Art Shows

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Sitting down with local artist George Ions

Local Artist Says Southern Illinois has Enormous Effect on his Art
Events in May will showcase his work along with that of other local artists

HeartlandArts.Net will feature local artists and artist groups as part of our efforts to promote artists and art shows in the region. With several art events coming up this spring, including Art Around the Square (www.ArtArtoundtheSquare.com) on May 2 and the Spring Art/Wine Fairs May 9-10, southern Illinoisians will have plenty of chances to catch up with the artists in person.

Red BlazeWe sat down recently with local artist George Ions, a transplant to southern Illinois and a lifelong artist. George was born in County Durham, England and started drawing and painting in early childhood. He has been living in southern Illinois for 15 years. His work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions in both the USA and England, and on his website at www.GeorgeIonsArtist.com. He is a member of the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society and also an Illinois State Artisan.

HAN: What is the most important thing for you in relation to your art?

Rend Lake in WinterGeorge: In a word: NATURE. For me painting is totally a totally absorbing activity and over the years I have discovered that it has increasingly magnified my inner feelings toward the wonderful world of nature. It is a relationship hard to describe but I cannot be outdoors without basking in the form and color of the trees, fields, skies and clouds all around us it’s just wonderful and awe inspiring!

HAN: What have been your best and worst experiences as a painter?

George: BEST: When as a young boy I first mixed Yellow and Blue and made Green. It spurred me into exploring all the other wonderful colors I could make.

WORST: Probably when I packed my things to go on a field trip to paint a lovely sunset and when I got there realized I had left my paint box at home! But at least I never did it again.

HAN: What about your art has changed most since you started out as an artist?

George: When I first started painting I wanted my work to be very detailed in every respect. But over time I have become much more relaxed and loose in my style I now like for those looking at my work to enjoy ‘it through their own eyes’ but I still want a tree to look like a tree!

HAN: What effect has living in Southern Illinois had on your art?

George: ENORMOUS. It was only when I took an early retirement and moved to southern Illinois that I began painting full time out of my own home based studio. Although I still like to travel to paint I just love painting the countryside around here. With its Farms and Barns, Lakes and Rivers and undulating countryside it has everything to enjoy.

Q5. As a lifelong painter, what is the key driver of your work?

It’s hard to say. First I was lucky enough to get some good guidance and encouragement when I was young from my artist mentors. Also, I think all painters go through a period (or two) when they lose their inspiration and here my wife Debbie has been a hugely instrumental driver in encouraging me to paint when the mood has not been there. How grateful I am for her support.

Q6. What would you say to someone considering taking their art up a notch?

First of all just keep on painting because I really do believe that it is only by continuously painting that you come to realize what it is you want to get out of it. Also, be yourself and don’t be put off by any negative comments or jury rejections of your work. Realize that everybody gets these, so listen to your own heart and do your own thing!!

Thanks to George Ions for his time. He will have his work on display at Fusion Ultra Lounge in Carbondale for the May 2, 2009 Art Around the Square event; for more information visit www.ArtAroundtheSquare.com. His work is also on display at Owl Creek Vineyard and he will be there in person on May 9. For more information stay tuned!

Images copyright George Ions.

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