Artistic Vision - In Play
The work of Laguna Beach artist, Kathy Jones
The artist: While growing up in Laguna Beach, Kathy Jones became entranced by the rich fabrics and beads that her mother, Virginia Reap, a fashion and jewelry designer, carried at her popular store Townsends. Jones studied art at Stanford University and lived in Cairo, Egypt, before taking a job as an illustrator at UC Irvine. She rose to become a vice chancellor before accepting a similar post at Georgetown University. Since 2000, the artist, now 73, has been back in Laguna with her husband, Michael, and has exhibited every year at the Festival of Arts.
In Jones’ words: “I always work in series, doing paintings that have a common thread. The inspiration for this series was a book, ‘Storyville Portraits’ [Little, Brown & Co., 1970], by photographer E.J. Bellocq. He loved photographing the working girls of the Storyville area in New Orleans. At the time it was a red-light district. The images of these young women moved me when I saw them years ago and have sort of haunted me ever since. If you look at the photographs and at my paintings, you would say there’s no resemblance. Mine are less specific, less an image of a particular person and more a representation of a mood or feeling. In the case of this particular painting, one thing I was struck by was the solitude of these women. They were, in a lot of ways, pawns in the game. I love color relationships, finding those cool neutrals and wonderful hots – splashes of color you don’t anticipate. Color to me is very instinctive. When a painting is going well, I know exactly what the next color needs to be.”