howard and wendy jones
Howard Jones

Cascade's Rhymes Revisited & Recent Landscapes

The Ariel Centre Gallery, 2009


This is not the first time Howard has taken a theme of flowing water for his paintings. In 1985 he exhibited the first 'Cascades Rhymes Suite' of paintings that focused on the small Dartmoor River called the Becka Brook close to Becky Falls. Since that time he has constantly revisited that landscape as a subject for his work. The paintings selected for this exhibition are embedded in observations of Dartmoor Rivers, particularly the Dart, Avon, and the Becka Brook. There he finds the constantly changing pace and mood of the river has parallels with life itself. At times the water appears calm and reflective and at others full of confusion, disorder, and, like life, always moving on. These green and beautiful places have been further focused and energised through his reading of the poem 'Under the Waterfall' by Thomas Hardy. Howard states "I find the descriptions used by Hardy have wonderful words and phrases that suggest colours, marks and brushstrokes when I come to painting the waters of these Dartmoor Rivers".

At the time of the first exhibition at The Butlin Gallery, Ilminster, the late John Dalton who was South West Art Critic of The Guardian, published the following review. Howard believes that it still shows real insight into his paintings of Dartmoor streams and rivers.

"Many of the works by Howard Jones were painted on Dartmoor, near Becky Falls – far from the madding crowd. He calls them the Cascade's Rhyme Suite because they were inspired by that great poem of Thomas Hardy's, Under the Waterfall. Jones sets himself a hard task – to show the constantly changing patterns which form over rills and round mossy stones. Sometimes he paints the still waters reflecting thoughts in shades of green. But more often he depicts the ceaseless swirl, the rhythmic movement of rushing streams, so that we think of energy, agitation, turmoil, fleeting moments, the fever of life.
When we find ourselves miles from anywhere, the silence broken only by the drive and pulse of the wind and what Hardy called "the purl of the waters through the weirs," the thought of making any sense of life seem absurd, too large a concept to grasp in the short interval of passing through it. We stand in awe. Some of this reverential fear gets into these paintings which owe something to the Pre-Raphaelites and Ruskin but where they were tight and meticulous. Howard Jones paints more freely, with more swing of the wrist."
- John Dalton, The Guardian.

The new works produced for this exhibition follow the spirit of the previous show and continue to reflect the artist's fascination with the constantly changing patterns of rivers and waterfalls of Dartmoor and elsewhere.

These lines of Thomas Hardy seem to sum up these places:

The purl of a runlet that never ceases
In stir of kingdoms, in wars, in peaces;
With a hollow boiling voice it speaks
And has spoken since hills were turfless peaks

EXHIBITION ARTWORK See the work displayed at the exhibition in Howard's Cascade's Rhymes gallery.
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