By MATT CRANE
When Ann Biedenharn Jones began painting at the age of 12, she knew she was destined for a colorful life.
â€śI knew I wanted to be an artist and that I liked the creative process,â€ť she said. â€śBut I never really knew starting out that I would stick to it.â€ť
Beginning at noon Thursday, Jones will be the first speaker for the Friends of the Starkville Public Libraryâ€™s Books and Authors series.
Published in 2008, Jonesâ€™ â€śLife and Artâ€ť chronicles her life with photographs of family and friends and a large selection of her paintings.
â€śThe book is autobiographical,â€ť she said. â€śItâ€™s a record of the paintings Iâ€™ve done throughout the years, and Iâ€™ve laid the book out in decades giving background about what was going on in our lives at the time each work was done.â€ť
Jones said she kept journals during her life in order to put the book together, allowing her to go back and read everything that happened while she was working.
â€śIâ€™ve saved photographs and newspaper articles and just a huge amount of stuff,â€ť she said. â€śI like that, in a way, there is an anecdote to each painting.â€ť
After graduating college in 1965, Jones said although she struggled with her confidence in the works she created, her determination paid off in the form of national notoriety and success.
â€śI painted for 10 years before I began to be happy with what I was doing, but I kept it up,â€ť she said. â€śIâ€™ve now sold my work throughout the Southeast and even in places like California and New York.â€ť
While her specialty lies in children and pet portraits, Jones said she covers a wide variety of other subjects, but sticks close to the artistic medium she fell in love with at the beginning of her career.
â€śIâ€™ve been an oil painter all through the years because I think itâ€™s very forgiving, and itâ€™s easy to work out a design and correct things if you donâ€™t like it,â€ť she said. â€śSome artists use lots of different mediums, but Iâ€™ve always just stuck to one and developed my own style.â€ť
The subject of endangered animals claims an emotional and creative place in Jonesâ€™ work and heart.
â€śI enjoy painting groups of things, and animals are just exciting to paint because you have the fur and feathers and spots and stripes, and thereâ€™s all kinds of textures and designs to consider,â€ť she said. â€śItâ€™s a challenge to get a good composition on the canvas.â€ť
Jones said painting endangered animals is her way of raising awareness about their existence and providing a voice for their protection.
â€śItâ€™s about doing anything you can to promote their existence,â€ť she said. â€śPainting them sympathetically with the appealing eyes and expressions and getting the word out is beneficial to their protection.â€ť
Jones said â€śLife and Artâ€ť is a reflection of the work and life she has created, and is proud of not only her artistic contributions, but her longevity in the field.
â€śIâ€™m most proud that I stuck it out so long and have done my part to try and make people happy,â€ť she said. â€śI love to make people happy.â€ť
For more information on the Books and Authors series, call 662-323-2766.
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