Texas artist Rusty Jones sees more than just a good painting when he looks at the pieces he’s collected from friends and acquaintances. He sees the determination behind them.
“Like many collectors, I want to know the person behind the paintbrush,” says Jones. “With almost all of the paintings in my home, I know the artist personally. I’ve either painted with them, met them socially, or met them on Facebook, where we have gone back and forth for a while. I like to know the artists and learn who they are, what drives them to take these long hikes back into the country. It takes dedication, and I can imagine the sacrifices they made, we all make, to be away from the family, working out in the field for eight or 10 days sometimes. It is a passion, and I like to see that passion, what drives them. I can see traces of it in their paintings.”
“They Fenced Me Out,” by John Budicin, oil, 8 x 10 in. Collection of Rusty Jones
First up from Jones is a piece by Taylor Lynde. “Taylor is an extremely talented guy,” says Jones. “I have two of his paintings. He’s a traveling buddy of Josh Elliott’s. With this piece, I really like the progression of foreground to middle ground to distant ground, and the corresponding rock formations in shadows, in light, and in the distant hills. He has all of that progression in a small little painting. It’s something we struggle with en plein air, to show the value changes from foreground to distance.”
“Old Friends,” by Joshua Been, oil, 9 x 9 in. Collection of Rusty Jones
Next is a piece by California painter John Budicin. “I took a workshop with him, and he showed a slide of this piece,” Jones recalls. “I asked him about and purchased it from him on the spot. I typically buy from artists I really admire, and John has been one of my favorite plein air artists for well over a decade, so the opportunity to buy it was really exciting.”
Last is one by Colorado painter Joshua Been. “Aside from being the most prolific painter I know, Joshua’s color sense and brushwork completely set him apart from all other plein air painters out there doing it right now,” asserts Jones. “He posted the painting online and I bought it right away. I love trucks. Look at his brushwork, color, design. Joshua is so good, so decisive. I really love the way he approaches his work.” Jones has two other Been paintings that he bought through a fundraiser Been participates in. “It supports his local fire department,” explains Jones. “I got two small field studies of his, and they came framed in custom-made frames. It was a chance to support a community and get a good deal on a couple of his paintings.”
“Miner’s Cabin,” by Rusty Jones, oil, 9 x 12 in.
That last bit ably shows how Jones connects with the painters he collects. It goes further than the mere surface appeal of the paintings, into the personality of the artists, and their world.