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Flower Power: Local artist to exhibit wild watercolor at Arboretum

By Austin Jackson | Published Wednesday, April 24, 2019
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Budding artist

BUDDING ARTIST – Local artist Sherri Jones of Paradise showcases some of her watercolor wildflower paintings that she will exhibit for Artscape at the Dallas Arboretum Friday and Saturday. Jones, a former art teacher at Bridgeport High School, began focusing on painting full time in 2013. Messenger photo by Austin Jackson

Serenity courses from Sherri Jones’s paintbrush as trees sway and dance in the breeze of her office.

Her home studio is surrounded by nature, soon her painting follows suit.

Splashes of watercolor blend into yellow and red petals on the canvas, as the Paradise artist slowly fills the blank space with shades of the calm she felt as she traipsed through fields of wildflowers weeks ago.

A medley of poppy flowers, defiantly sprouting into a field of red, stretch across the frame as Jones puts the finishing touches on the painting. One of the many wildflowers she’s ceaselessly worked to capture since 2013.

“Wildflowers are just what they are meant to be,” Jones said. “They are pure. They don’t try to be anything they’re not. A lot of people think they are weeds and unimportant, just like people can feel sometimes.”

To Jones, wildflowers speak a silent truth, representing individuality, imperfection and beauty.

Capturing and expressing this silent truth and the serenity wildflowers bring has become Jones’ passion – one that’s evolved into a career.

Jones’ process starts with scouting a location, taking thousands of photos of wildflowers, before narrowing them down to a few based on the light and composition. She then sketches her vision repeatedly until she finds what catches her eye. She then begins painting.

It’s a full-time job for Jones, a second career, similar in ways to her work as a full-time mom.

“In a way, each painting is like raising a child,” she said.

Jones has experience in both painting and parenthood. She is the mother to three kids, one of which, is NFL player Colin Jones.

She’s painted hundreds of wildflowers and other pieces of art, largely focusing on wildflowers, exhibiting across the state after taking up painting full-time in 2013.

This weekend, Jones’ paintings, the product of hundreds of hours of work, will be on display at Artscape at the Dallas Arboretum. She will join close to 100 artists from around the country to showcase her art, surrounded by the beauty of the arboretum.

“It’s really where my art belongs,” Jones said. “It fits.”

At the surface, comparing exhibiting paintings of wildflowers to, say, watching your son gun down the sideline and explode through a bone-rattling tackle for the Carolina Panthers couldn’t seem any more different.

Jones’ feeling of pride witnessing the fruition of her hard work come to light at exhibits brings a similar rush.

“It comes from being willing to put yourself out there and be willing to get knocked down,” Jones said. “It’s exhilarating and nerve racking. But the rewards are powerful.”

Jones has lived out her passion as an artist for several years, starting with teaching art at Bridgeport High School. After Jones’ magnum opus, her kids, graduated high school, she went into teaching art and yoga from her home instead of at the school, all the while taking art classes at local colleges.

Jones said her daughter, Bailey Jones, an accomplished artist and studio manager of the Wildflower Art Studio in Denton, encouraged her to take the next step into the art world.

“I actually followed in her footsteps as it turns out,” Jones said.

Jones teaches art classes alongside Bailey at the studio, located on Locust street in Denton and at her own home in Paradise.

Teaching classes remains one of Jones’ central passions as her work as a painter has evolved over the years. But the soothing nature of teaching yoga and art has brought a constant reward.

“It’s really therapeutic,” she said. “I’ve seen it in my students and in me.”

Jones’ husband, Kevin, said he’s in awe of his wife’s determination as he’s watched her create a path toward a second career.

“She just made a commitment to make a profession of it,” Kevin Jones said. “She’s worked hard, very hard. She was so busy for most of our lives, raising kids in a Christian environment. She went into teaching then felt like she could make a go of it doing this. It’s just blown up. She’s incredible how she just set her mind on it. She just went out and did it.”

Jones got her first big shot as a professional artist after submitting some of her wildflower paintings to the Wildflower Festival in Austin. To Jones’ surprise, her work was selected to be a part of the show.

She’s since been on the Texas circuit exhibiting in juried shows across the state. Jones said the experience of taking a work that’s so personal and putting it out into the public space was humbling at first.

She expected to sell every painting at her first show, only to sell one. But she realized the feeling of having people appreciate and share her work was a reward on its own.

“It’s about putting my art out there and seeing what it does,” Jones said.

Seeing her work sell and become part of people’s homes has kept her driven.

Jones will continue to speak her truth silently through her wildflowers. You can check out this local artist in person this weekend by visiting the arboretum.

For information on the exhibit visit www.dallasarboretum.org/events-activities/artscape/. For information on Jones’ work and classes, visit her website at sherrijonesart.com

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