James Aton recently won an award for his biography “The Art and Life of Jimmie Jones; Landscape Artist of Canyon Country”. Jimmie Jones is one of the most well-known landscape artists in southern Utah.
Reflecting on landscape painter Jimmie Jones' life, James Aton, admires the painter’s passion for the Utah landscape.
“He painted the canyon country like no one else," Aton said. "One of the things that distinguishes a Jimmie Jones painting is a sense of depth. When you look at his work you can see into the painting - he called being able to see through a painting.”
Aton says Jones’ talent of painting, started at a very young age.
“So you can see a landscape that he did at seven or eight years old," Aton said. "Even see elements that he intuited then that he was using at the end of his life in the way he used landscape. One thing the way he used trees - the way he got a sense of depth in this second grade drawing. Quite extraordinary.”
Jones didn’t start out as a landscape artist, but instead as a portrait painter.
“Once he made the shift into landscape painting, after his first successful show, he thought, ‘I should try to paint the Grand Canyon’. He lived there in the winter in a cabin about a mile and quarter from the rim. That winter was a real turning point in his life as a landscape painter. He said, ‘I found what I was meant to do.’”
Aton and Jones were good friends before Jones death in 2009.
“Jimmie was beloved. He was maybe one of the best people I’ve known in my life. Besides being a great landscape painter, he was kind, he was generous, he was a great listener, he was funny.”