected. In fact the tiled roofs of Montricoux have a distinct pagoda
like appearance. The "Church and Cypress Trees", "Dead Vines" and "Growing
Maize" all contribute perhaps by their clear and powerful line in breadth and
wealth of expression to an Oriental sense of draughtsmanship which extends into
the many studies of "Prie Dieu, Bruniquel".
It is, however, in the paintings and drawings of children that his personal
achievement reaches supreme heights. Colin Jones' work will grow in esteem and
value because of its sincerity and truth. His untimely death, as well as being
a great tragedy, is a loss to the art of Wales which is emphatically
demonstrated by this memorial exhibition.