Carolyn Jones: Artistic expression fueled by a scientist’s understanding of color
Carolyn Jones was a Berkeley kid who knew all about science, thanks to her father, noted physiologist Hardin Jones, a Cal professor. But, she had no idea that you could actually study the arts.
“I was good in math and went to Cal to study science, but I soon met people who were majoring in fine arts,” she recalls. “I’d been drawing and painting since I was child and thought, ‘what a great idea.’ I remember marching into my father’s office to tell him about my new major. Let’s just say he steered me back into science.”
Carolyn got a degree in physics and graduate degree in solid state physics. She finished school about the same time Silicon Valley was taking off, a wave she road in a career spanning 35 years, 25 spent with Hewlett-Packard.
“I was always interested in things that I could grab in my hand and look at under a microscope,” she says. “And I was lucky enough to figure out that science was really creative too. I’ve always been able to think outside the box.”
During her career as a research scientist, Carolyn continued to paint and, now retired, can, as she says, “paint for myself. I don’t have to make a living from it.” She is one of six new artists whose works are on display at Portola Art Gallery, located at Allied Arts in Menlo Park from Feb. 1 to Feb. 28. There will be a reception for the artists on Saturday, Feb. 5 from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
Carolyn is best known for her California landscapes, with a focus on local mid-Peninsula scenes. She was introduced to plein air landscape painting by Jim Smyth at the Pacific Art League.
“Color fascinates me,” she writes in her artist statement. “[My career] involved color science and color-mixing with light. These insights on how optical colors work and play off one another apply directly to artistic expression.”
Last year she attended a David Dunlop plein air painting workshop that introduced her to transparent oil colors, now the focus of her recent work. While a plein air enthusiast, she admits to being a bit of a fair weather painter.
“I’m not interested in turning my hands blue,” she says. “At my studio [Redwood City Art Center] I can try out new things and go any time day or night. I’m driven by the idea that this is the one chance in my life that is just for me. I’m not going to waste it.”
Painting description: Autumn at Allied Arts by Carolyn Jones, 14″ by 11″, oil on gessoed board