By Grace Oborne
After being closed for months and months, the Rails End Gallery has reopened its exhibition centre to the public.
The last in-person showcase the gallery held was last summer, so with excitement, the executive director/curator, Laurie Jones, booked local artist Gord Jones, to exhibit his work immediately.
“I really enjoy his style, and so I started really thinking that we better show his work. I had invited him for the fall of last year and then in the early spring, and well, COVID got in the way and one thing led to another. I didn’t want to let the opportunity to have him introduced go by because although he teaches and he shows from his studio, it’s different to show in a space like what we have here,” said Laurie.
Gord Jones has been drawing and painting for over 35 years. He has experience dabbling in many different mediums such as oils and acrylics. He has spent considerable time on his technique over the years.
“I started with watercolour, but struggled with it as well. It just takes a long time to get a handle on it. I felt like I wanted to go somewhere with it [watercolour], and so I tried other mediums, but I just kept going back to watercolour, and now it’s my favourite medium to do. I just suits my personality,” expressed Gord.
Jones’ other hobbies are what drove him to work with watercolour. As an artist, he also loves to draw.
“I love to draw and watercolour is very much like drawing. You can’t fix mistakes. You really expose yourself, because you just have to put it out there and it either works or it doesn’t, and if it doesn’t, you have to just accept that and carry on,” said Jones.
Jones grew up in Hamilton, and now lives near Carnarvon. For about 25 years, he had a family cottage in Haliburton and therefore spent a lot of his time here. His surroundings are the inspirations for his work. He painted a lot of industrial scenes when he lived in Hamilton, and now, his work is inspired by the outdoors and the Haliburton area.
Asides from being a full-time artist, Jones thoroughly enjoys teaching. He is an instructor at the Haliburton School of Art + Design for their summer classes. Around 10 years ago, Jones decided to quit his job as an air conditioning mechanic to pursue art full-time.
“The transition from teaching was kind of easy for me. It’s funny, because if I told people that I was an engineer, and now a painter, it’s okay. However, to say something about a technician or someone who works with their hands, a lot of people don’t really don’t correlate those together, and it’s kind of a shame. I’ve always been attracted to art, it was always my favourite subject,” explained Jones.
Jones teaches now because much of his drive to become an artist came from connections he once had with his own teachers.
“I had success with some teachers that I connected with. They encouraged me, and I think that’s important. It’s important that somebody sees something in you. Watercolourists are very much like that. They’re a very close knit club, because we’re different from other mediums,” said Jones.
“Gord Jones is an elected member of the Canadian Society of Painters of Watercolour and the Society of Canadian Artists. He is also a member of the ECOAA, IWS, Niagara Frontier Watercolor Society, Haliburton Arts Council, and The Rail’s End Gallery in Haliburton. He has participated in the Studio Tour – Haliburton Highlands for the past four years,” read the Rails End Gallery website.
Jones is thrilled to be able to exhibit his work at the Rails End Gallery because he doesn’t exhibit often.
“I don’t enter a lot of exhibitions. It’s a lot of work and a lot of traveling. Watercolour doesn’t travel very well, because it’s in glass. If there is an exhibition, it’ll be something that I can take myself and so that’s why I don’t exhibit often,” noted Jones.
As a local artist himself, Jones loves exhibiting his work in Haliburton.
“It’s nice to be in the Haliburton area where there are other similar artists. I always say that watercolour people are the nicest people, because there’s a certain amount of humbleness that comes with the medium. You’re exposing yourself, and so I enjoy the people, those kinds of people, and the Haliburton area,” concluded Jones.