An Introduction to Painting
Jon Houser was born in Surrey in 1958 and then relocated to the beautiful county of Pembrokeshire with his parents in the early 1970’s. It was while attending the local school at Cardigan, that Jon was introduced to Art. This soon became a favourite subject. However, with schooling over, and a career in mechanical engineering, Jon sadly found little time for his Art.
In the mid 1990’s, Jon had the opportunity to take an Access to Art course at Carmarthen Art College. This course reacquainted Jon with his love of painting and drawing and his Artistic talent was quickly spotted. But with the course over and a young family to support, Art again had to take a back seat for a while.
Time to re-evaluate
In 2012 Jon was diagnosed with Hypopituitarism which was caused by a Pituitary Tumour. This illness caused him to re-evaluate life and force a slow down in work load. Now with more time, Jon started to paint historic railway scenes, often on large stretched canvases. These paintings were influenced by an admiration for the wonderful-energetic work by the famous Railway Artist, Terence Cuneo.
“Cuneo’s paintings came to my attention as a boy, after looking at the illustrations in the 1970’s Triang/Hornby model railway catalogues. It was Cuneo’s dramatic and descriptive brushwork that grabbed my attention”.
With these lovely atmospheric railway paintings, Jon joined the Guild of Railway Artists becoming an Associate Member in 2015. His painting titled “The Castle at Neyland” was purchased by the National Library of Wales and another titled “Preparing the Shires” went to fellow Artist and ex England and Gloucester Cricketer, Jack Russell MBE .
Capturing the Light in the Landscape
With a change in Genre, Jon turned more towards Landscape Painting. He was introduced to Plein Air (open air) Landscape painting during his time at Carmarthen Art College.
“This direct way of working enables a spontaneous approach to capturing the light in the Landscape. It’s an exhilarating way to paint although challenging due to the rapidly changing light conditions. Painting a scene in the open air limits working time to about 2 hours as the light is constantly changing. For the larger paintings, several visits to the site may be required, returning when conditions are suitable to complete the work”.
Capturing this Light in the Landscape has now become Jon’s main focus and I he has worked on location for many years with his wooden box easel trying to record this elusive light in oil paint.
In 2019 Jon was fortunate enough to acquire a studio. This has allowed more ways to approach a subject. It gave him the opportunity to paint larger works in the comfort of the studio using oil studies and pencil sketches. This new facility has also allowed Jon to experiment a little!
“When painting on location, work becomes an illustrated depiction of the scene. In the studio however, more thinking time permits a different approach. I have now started to experiment a little with some of these studio paintings, altering compositions and colours. However, these studio paintings are still about light and the effect of light on a subject”.
Painting with Oils
For many years now I have painted solely with oils. I love the smooth buttery texture of oil paint with it’s slow drying time and the gorgeous smell of linseed oil and turpentine.
Paint quality varies between manufacturers and most add fillers and extenders which decreases the paints resistance to fading. I have tried many different brands of paint over the years until I discovered Michael Hardings handmade oil colours. There was no going back! These beautiful paints are produced with the finest pigments, ground in refined cold-pressed linseed oil and free from fillers and additives. They have luminous brilliant colours with high tint strenght and a gorgeous silky texture.
Here in Pembrokeshire we are lucky to have a local Art Supply shop called West of Wales Art Supplies who stock these fabulous paints.