GETTING TO KNOW DENISE JONES
1. How long have you been painting?
I started painting in 1988, 1 year after moving to Drouin from Sydney.
I just realised it is now 2018, so that’s 30 years. Wow that’s amazing.
2. What inspired you to begin?
My girlfriend Jan – her mother-in-law Evelyn, painted. Several years before we moved to
Drouin, Jan would give me some of Evelyn’s beautiful painted plates. I was fascinated with
this. In fact in Sydney, I had found a studio in Mona Vale with a lady who painted, but
working full time and the distance to get there without a car, it was just too difficult. So once
I moved to Drouin, the following year I was lucky to join the Latrobe Valley China Painting
Group, in Morwell. And like many of us, I was hooked. At first we only had 11 classes a
year, so I would drive up to Evelyn’s on weekends and we would paint together, and over the
years this became a regular event, with several others joining us. What a great way to spend
a day with friends. Little did I realise the journey I was about to venture into.
3. Do you have any painting disaster stories you can share with us?
Getting ready for an exhibition, I love to paint a few pieces in a theme. I had a large 12 ½”
square vase, and me being me, there was a combination of Lustres, Textures and Lots and
Lots of Baby Roses. I had 3 firings of the Pink Lustre on, the squares all masked out and 3
firings of Yellow and Pink Baby Roses painted, in and out of the squares. It was looking
fabulous (to me anyway). There were about 25 roses in total. Yep, that’s right, 25 roses. At
each stage I love to photograph my pieces, great reference. So out onto the deck, and
place the vase on the edge of the railing, pick up my camera, and the next thing a gust of
wind from nowhere, and down it went. You can guess what happened. It hit the concrete
birdbath and smashed into a dozen pieces. Chris came running at the sound, just looked
and said “Oh No”. “What are you going to do now?”
My response was: “Go out to the garage and get another vase, as we ‘NEVER’ buy just one
of anything do we. And I started all over again. Obviously, changing direction a little bit, but I
still have this vase and love it.
Lesson learned from this: I no longer put anything to photograph on the railing…
4. Do you have a favourite style of painting or preferred painting medium?
I love each and every style of painting. For those who know me, I ventured many years ago
into the world of Lustres and Textures, and this style of art is something I love exploring and
playing with. As well as this medium, I love painting naturalistically, and painting from
nature if possible. Roses (particularly Baby Roses) love painting these. European Style.
Animals, Birds – I Love painting Frogs. I love painting pieces like Brooches, up to large 17”
Vases. There is a place for it all, and each has its challenges.
5. Which painting books are your bibles?
I don’t have any particular book that stands out, but over the years I have collected many of
the known porcelain artist, and at the time of getting them, particularly early in my painting
years, I found them inspiring and useful. As we develop our own style and grow, you are
always looking for new and exciting ideas and techniques. I still love browsing through
Peter Faust’s books though, always looking at interesting ideas. So inspiring. Nature books
are also a great source of information, as is the Internet now.
6. How do you keep motivated?
Attending Workshops: As many as you can, with as many different artists as possible. Each
artist you paint with, you will learn a little “something” different, even if it is the same
subject. I also find that teaching is so rewarding and you really do learn so much from your
students. New styles and new subjects are always exciting. In today’s world of the Internet,
7. What advice would you give to beginners?
Enjoy what you are doing. Try different techniques, styles, over a period of time you will
develop your own style and go with it. Even if you paint something in a workshop, that
doesn’t “grab” you. You have tried it, given it a go, and it could be that you would never do
that again. And that’s OK, but you tried it, that’s what is important. Also practice, practice
mixing paint, practice brush strokes. It is so important, each class, spend a few minutes
doing brush strokes, over and over. This is one pieces of advice that I would give to
beginners and experienced painters alike.
8. What inspires you to paint?
Anything and everything. I just love getting together with friends, in a workshop or seminar,
trying different styles, painting from nature. Seeing an exciting piece of porcelain – Oh, what
to paint on that – ideas – the research for ideas and information. Love it all.
9. Name the artist(s) whose work you adore:
I have had the privilege to paint with many wonderful artists over the years, and you learn
something with each person. I would have to say that Lorraine Hansen has been a great
teacher, friend and mentor to me. I adore her style of painting; I adore her White and Pink
Roses. Not only traditional painting, she would encourage me to explore ideas through
design, composition, techniques. From the modern styles to traditional, and everywhere in
between. Her dusting technique is amazing.
I do recall a workshop in did with Lorraine at Patsy Meldrum’s Gallery in Ivanhoe – Dusted
Blackberries. I went to this with my girlfriend, Barbara. We were in painter’s heaven. Not
only painting all day, but we stayed there and painted until late in the evening as well. It was
getting late and we were getting tired, I had painted a small 3” dish with Blackberries on.
But it was not dry enough to dust and we had to go to bed. At 2.00 I woke up and thought,
that dish will be perfect now for dusting. One side of my brain said “go to sleep”, the other
said “get up and dust it, then you can go to sleep”. And that’s exactly what I did. And it fired
Another artist who was a big influence on my painting, is Trixie Emery. I was lucky to attend
some of Trixie’s workshops again at Patsy’s Gallery over the years. Trixie is someone who
loves “playing and experimenting” with ideas, and products and techniques, and combines
them together with a traditional subject. She is such a great teacher and mentor. I learned
so much from her as well. And like Lorraine – she makes you believe in yourself. And
encourages you all the way. And she gets excited when you explore your own ideas.
Artists like Peter Faust, have also influenced my painting and I have been lucky to attend
about 3 of Peter’s workshops. And Harun Aschrafi. Brilliant watching and learning from
them. Each different and loved every minute of it.
10. Please tell us your favourite quote:
A friend once said to me, “Try Everything, Experiment, and Have A go.”
And Most Important – Enjoy it all.
I would like to say, the most important aspects of our artistic journey, is the FRIENDS that
you make along the way. Many of these people, are people I would consider my friends for
life. And I am very privileged to know them and have them in my life.