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Number of painters: 177
Last update: Saturday Sept 17, 2022

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Jonathan Small


Jonathan Small selects what he paints intuitively, often using what he comes across in his day to day living. In his still-life paintings he’ll typically include items having some personal significance, such as his great grandmother’s reading glasses, his daughter’s ballet slippers or a box of pears sent by his sister. Other elements are included just because he likes their shape or color, their shininess or patterns. Sometimes, in the spirit of René Magritte, he’ll paint objects in unusual situations: a jellyfish inside a vase overlooking the ocean, or a can half open to reveal anchovies shaped like Dürer’s The Praying Hands.

Jonathan Small

Jonathan attended a number of art schools during the 1970s, but became frustrated with their focus on abstraction. He more or less put his painting on hold, and for the next thirty years followed other pursuits: managing a record store, owning a mail-order business for experimental music, recording and performing music using tape loops and found sounds, and managing a surf and windsurf shop.

Around 2004 Jonathan became interested in researching his family history and one ancestor in particular who caught his interest was his great great grandfather, Stephen Alonzo Schoff (1818-1904), one of America’s best engravers. Schoff’s work was featured on U.S. currency and he was well known for his engraved portraits, which included Ralph Waldo Emerson, Walt Whitman, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Nathanial Hawthorne, among many others. Jonathan says, “I could go on and on about him, but suffice it to say that he has been a great inspiration to me and I’ve gotten immense enjoyment by reading about him and all the great 19th century artists with whom he associated”.

Delving into the old artists and their work reawakened Jonathan’s passion for painting and he’s excited to be back with his first love - art. One of the most important things he has taken away from studying artists of the 19th century is to take time with what he is making and only paint subjects he loves. In his words, “If I can make things which I like and perhaps a few other people appreciate too, then I’m satisfied”.

Jonathan is an award winning painter whose work is regularly shown at various museum and gallery exhibitions. He lives near the ocean in Middletown, RI, USA with his wife and daughter.

Source: Jonathan Small