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Timothy Emlyn Jones: the Shore, the Senses and Seamus.

Looking at Timothy Emlyn Jones' paintings, I almost feel transported; they have a way of drawing you in and a way of making you feel that you are somewhere else - in Timothy's Ireland, perhaps?

I find the feeling ambiguous and hard to put my finger on, so I asked Timothy about his approach to his work and about how he translates the landscapes of his home in Ireland into his powerful abstract paintings. This is what he told me:

'There can be more to drawing or painting from observation than looking and seeing. All five senses plus the sense of being in a place are involved, at least when you are painting on the west coast of Ireland where the weather always comes in from the ocean. This new work responds to the immersive feeling of the of the light, the wind and the rain coming in from the Atlantic coast and the ways they interact. One of my favourite locations is the Flaggy Shore where a narrow road follows the of rocky shoreline.

Seamus Heaney makes this point more clearly that I can in his poem "Postscript":

And some time make the time to drive out west

Into County Clare, along the Flaggy Shore,

In September or October, when the wind

And the light are working off each other

So that the ocean on one side is wild

With foam and glitter, and inland among stones

The surface of a slate-grey lake is lit

By the earthed lightning of a flock of swans,

Their feathers roughed and ruffling, white on white,

Their fully grown headstrong-looking heads

Tucked or cresting or busy underwater.

Useless to think you’ll park and capture it

More thoroughly. You are neither here nor there,

A hurry through which known and strange things pass

As big soft buffetings come at the car sideways

And catch the heart off guard and blow it open.

I hope this shows how these new abstract compositions are based on observation, not only through the eyes but also the whole bodily presence.

They are drawn in acrylic paint on birchwood panels, and they can be hung unframed or framed under museum glass.

I have been experimenting with some of the new innovatory paints made by Stuart Semple in the UK. Semple has been able to remake International Klein Blue and Kapoor Black in non-toxic versions and under different names. Both these colours enable a vibrancy unlike previous paints, and which doesn't always show properly in photographs. Like earlier work, they are part of my concern for exploring consciousness. The theme of immersion figures in most of my work, whether it be immersion in the rain, or in the openness of empty spaces such as by the sea, or in the closed spaces of the forest.'

So, understanding the way that Timothy immerses himself so fully in the landscape in which he paints, it makes me more able to understand the way in which I respond to his work. He is inviting us to observe, not just with our eyes, but with the wider feelings that his work evokes.


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